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

Some of the top Iowa prep baseball first basemen
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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 third installment, we feature first basemen across all classifications. The state is loaded with talented first basemen and many of them excel at other positions as well. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list as there are hundreds of outstanding players statewide. 

Kinnick Pusteoska, Solon, Jr.

The Tennessee Tech commit emerged as one of the top power hitters in Class 3A last season when he hit .404 with six home runs and 51 RBI as a junior.

The left-handed hitting Pusteoska had a 20 extra-base hits in 104 at bats last season while posting a .731 slugging percentage and 1.257 OPS.

Ian Gill, Sioux City Bishop Heelan, Sr.

A first-team Class 3A all-state pick last season, Gill batted .422 with 12 extra base hits and 27 RBIs.

As a junior, he also scored a team-high 38 runs for a team that finished 23-14 and third in the Missouri River Conference.

Easton Stusse, Hinton, Sr.

The sturdy 6-foot-2, 245-pound Stusse hit .455 and drove in 24 runs for the Blackhawks last season, earning third team Class 2A all-state accolades.

Stusse, who will play collegiately at Doane College, slugged eight doubles, two homers and a triple. He has a homer and eight RBI in eight games this season.

Nash Holmgaard, Newman, Sr.

A North Iowa Area Community College commit, Holmgaard is coming off a season in which he smashed 12 home runs and knocked in 63 for a .849 slugging percentage.

A second team all-state pick, the Newman star boasted a .429 batting average and had an historic night against West Fork when he went 4-for-5 with four home runs. In that game, he hit for the cycle in home runs with a grand slam in the first inning, a solo shot in the second, a two-run homer in the third and a three-run blast in the sixth.

Clayton Campidilli, Dallas Center-Grimes, Jr.

Campidilli, only a junior, hit .366 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs for a .643 slugging percentage and .443 OBP.

Campidilli was a third-team all-state pick lat season. He has picked up where he left off, batting .538 with three homers and a 1.385 slugging percentage in nine games this season.

Ben Phillips, Cedar Falls, Sr.

Tabbed a third-team Class 4A all-state pick a year ago, Phillips had a .403 batting average, scored 46 runs and drove in 26.

The Tigers are off to a 10-2 start this season and Phillips is hitting .469 with 17 runs scored.

Aaron Savary, Dubuque Wahlert, Sr.

A catalyst for the third-ranked Golden Eagles, Savary is also an outstanding pitcher with a 3-0 record and 30 strikeouts.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior right-handed pitcher and University of Iowa commit was the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year for 2021-22, leading the Golden Eagles to a 32-11 record and a berth in the 3A state championship game this past season. Savary went 9-1 on the mound with a 1.27 earned run average and struck out 96 batters in 66 innings pitched. He also finished with a .319 batting average, drove in 32 runs and hit six home runs

He was named a third-team Class 3A all-stater by the Iowa Press Writers last season as a pitcher.

Alex Knudtson, Iowa City High, Jr.

The Little Hawks won 29 games and reached the Class 4A substate final last season. The versatile Knudtson had five pitching wins and a 1.38 ERA while batting .269.

This season, Knudtson has led his team to a 13-3 start, hitting .429 with 10 RBIs.

Andrew Hamlett, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Soph.

One of the top young players in the state, Hamlett has helped the Saints win 13 of their first 16 games. He has a .434 average for the sixth-ranked Saints and a 2-0 pitching record.

Luke Kehrli, West Delaware, Sr.

The Hawks find themselves ranked in the top 10 by SBLive, thanks in part to Kehrli, who is hitting .429 with five homers and 15 RBIs.

Kehrli is also the ace of the pitching staff with a 3-0 record and 0.74 ERA.

Sam Harris, Urbandale, Jr.

The Duke commit thrived in the middle of the Urbandale lineup last season, hitting .314 with 13 doubles, five homers and 33 RBIs.

Harris has a .414 average with eight RBIs in 10 games for the 10th-ranked J-Hawks this season.

Ike Speltz, Van Meter, Jr.

