Baseball: IHSBCA announces 2024 All-State Team with 14 Herald-News area players making the cut

4A had the most local selections with 8

Providence Catholic's Nate O'Donnell applies a late tag as Edwardsville's Kolten Wright slides in safely on a pickoff attempt at first during their Class 4A state semifinal game Friday, June 7, 2024, at Duly Health and Care Field in Joliet.

Death, taxes and the Herald-News area producing a ton of baseball talent – the bona fide certainties in life.

Don’t believe us about that last thing? The Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association would beg to differ.

The IHSBCA has announced its All-State teams for each classification, and the Herald-News area has plenty of athletes on the list. Fourteen baseball players from the region saw their names appear, eight of whom were in the highest classification of 4A.

It’s no surprise the Herald-News area produced so many All-Staters at the 3A/4A level. After all, the 4A state champions, a pair of MLB draft prospects and a host of Division I commits play here.

The first name appearing on the IHSBCA list for 4A was Jimmy Anderson of Joliet West. A two-way standout, Anderson went 5-0 on the mound with a 2.18 ERA and hit .473 in 131 at bats with a .550 on-base percentage. He had a whopping 52 hits and 48 RBIs to boot.

Following Anderson alphabetically was Tyler Bell of Lincoln-Way East. It’s no shocker there as Bell is a Kentucky commit and nationally recognized MLB talent. ESPN recently ranked him in their top 100 prospects for next month’s MLB draft and the belief is he’ll be selected in the first three rounds. He hit .391 with a .591 OBP, 25 RBIs and stole 30 bases for the Griffins this year.

Conor Essenburg of Lincoln-Way West was next. A junior, Essenburg is committed to Kansas State as a two-way player. He broke the school record for single-season wins while going 10-2 and set the single-season strikeout mark at 102. He hit .388, was walked 38 times with 38 hits and had an OBP of .550.

MLB draft prospect Nate George of Minooka followed. A former Eastern Illinois commit, George is hoping to hear his name called at some point next month after hitting .404 with 40 RBIs, 48 hits, 41 runs scored and collecting 22 stolen bases in 24 attempts.

After that was the first state champion of the list in Nate O’Donnell of Providence, who hit .430 on the season with a 1.337 OPS with 11 home runs, 55 RBIs and 43 runs scored. He also had a 3.15 ERA on the mound.

Blake Phommanhanhom was a handful at the plate and in the field for Plainfield South. He hit .442 with a .520 OBP, .750 slugging percentage and 30 RBIs.

The second state champ on the list followed as Jackson Smith of the Celtics came up. The Bradley commit finished his senior season at Providence with 48 RBIs, 51 runs scored, six homers and a batting average of .416.

Brayden Zilis of Minooka was the final local on the 4A list. The Illinois State commit was outstanding all year. He hit .407 with a 1.25 OPS, a .763 slugging percentage, and had 48 hits and 33 RBIs. On the mound, he was 7-1 with just four earned runs allowed all season and a 0.58 ERA.

The 4A schools were well represented, but the 3A schools weren’t far behind as three locals saw their names etched on the list.

First up was Jacob Parr of Lemont. No surprise there as he helped lead them to the 3A state championship game as a junior. He hit .407 with 35 RBIs and 37 runs at the plate while finishing with a 3.19 ERA on the mound.

The other two selections both came out of Morris. First was Cody DelFavero, who hit .370 on the season with 36 RBIs, 33 runs scored and a .670 slugging percentage. On the mound, he went 14-0 with 93 strikeouts, 1.28 ERA and 0.861 WHIP.

The second was AJ Zweeres, who hit .394 with a .507 OBP, 43 hits, 28 RBIs and 44 runs.

There were two locals on the 2A list, both out of Wilmington. Kyle Farrell earned the call after going 10-0 with 97 strikeouts, a 1.08 ERA on the mound and 25 RBIs at the plate. Lucas Rink was the other as he went 10-2 with 96 strikeouts and a 0.826 ERA while hitting .400 at the plate.

At the 1A level, Dwight’s Luke Gallet made the team after batting .423 with 47 hits, 42 RBIs and 37 runs scored to go with a 2.88 ERA on the mound.