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Iowa's best high school baseball players: Meet the state's top pitchers

Some of the top pitchers in Iowa prep baseball
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By Barry Poe 

With the high school baseball season getting underway, SBLive is looking at the best players in Iowa. In our first installment, we feature pitchers across all classifications. The state is loaded with talented pitchers and many of these hurlers excel at other positions as well. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list as there are hundreds of outstanding pitchers statewide.

Ganon Archer, Van Meter, Sr.

Archer posted an 8-1 record with a sterling 1.11 ERA, leading his team to the Class 2A state championship last summer. He had 102 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched, allowing only nine earned runs all season. He was named a second-team all-stater by the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

Marcus Beatty, Independence, Sr.

One of two returning six-game winners (Korver Hupke is the other) for an Independence team that is ranked No. 24 in this week's SBLive Iowa rankings of the season.

Nate Cagley, Jesup, Sr.

Cagley had a nice junior year for the J-Hawks, and he was honored with an IPSWA second team All-State selection. Cagley was 8-2 with a 0.92 ERA on the season. Cagley could have been selected as an infielder, if not pitcher, per his great year at the plate. He batted .500 and drove in 37 runs, while only striking out 2 times in 96 at-bats.

“Nate Cagley had one of the best pitching years in Jesup history,” said Jesup head coach Bruce Wall, “Nate has great control and can throw any pitch for a strike at any time. He gives up very few walks which allows him to keep his pitch count down and finish games.”

Eli Christensen, Ankeny Christian, Soph.

Christensen had an outstanding freshman season for an Ankeny Christian squad that finished 27-5 and reached a Class 1A substate final. Christensen posted a 5-0 record in six starts with a 2.42 ERA. He got his sophomore season off to a good start, striking out 15 while pitching a three-hit shutout in a 3-1 victory over Pleasantville.

Myles Davis, Marion, Soph.

The University of Iowa commit earned a 7-0 record with a 2.47 ERA, striking out 36 in 28.1 innings pitched. Batted .496 with .565 OBP, 70 hits and 48 RBIs. Second team 3A all-state pick by the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association.

Jake DeJoode, Pleasantville, Sr.

DeJoode earned second-team all-state accolades from the IPSWA after fashioning a 6-1 record and 1.83 ERA last season. He had 57 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched last season.

Austin Hilmer, North Linn, Sr.

Not only did Hilmer go 10-1 on the mound for North Linn last season with an 0.80 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched, he also set a state record with 75 stolen bases while batting .439 with 12 doubles, two triples, 28 RBIs and 70 runs. He was a first team all-state pick by the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association.

Spencer Hansen, Colo-NESCO, Jr.

Hansen ad an unblemished 8-0 record as a sophomore last season, striking out a whopping 92 batters in 52 innings pitched. The IPSWA named Hansen a second team all-stater in Class 2A.

Cade Hughes, Northeast, Sr.

Hughes pitched well enough last season to garner third-team all-state honors from the IPSWA. He posted a 3-0 record for Northeast and gave up just three earned runs in 29.2 innings.

Carson Knebel, Pleasant Valley, Sr.

He will be counted on to be one of the staff aces for the defending Class 4A state champions. Knebel, though, pitched very little on a senior-laden staff last season, working just 9.1 innings. Pleasant Valley lost to Johnston 12-1 in a season opener, which was a rematch of last season’s state championship game.

Blake Larson W.D.M. Dowling, Soph.

As a freshman last season, Larson pitched well enough to earn second-team Class 4A All-State honors. The talented youngster was 6-0 with a 1.23 ERA, giving up only seven earned runs in 40 innings on the mound. The Maroons made it to the Class 4A state quarterfinals, falling to Cedar Rapids Prairie.

Drew Mauro, W.D.M. Dowling, Jr.

Another good, young hurler for a perennially strong Dowling squad. Mauro finished with a 5-1 record last season, second on the team in wins behind Blake Larson. Those two will give the Maroons a strong top of the rotation this season.

Evan Neumann, Kingsley-Pierson, Jr.

Neumann was the workhorse of the staff for K-P, which finished 28-4 and lost in a substate final. The second-team Class 1A all-stater worked 50.1 innings, going 9-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 52 strikeouts. The Panthers bring back most of their regulars from that talented squad.

Jett Neuberger, Clear Lake, Sr.

A third-team all-state selection last season, Neuberger finished with a 4-2 record and 1.92 ERA while striking out 103 batters in 51 innings pitched.

Alex Neal, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Sr.

Neal was a first-team Class 3A all-state pick by the sportswriters last season. Neal won nine of his 10 starts (9-0 record) and had 86 strikeouts in 63 innings. His ERA was 1.56 with just 14 earned runs allowed. Xavier was 27-13 and made it to a state semifinal last season.

Cade Obermueller, Iowa City High, Sr.

He posted a 4-1 pitching record for the Little Hawks last season. Obermueller, a third team Class 4A all-stater, surrendered seven earned runs in 29.2 innings of work, a 1.65 ERA. The University of Iowa signee is one of a number of able arms for City High’s rotation this season.

Jake Pemble, Johnston, Sr.

Last year’s state runners-up and the second-ranked team in the SBLive first set of rankings for this season, the Dragons beat defending 4A champion Pleasant Valley in the season opener. Pemble was second on the team with six wins for a 37-8 squad. He was 6-1 with a 1.32 ERA, striking out a team-high 63 batters in 47.2 innings.

Boede Rahe, Marion, Sr.

The IHSBCA 3A second-team all-state, first-team all-Wamac honoree, posted an 11-0 record with a 1.07 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, 90 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings pitched. He held opponents to a .196 batting average and is a Kirkwood signee.

Aaron Savary, Dubuque Wahlert, Sr.

Wahlert won 32 games and lost a 7-6 squeaker to Marion in the Class 3A state championship game last season while making its first state tournament appearance since 1965. Savary was the ace of that pitching staff, posting a 9-1 record and stingy 1.27 ERA.

Chase Schultz, Highland, Sr.

He struck out 14 batters in his season debut this week. Posted an 8-1 record and 1.15 ERA and 1.04 WHIP for a 16-9 squad last season.

Casey Stecker, Indianola, Sr.

The Indians are projected to be one of the top teams in the state this season and Stecker is the team’s ace. He had a 6-1 record and 1.97 ERA last season.

Brady Steward, Grinnell, Sr.

Steward was a third-team Class 3A all-state selection by the Iowa Press Sports Writers last season. He posted a 9-2 mark with 1.52 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Struck out 72 batters in 66.1 innings pitched and started his 2022 campaign with an 11-strikeout performance.

Doug Taylor, Mason City Newman, Jr.

The Iowa Prep Sports Writers felt Taylor was good enough as a sophomore to make second team Class 1A all-state. He gave up only two earned runs in 39.2 innings (0.39 ERA) while posting a 6-0 record with 69 strikeouts for a team that lost just twice in 36 games last season.

Jackson Van Den Bosch, MOC-Floyd Valley, Jr.

The Dutchmen finished with a 27-9 record last season and are ranked No. 17 in the SBLive first ratings of the season. Van Den Bosch finished with a 6-1 record and 1.21 ERA.

Lane Weis, Dubuque Hempstead, Sr.

Weis won five games for a Hempstead team that won 30 games and earned the school’s 15th state tournament trip last season. Already has chalked up a pitching win this season.