Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 8 Edwardsville

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

The Illinois high school season kicks off on March 12th, the first day for regular season games.

Leading up to the opening week of games we will be rolling out team previews of high school teams all across the state and across all classifications, eventually launching our Preseason Power 25.

We will bring you a snapshot of what to expect along with top players and keys to success for that particular team.

Team: Edwardsville
Preseason Rank: 8
2017 Record: 34-8
Conference: Southwest
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Tim Funkhouser
Playoff Run: Class 4A runner-up
2017 Final Rank: 2
Returning Starters: 3
Returning Pitchers: 3


Kade Burns, SS/RHP (Central Missouri)
Dylan Burris, OF (Wabash Valley JC)
Andrew Frank, RHP
Joel Quirin, INF (Lincoln Trail JC)
Daniel Reed, C (Illinois College)
Andrew Yancik, INF (McKendree University)


Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Cole Hampton
IL Edwardsville 2018 INF/OF
Chase Gockel
IL Edwardsville
2018 RHP  
Reid Hendrickson
IL Edwardsville
2018 RHP/INF Central Missouri
Collin Elvers
IL Edwardsville 2018 C/OF  
Dawson Taylor
IL Edwardsville
2019 RHP  
Jack Cooper
IL Edwardsville
2019 INF/OF  
Josh Ohl
IL  Edwardsville
2019  2B/SS
Jonathan Yancik
IL  Edwardsville
2019  RHP/INF  
Joe Copeland
IL Edwardsville
2019 OF  
Matthew Boyer
IL Edwardsville
2019 RHP  
Ben Basarich
IL Edwardsville
2019 C/OF  
Trent Moore
IL Edwardsville
2019 RHP/1B  
Drake Westcott IL Edwardsville 2020 1B Louisville


Edwardsville saw quite a few of its infielders leave as graduates last spring, creating some opportunities for juniors and underclassmen to step up. Junior Josh Ohl is one of those that has a chance to take over as the team’s shortstop. Ohl has continued to add strength to his frame and is a steady defender with enough arm strength to play the left-side of the diamond. The right-handed hitter is fundamentally sound at the plate with feel for the barrel. His emergence somewhere on the infield could be critical to the success of the Tigers in both 2018 and ‘19.

Josh Ohl (2.11.18)


Sophomore Drake Westcott. It is rare that a sophomore would be a team’s X-Factor but that may just be the case this spring for the Tigers. Westcott announced his presence with authority last spring, starting and hitting in the three-hole for the perennial power despite being only a freshman. The power-hitting first baseman put up gaudy numbers (.435 BA, 11 2B’s, 12 HR’s, 41 RBI) and was the only freshman selected to the PBR All-State teams. Westcott will be one of the only returners on the infield and will need to match his impressive freshman output if the Tigers hope to make it back to Joliet.


I’m certain it stings to make it all the way to the championship game of the state final and lose, so close to achieving a season-long dream. But if there’s one person who could rally a team back from a loss like that, it’s reigning IHSA Coach of the Year Tim Funkhouser. He’s bringing back a younger, more inexperienced starting squad in 2018, but one that still holds enough of the pieces that could keep it contending into the summer months.

The 2018 edition of the Edwardsville Tigers will look strange without a couple of its former stars, shortstop and starting pitcher Kade Burns and outfielder Dylan Burris. The duo kindled the fire that sparked the team’s 38-win season. Burns served as the team’s go-to starter at times, he was the one who took the mound first in the championship game, and was one of the team’s offensive catalysts, too. Burris was one of the best leadoff hitters in the state who set the school record for most triples in a season. His speed kept opposing pitchers paranoid on the basepaths, as well.

The loss of those two is huge. Plugging those holes will be difficult, if not impossible. So Funkhouser will instead be relying on a couple of other key players for its attempt to get back to state in 2018, rather than looking for the Burns-Burris duo’s replacements.

The rest of the schools in the Southwest Conference won’t be excited to see the big bopper Westcott get back into the batter’s box. The sophomore started for the varsity team last year at first base and slugged 12 home runs, including one in the championship. He verbally committed to Louisville last spring as just a freshman. He’ll be heavily leaned upon to provide the bulk of the runs this offense scores given his power and advanced approach. Apart from Westcott, senior righties Reid Hendrickson and Chase Gockel should both be perched at the front of this pitching staff. Hendrickson is a pitchability right-hander who’s also a solid defender in the infield and will be a big contributor for the Tigers all season long. Junior RHP Dawson Taylor could be an X-factor for the staff. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has touched 90 mph this winter and flashed a tight slider to go along with it. His ability to consistently throw strikes will end up determining his role on the staff.

Senior catcher Collin Elvers will be the man behind the plate for Gockel, Hendrickson and the rest of the staff, taking over for the since graduated Daniel Reed.

Junior Jack Cooper is going to support Westcott in the lineup with a power bat of his own. Fellow 2019 grad Ohl will be taking over for Burns in the middle of the infield and has the skill to do so admirably, too. Jonathan Yancik, a junior, saw his older brother Andrew graduate last spring, but he returns to help avenge the championship loss by competing for a slot in the back of the rotation. And another junior, Joe Copeland, has upside in the outfield given his skill as a defender and blossoming bat.


On our preseason Power 25 last year, Edwardsville was ranked No. 14. They didn’t come out of nowhere to make a run all the way to the final game of the high school season, but they needed a lot of things to go right in order to get there -- and they did. A coach like Funkhouser can help facilitate development like that.

This year, a lot of things need to go right once more. Their pitching staff is good, but without an ace, can one of Hendrickson, Gockel or the others produce an ace-like season? Edwardsville knows, for the most part, where its runs are coming from, but who else can step up offensively?

We’re not willing to bet against the Tigers again, but it’ll be interesting to see how this lineup shakes out between its first game in March and its last one.

Find more information on the 2018 Tigers below:

+ Full Schedule
Team Website
+ Gamechanger

Make sure to follow @pbrillinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the season.