Senior Troy Stukenberg is among the Lyons Township High School baseball standouts determined to continue the momentum from the 2022 season.
“I was lucky enough for this to be my third year on varsity as a starter, so I can tell from experience what both a good and bad leader is from those previous years,” Stukenberg said.
The Lions have another strong roster after capturing their first regional title since 2014. They lost 5-3 in the IHSA Class 4A Reavis Sectional semifinals to Brother Rice, which finished third in state.
LTHS finished 18-15 overall and fourth in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division at 10-8, losing five games by one run and six by two runs.
Senior center fielder and leadoff hitter Frederick Ragsdale III also is a third-year varsity player and will play at NCAA Division I Kent State. Stukenberg will play for NAIA St. Xavier University.
Ragsdale, senior catcher/infielder Patrick Engels and junior pitcher Nathan Anderson earned 2022 all-conference honors along with graduated catcher Jack McNamara (Wisconsin-Oshkosh), the program’s first IHSBCA all-stater since 2013.
Last season, Ragsdale set a single-season record with 22 stolen bases, increasing his career record to 24. Ragsdale also had a .389 batting average, .505 on-base percentage, 14 runs batted in and 34 runs scored, one shy of McNamara’s numerous records set in 2022.
Engels batted .310 with one home run and 16 RBIs.
Other key returning starters are senior first baseman/designated hitter Sam Viniard (Division III Wisconsin-LaCrosse), senior first baseman/pitcher Jack Falls, senior outfielder James Georgelos, senior pitchers Chris Franko and Tristan Clark and junior pitchers Brady Chambers (Michigan State commit) and Nathan Anderson.
The Lions opened March 24 with a 10-0, five-inning victory over Montini Catholic and lost at Neuqua Valley 5-4 in 10 innings on March 27.
“We return several positional players and a handful of pitchers who were all major contributors,” LTHS coach Kevin Diete said. “Our team will rely heavily on defense, speed and hitting. Consistent pitching will be a key factor in our potential success.”
Five other senior returnees are pitcher Xavier Vargas (Division II Wisconsin-Parkside), outfielder/DH Tristan Hall, pitcher/outfielder Henry Witmer, outfielder Danny Pasko and first base/DH Cooper King. Newcomers include junior outfielder Ryan Jackson, junior shortstop Michael Mango, junior first base/pitcher Jake Shumaker, sophomore pitcher Tucker King and sophomore outfielder/first base/pitcher Luke Nicholaus, an effective left-handed hitter.
On March 24 against Montini, Nicholaus’ first varsity hit was a grand slam to highlight a nine-run third inning. Winning pitcher Anderson (3 innings, 32 strikes on 48 pitches) and Clark (2 inning) combined on a four-hit shutout. Stukenberg (3 for 3, triple, double, 2 runs), Ragsdale (2 RBI) and Mango (double) also were part of the six-hit attack.
Stukenberg and Nicholaus each had two hits against Neuqua Valley. Stukenberg, Viniard, Falls and Jackson doubled.