The wait is over and the time has finally arrived. Huey Lewis and the News kind of had it right, what we’re feeling is the power of love, but it’s all love for the game of baseball. That’s right, the 2022 season has officially started with season opening games happening today. With that, we’re going to help kick off the season as we normally do with our annual Victory Mounds, Preseason All-State individual rankings. It’s our way of jump-starting the new campaign with some players to watch out for across each class.
Every two weeks starting on Mondays, we’ll release one set of Victory Mounds individual rankings at a time with our Victory Mounds Team Rankings to be released each and every week of the season.
As for our inaugural individual rankings for the 2022 campaign, we’re going to start within the Class 4A ranks. It’s a class that dominated headlines and stat lines alike across 2021. In fact, nearly every statistical category was led by the Class 4A group, including largest strikeout average (223.7 per team), stolen base average (86.2 per team), total hits (282.5 per team), and extra-base hits average (74.9 per team). The 2021 season surely had some big names which left big shoes to fill but lets check out who might step up to the challenge the most with our Victory Mounds Preseason All-State Individual Rankings for Class 4A.
1.) Spencer Campidilli (Johnston)
A strong season for Campidilli across his junior campaign last season. The future Iowa Western CC star totaled 40 hits, 13 of which went for extra bases. He struck 36 RBI which ranked second among Class 4A catchers in 2021.
2.) Ryan Campbell (North Scott)
One of his best seasons to date, Ryan Campbell made his mark in 2021 striking 59 total hits while hitting .428 overall at the plate. His 46 RBI actually marked the most out of any Class 4A catcher across the 2021 season.
1.) Sam Harris (Urbandale)
Before departing for Duke University baseball in a few years, the one and only Sam Harris will continue to don an Urbandale uniform. For the ’22 season, he will start as our top first basemen within the Class 4A after 19 extra-base hits and an average of .314 in a tough CIML Conference. Currently ranked as the top rated prospect by both Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report-Iowa.
2.) Michael Siemer (Johnston)
Coming off of his best season to date, Siemer struck an average of .382 across 2021 with a compliment of 46 RBI across 50 hits. Fifteen of those hits went for extra-bases while overall, Siemer reached base nearly 50 percent of the time.
1.) Carter Seaton (Iowa City High)
It was a really balanced season for Iowa City High’s Carter Seaton. He touched up an average of .357 which came about from 51 hits. That pushed across 27 hits alone but what added even more to the equation was the 15 stolen bases on the year as well.
2.) Mason Behn (Cedar Rapids Kennedy)
Behn, a Southeastern CC commit, sure had another solid campaign and in 2021 that included a batting average of .313. What also added to impressive list was the 36 total hits and 22 RBI proving his efficiency at the plate overall.
1.) Kellen Strohmeyer (Dubuque Hempstead)
It truly was fun to watch Dubuque Hempstead’s Kellen Strohmeyer play in 2021. The University of Iowa commit swiped 22 bases as a Mustang while sporting a .427 batting average. All of that combined to land Strohmeyer a .500 OBP mark, one of the top marks across the Class 4A landscape. The future Hawkeye also touched up 61 total hits on the year, the fourth-best mark among all Class 4A hitters.
2.) Gable Mitchell (Iowa City High)
A lot to like about Gable Mitchell, a University of Iowa baseball legacy commit from Iowa City High. Ranked as the second-best ’22 shortstop, Mitchell sported a .352 average, all while swiping 32 bases in 2021, the largest among by anyone on our preseason list. Mitchell struck 30 RBI across his 45 total hits on the year.
1.) Ryan Crandall (Ankeny)
His best season to date, Ankeny’s Ryan Crandall sported a .446 batting average across 2021 while driving in 33 runs on 41 hits. Crandall also sported some speed on the season, showing off eight stolen bases on the year.
