Prep Baseball Report

Final Illinois Power 25 Team Rankings

By Peter Hamot
Illinois Scouting Staff

With the conclusion of this past weekend’s State Tournaments, we’ve compiled our Illinois Power 25 Final Team Rankings. It’s important to note that our rankings are not necessarily a final reflection of what happened during the playoffs, but rather take into account the entire season, including conference races.

The team that sits atop our final rankings this season is none other than the Class 4A State Champions, Edwardsville. The Tigers started the year in the No. 11 position and quickly rose to the top due to their stellar 22-0 start, remaining in the No. 1 position for two weeks until their eventual first loss. They remained in the top five all season long after the initial ranking. 

Nazareth Academy took home the Class 3A State Championship and ended the year in the No. 4 position after not being ranked for an entire month prior. Initially our No. 5 team in the Preseason Rankings, Nazareth dealt with a few injuries, most notably to some of their top arms, and saw some struggles around the midpoint of the season. They ultimately got hot at the right time winning 17 games in a row, including the 3A State Title game over Glenwood. Nazareth finished the season with a 34-7 record and should be considered one of the early favorites for the 2023 season due to all the young talent that will be returning.

Nine teams in the final Top-15 rankings were ranked in the Top-15 in our Preseason Power 25 Countdown. 

One team that was arguably overlooked throughout the season was the 2A State Champions, Joliet Catholic. The Hill have been a perennial powerhouse in the IHSA over the last two decades, only just recently making the switch to 2A this past season. Though a slow start to the season kept them out of the Power 25, the Hilltoppers always play an extremely challenging schedule and were certainly one of the favorites heading into the playoffs. They went on to outscore opponents by an eye-opening 62-7 differential in the postseason to capture their fourth State Title in baseball - finishing the season with a 26-10 record and ending at No. 13 in the Power 25.

Below we take a look at the Top 5 teams in Illinois come season’s end.

+ No. 1 Edwardsville (36-4): Led by head coach Tim Funkhouser, the Tigers were the definition of a well-rounded club; boasting power, contact, speed, quality defense and plenty of reliable pitching. With all of these facets put together, it is no wonder why the Tigers got out to the stellar start they did. After dropping four games in two weeks after winning 22 straight, the Tigers responded by winning nine straight games to capture their fourth State Title for baseball in school history, capped off by taking down Brother Rice in the State Semifinals by the score of 7-4 and Mundelein in the State Finals 4-3. One of the key members on both sides of the ball for this State Champion club was RHP/INF Spencer Stearns. The uncommitted, high-academic senior, entered the State Tournament leading the team in almost all offensive categories; such as batting average (.465), home runs (8), doubles (12), RBIs (45) and hits (53). While these numbers are impressive, he also led the team in all pitching categories; entering the State Tournament with a perfect 11-0 record, 62 innings pitched, a 0.79 ERA, and 78 strikeouts to just 10 walks. C Grant Huebner (2022 St. Charles CC commit) and 1B Riley Iffrig (2023 Indiana State commit) were two more catalysts in the Tigers lineup on an everyday basis, both hitting over .400 entering the State Tournament with nine home runs between the two. Right-hander Gannon Burns (2022 St. Xavier commit) helped fill out the rotation for Edwardsville, providing head coach Tim Funkhouser yet another arm he can trust week in and week out. Burns entered the State Tournament with an impressive 8-1 record with 52 innings pitched, a 2.29 ERA, 55 strikeouts and just 18 walks. He also threw one of the gutsiest outings we had seen from a starting pitcher in the entire IHSA playoffs, firing a complete game in the State Final game with two earned runs to help seal the Tigers victory. 

CLICK HERE for the 4A Championship game story.

