Class Five Championship Preview

By Ethan Silverman
Missouri Scouting Director

The Missouri playoffs begin on Saturday with district play, in what should be an exciting few weeks of games to crown state champions. 

There have been some outstanding team performances in 2013, but that doesn't always guarantee a championship. As we have seen in years past, sometimes it is the team that gets hot at the right time and rides a wave of momentum to a championship.

Here we take a look at the possible contenders for a Class Five state championship.

Class 5 Favorites

  1. Francis Howell- Framcis Howell is the overall favorite to take home the first Class 5 championship. With depth in the pitching staff (fourteen returning pitchers led by Calvin Munson), and production up and down the lineup (Zac Perkins, Elijah Dilday, Calvin Munson, Nic Perkins, Jake Hellweg, Nate Green), Howell will be tough to beat.
  2. Parkway North- With two strong starting pitchers (Joe Hope and Joey Reeves) and a balanced line up, it would be no surprise to see Parkway North advance to the championship game for the second consecutive year.
  3. Rockhurst- Rockhurst has a lineup that is as good as any in the state, with the likes of Jack Benninghoff, Logan Gray, and Travis Able. If their pitching staff can hold up, they are a legitimate threat to reach the final four.
  4. CBC- CBC has one of the most veteran team behind Francis Howell, and the senior leaders are looking to go out on top. If pitchers Dan Herrmann and Robert Plohr are on, there are very few teams who will get in their way. The offense has the ability to pack a punch, with Joe Schrimpf, Justin Paulsen, Jake Burger, and Matt Vierling.

Other Possible Contenders

  1. SLUH- Whenever Brian Howard is on the mound, SLUH has a great chance to win. Andrew Quinn and Kaleb King have shown to be more than effective No. 2 and No. 3 starters, and with quality defense and a lineup that has the knack for coming through in the clutch, SLUH looks like a possible contender. Of course, as in years past, SLUH will have to get past Ladue, in what is always a competitive game, to advance.
  2. Ladue- The Ladue Rams have the makings of a team that could make a long run to the final four. With the offense led by Lex Kaplan and Turner Miller, combined with complimentary pieces up and down the line up, Ladue has a good balance offensively. LHP Rob Ewald has been lights out this season and he will be counted on to come through when it counts. Of course, as in years past, Ladue will have to get past SLUH, in what is always a competitive game, to advance
  3. Rock Bridge- Rock Bridge has a young line up and while they lack the experience of some of the other teams, has shown ability to put opposing defenses on their toes and capitalize on mistakes. Jansen Smith has been an RBI machine this season; Connor Brumfield, Logan Twehouse continually find a way on base, and Rock Bridge will play small ball and steal bases to keep the defense on alert.
  4. Carthage- Carthage has pretty much mowed down their opponents all season long. Drew Bridges is the catalyst for the Tigers at the plate, on the mound, and in the field. Watch for Gabe Franklin to do some damage at the plate as well, and he may be relied upon to pick up some innings of Carthage is to advance.

Watch out For

  1. Jackson-Jackson has been on a roll as of late and ha the makings of a team getting hot at the right time, and as we have seen in years past, makes for a very dangerous team that could make a deep run and pull off some upsets.
  2. Marquette- Quality starting pitching, good defense, and a balanced line up make Marquette a contender. They have had their ups and downs this season, but if they can be on one of their up runs, are a very dangerous team.
  3. Blue Springs- Blue Springs has been one of the more consistent teams this season, losing a few tough ones and winning a few tough ones as well. They are another team who if can get hot at the right time, have the ability to reach the final four.
  4. Liberty- If Liberty can find a groove, they have the ability to make it to another final four. To make it though, they might have to pull off the upset of Francis Howell, should they advance, in the quarterfinal round.