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Season Preview: Jesuit Marauders


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we've been rolling out team previews from around the state and are back at it.

In this edition we take a look at the Jesuit Marauders out of Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento. Jesuit is one of the more tradition-rich programs in California and this year they have a pitching staff that just might take them to a section title. But it won't be easy for the PBR Power 25 preseason #4 team, as they will have to navigate a schedule/conference that rates with the toughest in the state.

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Team: Jesuit 

Nickname: Marauders

Section: CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section, Division 1

League: Delta League

Head Coach/Years at school: Joe Potulny (30)

Team Twitter Handle: @BaseballJesuit

2018 Overall Record: 21-11

2018 Postseason Finish: SJS-D1 Semi-finalist

Number of Returning Starters: 5

Number of Returning Pitchers: 5

Top Returning Players:

'19 LHP/1B Carter Benbrook (UC Santa Barbara); '19 RHP Cade Pilchard (CSU Northridge); '20 INF Luke Williams (UC Santa Barbara); '20 C Daniel Susac (Oregon State); '21 RHP Anthony Susac (Oregon State)

Other Players To Watch:

'19 OF Will Asby; '19 IF/OF Cade Cunningham; '20 RHP Andy Owen (California); '20 RHP Charlie Hurley

2019 Outlook:

Coming off a strong season that ended in the semi-finals of the toughest section (SJS D1) in Northern California, the Marauders are no doubt very hungry to push a step or two further. A loss to Davis in the semi-finals sent them to the loser's bracket where they lost to Vacaville, ending their season. They lose some offensive talent and some contributing pitchers, but are much stronger starting this season than they were in 2018.

Coach Potulny has been around long enough to know when he has a good team and he is also acutely aware of the strength of the competition. Jesuit plays in the Delta League, indisputably one of the toughest conferences in the state. Well, the Delta League got stronger this season, with the addition of Cosumnes Oaks and subtraction of two schools. The league returns to an 18-game league schedule with a three game set each week against the same opponent. The respect that Coach Potulny has for the league competition is very clear, as he says, "There will be no easy wins in the realigned Delta..."

The strength of the team is undoubtedly the pitching staff, which Coach Potulny feels that if they all remain healthy and reach expectations, could be the deepest staff in school history. Defensively they are solid as well, which will only help the staff further. It's the offensive side where Jesuit could use some improvement from last season. There are plenty of seniors returning from significant junior seasons at the plate, so that area of desired improvement very well could be met.

The pitching staff is anchored by four pitchers who are all headed to D1 programs, two of them to the Pac-12. While senior LHP Carter Benbrook (1.78 ERA in 43.1 IP) doesn't throw as hard as his teammates, his change-up is about as good as it gets at the high school level and will play as an above average/plus pitch at the collegiate level. Senior RHP Cade Pilchard (4-1, 35 K in 27.1 IP) is long and lanky with stuff that gets into the 89-91 mph range. The rich get richer with junior RHP Andy Owen, who transferred from Turlock HS. His stuff is in the upper-80s, will sniff 90 and he's got the secondary weapons as well. As talented as all three of those kids are, it's sophomore RHP Anthony (Tonko) Susac (0.60 ERA as freshman) who has the highest ceiling of them all. His stuff is already in the low-90s, while also possessing a good slider.

Also expected to contribute on the mound is long and lanky junior RHP Charlie Hurley, who also possesses enviable stuff, with upper-80s sniffing around 90 mph. And he's yet to get his feet wet at the varsity level. Catching this elite crew of arms is junior Daniel Susac (.419 BA / .495 OB% / .504 SLG%), one of California's top 2020 catchers. He's got juice to all fields, a big arm and can handle the stuff this staff presents. His brother is Orioles catcher Andrew Susac, who has a World Series ring from his time with the Giants. He and Anthony are cousins.

Susac will be leaned on to provide significant offense, as will junior infielder Luke Williams (.327 BA /.415 OB%). Williams is the quintessential winning type player... with talent. He is seemingly always in the right spot at the right time and in the games we saw him play in 2018, he contributed to wins in multiple ways. Williams will also contribute on the mound as he did during his sophomore campaign (1.08 ERA, 13 IP). He isn't quite the power arm of his teammates, 'only' pitching in the mid-80s. Benbrook will also be in the middle of the order and his left-handed hitting talent doesn't take much of a back seat to his pitching ability.

Joining that crew and returning off solid junior seasons are senior OF Will Asby (5 2B) and IF/OF Cade Cunningham (.325, 6 2B). Both were important contributors as juniors and are poised to make a name for themselves, among their more well-known teammates. There are other juniors and sophomore who will no doubt fight for time and emerge as viable contributors.

The schedule will both prepare Jesuit for the playoffs and also put a few dings on their regular season record, which is secondary to the playoff and title push. They have scrimmages vs Rocklin, Bella Vista, Davis, and Pleasant Grove, which would be very strong regular season competition on it's own (Davis and Pleasant Grove are in the Delta League). The Marauders start the season with non-conference tilts vs Bellarmine Prep and Valley Christian (#8 PBR Power 25) of the vaunted WCAL. They then play De La Salle (#5 PBR Power 25) and St. Mary's-Stockton. Bellarmine won the Boras Classic North in 2018, Valley Christian won the CCS Open Division, De La Salle won it's third straight NCS-D1 title and St. Mary's was the #3 seed in the SJS-D1 playoffs. Whoa.

THEN they get into the Delta League schedule, featuring other powerhouse programs Franklin (#14 PBR Power 25), Elk Grove, and Davis, along with always competitive Sheldon, Pleasant Grove, and newcomer Cosumnes Oaks. From April 15-17 Jesuit will participate in the Fresno Easter Baseball Classic. They will also take on a talented Christian Brothers team in the Albie Swingin' for Cure at Sac City College on April 27th.

It's a talented team, it's a loaded schedule. Play ball!

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Solano-Sac Junior Future Games Trials CA 02/24 Vacaville Christian HS
SoCal Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/09 O'Malley Field - Harvard Westlake
East Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 03/24 Athenian School
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field
SoCal ProCase CA 06/08 Hart Park

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