+ No. 2 Mundelein (29-6): Led by head coach Randy Lerner, the Mustangs started the year in our No. 6 position, and it was no surprise to see them in the State Finals with the depth and high-end arms they possessed on the mound. Highlighted by RHP Ryan Geraghty (2023 Wichita State commit), Geraghty proved to be the addition the Mustangs needed as this past spring was his first season in a Mundelein uniform. The flame-throwing Geraghty finished the year with a team-best 9-1 record to go along with 59 innings pitched, 1.19 ERA, and 110 strikeouts to just 15 walks. Unfortunately shut down for the State Tournament, it is no question that Geraghty was a driving force for the Mustangs on the mound, firing a complete-game shutout with 15 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over Barrington to advance to the Sectional Finals - then tossing 5.1 innings against Glenbrook South with one earned and eight strikeouts to lead the Mustangs to State. Right-handers Bennett Musser (2023), Caden Morton (2022) and Zach Johnson (2023) all helped round out the loaded pitching staff for the Mustangs, with Musser and Johnson boasting sub-1.60 ERAs - while Musser sported a 2.42 ERA. The Mustangs were led offensively throughout the season by SS Michael Farina (2023), who hit his way to a team-best .402 clip while also leading the team in runs scored (40). Mundelein played the same ball in the playoffs as they did all season long, taking down Rolling Meadows 5-0 and walking off Buffalo Grove 6-5 to head on to Sectionals. Sectionals weren’t much different for the Mustangs as their pitching stepped up once again, cruising through Barrington as mentioned before by the score of 1-0 and taking down Fremd 2-1 to advance to Supers where they yet again held their opponent to just one run - knocking off Glenbrook South 2-1. The State Semifinals is where we started to see the bats heat up, putting up double-digits against McHenry and winning by the score of 12-0 to advance to the State Finals, eventually losing to Edwardsville by the score of 4-3. The Mustangs top two arms return next year, so expect to see Mundelein making noise again in 2023.

+ No. 3 Brother Rice (36-6): Led by head coach Sean McBride, the Crusaders had one of the more potent lineups from top to bottom in recent memory. Starting the spring as our No. 2 team, that quickly changed after they took down the nationally renowned power-house IMG Academy in the Prep Baseball Report National High School Select tournament, giving IMG their first loss of the season in dramatic walk-off fashion. From this point on, it seemed as though there was no disputing Brother Rice as one of the most talented clubs in the state, backed up by their 17-game winning streak to start the year. The Crusaders cruised to a Chicago Catholic Blue Title and entered the playoffs as many people’s favorites to win the 4A State Championship. A tough 7-4 loss to Edwardsville in the State Semifinals made that feat unachievable, the Crusaders bounced back and knocked off McHenry in five innings by the score of 14-4 to take home the third in the state. C Zion Rose (2023 Louisville commit) has long been regarded as one of the top players in the stacked 2023 Illinois class, and this season only further confirmed the hype around him. Leading the potent Crusader offense with a .489 batting average heading into State, Rose also led the team in doubles (12) and runs scored (56) - on top of that Rose hit four home runs, 12 doubles and 37 RBIs. All of these statistics put together would prove to be enough for Rose to be named Chicago Catholic League Blue Player of the Year. Another dangerous bat in the Crusaders’ lineup all season long was 1B Amir Gray (2023 Purdue commit). Gray headed into state with a batting average of .413, good enough for second on the team - also boasting three home runs, 11 doubles, 30 RBIs and 32 runs scored. There were seemingly no holes in the lineup, as other names such as OF Jack Lausch (2022 Northwestern Football commit), SS Christian Holmes (2022 Kansas State commit), C/OF Bryce Nevils (2023) and 3B Will Flanigan (2022 Iowa Western commit) filled out the top of the Brother Rice lineup on a daily basis. The Crusaders also had the luxury of rolling out a couple horses to the mound, with RHP Cole Van Assen (2023 Purdue commit) and LHP Dylan Warda (2022 Indiana commit) leading the way. Van Assen put together one of the more impressive seasons in the entire state on the mound, especially looking at who he pitched against; with 77 innings pitched, 1.55 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 25 walks - also setting the school record for wins in a single season with 13. Warda’s season was nothing to scoff at either, finishing with a record of 10-1 with 57 innings pitched, a 2.09 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 39 walks. 