The Bulldogs have won three straight Class 2A state championships. Speltz has a .389 batting average with 11 RBIs for a team that is off to a 13-0 start and ranked 11th by SBLive.

Speltz had a .337 average and 23 RBIs for last season’s 31-7 squad.

David Williams, Clear Creek-Amana, Jr.

The Clippers moved into last week’s SBLive rankings at No. 13 after sweeping defending Class 3A state champion Marion.

Williams is batting an even .300 for a team that has an 8-2 mark thus far this season.

Payton Hodges, Marion, Soph.

Another talented young performer, Hodges has a .419 average with 11 RBIs for the defending Class 3A state champions.

Hodges has also pitched 12 innings with a 1-1 record and 1.75 ERA.

Garrett Kadolph, Western Dubuque, Sr.

An Augustana (Ill.) College commit, Kadolph leads the 16th-ranked Bobcats with a .543 batting average and 25 RBIs. Western Dubuque has a 14-1 record and sits atop the Mississippi Valley Mississippi Division standings.

Tyler Welch, Davenport Assumption, Jr.

Assumption has a 10-3 record and is ranked No. 18 in the latest SBLive rankings. Welch has driven in 10 runs and picked up a pair of pitching wins for the Knights.

Ryan Kuennen, W.D.M. Valley, Jr.

The junior has a .394 batting average and 10 RBIs for a Tigers squad that is 9-4 overall.

Valley has won five of its past six games and moved to  No. 23 in the SBLive rankings this week.

Jax Theeler, Sioux City East, Fresh.

Wheeler has taken high school baseball by storm in his first varsity season. The Black Raiders are ranked in Class 4A by the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association with an 11-4 mark and leading the Missouri River Conference.

Freshman Theeler leads the team with a .326 batting average and has driven in 10 runs.

Noah Day, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Sr.

Day leads the Hawks with a.471 average, which includes two homers and 11 RBIs.

Prairie lost in a Class 4A state semifinal lasrt season. Day drove in 22 runs and had a .255 batting average.

Jarod McNeese, Clarinda, Sr.

Clarinda made it to the state tournament for the first time in 16 years last season. McNeese had a .314 average and knocked in 20 runs.

The Cardinals have won their first seven games this season. McNeese is hitting .318 with a homer and eight RBIs.

Mack Ortner, Don Bosco, Jr.

The Dons won their first nine games this season before suffering a 3-2 loss to West Marshall, but bounced back with a win to inprove to 10-2.

Ortner has a .333 average with a home run and seven RBIs. He is also a heavyweight wrestler for the Dons.

Aron Harrington, Lewis Central, Sr.

Harrington committed to playing baseball at Iowa Western Community College. Harrington put together a strong junior season with 13 doubles, five homers and a triple among 40 total hits. The Reivers commit hit .426 with a .575 on-base percentage and a .745 slugging mark.

Harrington had 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts and threw 22 1/3 innings with a 1.88 ERA for the Titans this past summer. He is batting .516 with a homer and 17 RBIs this season as Lewis Central has a 9-2 mark and is 4-0 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference.

Carter Allen, New London, Sr.

The Tigers are 6-0 and ranked No. 6 in Class 1A. Allen is hitting .375 and has one pitching win for New London, which blanked No. 2 Kee 11-0 last week.

Ben Burkle, Waukee Northwest, Sr.

Burkle doubles as a first baseman and pitcher for the Wolves and is hitting .333 with eight RBIs for an 8-4 team that is state ranked in Class 4A by the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association.

This is the first season of baseball for the newly created high school in suburban Des Moines.

Sam Wilt, Anamosa, Sr.

Wilt helped the Anamosa baseball program to their most successful season in almost 15 years as the team went 20-20 with Wilt launching 11 home runs, producing 52 runs batted in while also scoring 48 times. As a junior, he hit .495 with a .629 on-base percentage and amazing .982 slugging percentage.

Wilt, who is hitting .400 with four homer and seven RBIs in seven games this season, has committed to Kirkwood Community College.