2.) Blake Anderson (Dowling Catholic)
Across 40 hits and a .351 batting average, Dowling Catholic’s Blake Anderson did well for himself. In the 2021 season he found his way on base 46 percent of the time. He sported 20 RBI across his 40 hits throughout his junior stint.
1.) Dillon Kuehl (Urbandale)
It was another strong season for Urbandale’s Dillion Kuehl (DMACC commit) in 2021. His junior season included a .395 average with 45 total hits. Eighteen of those went for extra bases and of those, ten left the yard, the second biggest home run mark on our preseason list for Class 4A.
2.) Dylan Davis (Cedar Rapids Kennedy)
Within the 2021 season, no Class 4A batter was better than Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Dylan Davis. The Kirkwood CC commit belted 13 long balls, part of a 55 total hit campaign. His 53 RBI ranked second in Class 4A and paired well with his .446 batting average. He also swiped 26 bases on the season, showcasing his multi-tooled speed.
3.) Miles Risley (Johnston)
Arguably his best season to date, Johnston’s Miles Risley stole 24 bases with an on base percentage of .586 in 2021. He also touched up a batting average of .378 with 40 RBI across 42 total hits. That also included 16 extra-base hits.
4.) Carter Thomas (Mason City)
There was a lot to like about Carter Thomas of Mason City in 2021. First, he swiped 27 bases on the year (tied for 11th in 4A). On top of that, Thomas hit .412 with 32 RBI across 54 total hits. That included 16 extra-base hits.
5.) Noah Young (North Scott)
As the Lancers of North Scott look to get back to another strong season, Noah Young will look to be a big part of that. After all, he did .408 with the with the sixth-most hits in 4A (58) as just a sophomore. Now, as a junior, Young will look to expand upon his .500 OBP.
1.) Blake Larson (Dowling Catholic)
Not too many players throughout history have had as strong of a freshman campaign on the mound as Dowling’s Blake Larson. The TCU commit (who committed as an eighth-grader) basically maxed out his inning count with 40 total innings pitched, and he made the most of it with 84 strikeouts on the year. He went a perfect 6-0 with a 1.23 ERA.
2.) Jake Pemble (Johnston)
Of the many exciting things across the 2021 season, Johnston’s Jake Pemble was sure one of them. Within the state tournament semi-final contest against a hot-hitting Ankeny squad last season, Pemble went seven innings, limiting the Hawks to just four hits. Overall, the Kirkwood CC commit delivered 63 strikeouts with a 1.32 ERA. He went 6-1 through over 47 innings pitched in ’21.
3.) Anthony Watts (Waukee Northwest)
Before departing to Creighton University baseball, Anthony Watts will look to expand upon his strong ’21 season. That season included 53 strikeouts as a member of the Waukee Warriors, resulting in an ERA of 1.98, the second-lowest among our Preseason All-State list. Watts went 4-2 across 42 innings pitched.
4.) Jai Jenson (Clinton)
It was surely a strong season for Clinton’s Jai Jenson in 2021. He was strong on the mound where he tossed 55 strikeouts through 44 innings of work, resulting in a 4-2 record and a 1.75 ERA.
1.) Sam Skarich (North Scott)
A player of many trades, Sam Skarich acquired 53 hits with is bat which equated to 39 RBI and a .396 batting average. The Southeastern CC commit found success beyond the plate however, sporting 12 stolen bases on the base paths and a whopping 66 strikeouts through 58 innings pitched on the mound.
2.) Brady Blake (Indianola)
Very few were as versatile as Indianola’s Brady Blake in 2021, who hit .407 with 55 total hits and 32 RBI with the bat, all while delivering 15 stolen bases. On top of that, Blake also went 6-3 on the pitching mound with 46 strikeouts through 36 innings pitched.
3.) Vinnny Mauro (Norwalk)
As the Norwalk Warriors took on their first season in Class 4A last year, Vinny Mauro was one that took it well. He had 31 RBI at the plate while doing a lot of damage on the pitching mound, tossing 57 strikeouts throughout a whopping 61 innings pitched.