+ No. 4 Nazareth Academy (34-7): The Roadrunners, led by head coach Lee Milano, took home their first ever State Title in baseball with a 5-1 victory over Glenwood. Starting the season in the No. 5 position in our Preseason Rankings, Nazareth eventually fell out of the rankings all-together due to some tough mid-season losses. We knew as a staff going into this season that the Roadrunners would be one, if not the youngest team in the state, so the struggles they faced were only natural with such an inexperienced team at the varsity level. As the season progressed, it was clear that the Roadrunners were starting to figure things out, hitting the ground running come playoff time after an entire month outside our Power 25. The Roadrunners cruised through their Regional, taking down Thornton Fractional North 15-0 and Evergreen Park 10-0 to advance to Sectionals. Paired against a tough Lemont club to open their Sectional play, Nazareth was able to pull out a 6-5 victory to advance to the finals - where they met up with a dangerous St. Laurence club, taking them down by the score of 6-0. After a 10-7 win over St. Ignatius in the Super-Sectional catapulted Nazareth into the State Finals, things only seemed to be heating up. Playing some of their best ball all season, the Roadrunners took down Crystal Lake South 16-3 to advance to the State Finals, eventually taking care of business there as well. While most of the starting lineup was filled with underclassmen, OF Lucas Smith (2023; Illinois-Chicago commit) supplied the squad with some experience. Although only a junior, Smith has plenty of varsity experience and he led the team with a .466 batting average, 17 doubles and 40 runs scored in 118 at-bats; it was no question Smith was a driving factor in the Roadrunners success. Under Smith’s wing was SS Cooper Malamazian (2024, Indiana commit), playing his second year on varsity as only a sophomore. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound shortstop supplied the Roadrunners with all sorts of versatility on the field, playing steady defense at shortstop while hitting to a .400 clip and leading the team in RBIs with 32. Another underclassman that played a large role in the squads success was RHP/INF/OF Nick Drtina (2024; Louisville commit). Drtina was the Roadrunners go-to arm throughout the year, leading the team in innings pitched (55), ERA (1.15), strikeouts (70) and also setting the school’s all time record for wins in a single season with 11. 

CLICK HERE for the 3A Championship game story.

+ No. 5 Saint Viator (35-3): Led by head coach Mike Manno, Saint Viator started off the 2022 season in our No. 7 spot in the Preseason Power 25. A 16-0 start to the year allowed the Lions to slowly creep up the rankings until they finally reached the No. 1 spot, a position in which they remained for the final three weeks of the regular season. Though a Sectional Finals loss to eventual IHSA Fourth Place winners Crystal Lake South cut their season short, the No. 5 position in our final rankings only seems fitting for a team that had as much dominance and success throughout the regular season. The Lions possessed one of the more intimidating two-way duos in the entire state, with fellow Arizona commits Tony Pluta (2022) and Casey Hintz (2022). Hintz, a shortstop and right-handed pitcher, turned in a dominant year on both sides of the ball; pitching to a perfect 9-0 record with a 0.51 ERA, 54.1 innings, 72 strikeouts and 0.755 WHIP - while also starting at shortstop on a regular basis and hitting to a .315 average with 30 stolen bases on 30 attempts. These stats for Hintz were good enough for him to be named both ESCC MVP and ESCC Pitcher of the Year. Pluta on the other hand, caused all sorts of havoc for opposing pitchers as he was named the ESCC Offensive Player of the Year after he batted .463 with seven home runs, 15 doubles, 27 RBIs, 38 runs scored and maybe the most impressive statistic, 40 walks to only 15 strikeouts. On the mound, Pluta can run his fastball into the low 90’s and boasts swing-and-miss stuff, as shown by his 54 strikeouts in 28.1 innings. Another key member for the Lions was INF Zan Von Schlegell (2023), who provided the Viator with even more lock-down defense up the middle - winning ESCC Defensive Player of the Year after not making a single error in conference play. On top of his stellar defense, Von Schlegell also provided the Lions with some thump in the lineup; hitting his way to a .370 average with four home runs, 12 doubles, 40 RBIs and 37 runs scored. 

FINAL Top-10

RECORD (6/13) 
1 4 Edwardsville
4A 36-4
2 5 Mundelein 4A 29-6
3 3 Brother Rice
4A 36-6
4 NR Nazareth 3A 34-7
5 1 Saint Viator 3A 35-3
6 2 Lockport 4A 34-4
7 8 Lincoln-Way West
4A 24-7-1
8 6 Huntley
4A 31-5
9 17 Glenwood 3A 33-8
10 NR McHenry 4A 30-10




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