Prep Baseball Report

Top-10 Stories of 2023: No. 2 Edwardsville Repeats As 4A State Champions

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

Few in the state, especially at the 4A level, have had the success and winning pedigree as the Edwardsville Tigers have over the last few years. Under the leadership of legendary head coach Tim Funkhouser, Edwardsville has captured three of the last four state titles - they won it in 2019, and are now coming off back-to-back championships with victories in 2022 and 2023, respectively. 

Funkhouser’s legacy as one of the state’s all-time greats is more than solidified, and the Edwardsville native figures to only add on as his coaching career continues. He’s been at the helm of the Tigers’ program since 1999, amassing 748 wins with Edwardsville and 803 in total throughout his career. He’s won three state titles, has finished as a runner-up twice, and owns 11 trips to the Elite Eight, too. Funkhouser has been named IL Class 4A Coach of the Year by the IHSBCA three times (2019, 2022, 2023) and he’s also earned Coach of the Year honors in Region 4 twice (2019, 2022). The IHSBCA inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2015 and, as recently as a few weeks ago, Funkhouser was inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

This year’s Edwardsville squad, albeit a few key subtractions, featured a multitude of experienced seniors that helped them capture the 2022 state title. The key cogs in this Edwardsville lineup were almost all seniors, starting with OF Caeleb Copeland (2023; St. Charles CC), 1B Riley Iffrig (2023; Indiana State), and INF Cole Funkhouser (2023; Central Missouri). All three were staples at or near the top of this Tigers’ offense, they all hit above .375, with both Copeland and Iffrig each driving in more than 40 runs. 

Two more seniors, CIF/RHP Andrew Hendrickson (2023; Lincoln Land CC) and INF Kayden Jennings (2023; Northern Illinois) each contributed in a major way as well. Hendrickson’s left-handed bat brought power to the middle of this lineup, especially in the playoffs, and he also drew the start on the mound in the state championship game. Jennings may have been the most valuable asset on the infield in 4A last year, playing high level defense at shortstop on a day-to-day basis. He entered the state playoffs batting .333 across 108 at-bats and he also launched a key home run in the 4A semi-final game. 

Surrounding that experienced bunch were a handful of other talented names that also played a big part in this championship run. OF/RHP Joe Chiarodo (2025; Alabama commit) was another integral top-of-the-order bat for this club, batting .333 with nine extra-base hits and 28 runs scored. C Lucas Huebner (2024; SWIC) handled a bulk of the playing time behind the plate, and he also hit .311 with 20 RBIs, 30 runs scored, and nine extra-base knocks. UTL Lucas Krebs (2025) provided positive value defensively both as an infielder and outfielder, while hitting over .300 across 90 at-bats, and fellow sophomore OF Greyson Rathgeb (2025) was a real asset defensively in center field. 

The shortage of talent extends to the mound, with LHP Logan Geggus (2023; Saint Louis) and the aforementioned Chiarodo anchoring this rotation. Geggus hurled 49 innings with a perfect 10-0 record in his final high school season, pitching to a 2.14 ERA with 71 strikeouts in total. Chiarodo’s sophomore year was even more impressive on the hill, as the Alabama commit punched out 65 with just 19 walks across 50 innings of work with a 0.98 ERA. He also turned in a dominant effort against York in the 4A semi-final game that helped punch the Tigers’ ticket to the championship bout, as well as an excellent performance in the Super-Sectional against Minooka. 

Behind those two, RHP Alec Marchetto (2024; Kaskaskia JC) and Hendrickson logged bulk innings as well, each of them amassing the 35 inning mark on the year. Marchetto’s most impactful moment was in a multi-inning role out of the ‘pen for the save in the state championship game. As for Hendrickson, he posted a 2.47 ERA with 35 strikeouts while drawing the start in the title game. 

When he wasn’t behind the plate, Huebner was particularly sharp on the mound, fanning 18 in 11 frames with a 1.27 ERA to pair. The Tigers also saw flashes of brilliance from two highly talented freshmen in INF/RHP Hunter Baugh (2026) and RHP Anthony Eberlin (2026; TCU), who each should play bigger roles on the mound this upcoming season. 

A blend of experience, talent, and depth helped Edwardsville complete a historic 2023 season and defend the state title they won just a year prior. They’ll lose several integral parts of their last two playoff runs in this 2024 season, but all the Tigers do is reload, and they’re primed to compete for another trip to Joliet this upcoming spring. 

Below you'll find the game story from Edwardsville’s victory in June:


In last year’s state semi-finals, Edwardsville defeated Brother Rice to advance to the 4A championship game that the Tigers would ultimately win over Mundelein.

Fast forward a year later and these two clubs met again with a state title on the line.

Edwardsville and Brother Rice each won on Friday, pitting the two programs against each other in Saturday’s 4A state championship match. The final game of the 2023 IHSA season started at 7:15 PM.

It didn’t take the Tigers long to jump on the scoreboard, as they put up three runs in the top of the first inning. Andrew Hendrickson (2023; Lincoln Land CC) pulled a ground ball to second, scoring a runner from third, and Lucas Huebner (2024) barreled a loud two-run single up the middle.

The Crusaders didn’t score in the innings’ bottom half, but Brother Rice did score runs in the second and third.

Chris Daugherty (2024) drew a one-out walk and would score moments later on a beaming opposite field double from Aidan Nohava (2025), who was thrown out trying to stretch out a triple on a stellar relay from Caeleb Copeland (2023; St. Charles CC) and Cole Funkhouser (2023; Central Missouri). 

Brother Rice scored again in the third on an RBI single up the middle from sophomore Jackson Natanek (2025).

Edwardsville responded in the fourth. Kayden Jennings (2023; Illinois-Springfield) was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced all the way to third on an errant pick-off attempt. Lucas Krebs (2025) peppered a single to left-center, scoring Jennings, and giving the Tigers a 4-2 advantage.

As they did earlier, Brother Rice matched Edwardsville’s punch, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game up. Sean Sullivan (2023) started the inning off with a walk, moving to second on a single from leadoff man Bryce Nevils (2023; Western Kentucky) and chasing the Edwardsville starting pitcher, Hendrickson, from the game. Brother Rice put on a double steal, forcing a throw to third, which scattered into the outfield and scored a run for the Crusaders. Nevils would come around to score on an RBI groundout from Amir Gray (2023; Purdue), making it 4-4 after five. 

It didn’t take the Tigers long to break the tie. Jennings reached a one-out double down the left field line to give Edwardsville a runner in scoring position. After a batter’s interference call forced the inning’s second out, Funkhouser barreled his second single of the day just over the Crusaders’ shortstop, scoring Jennings, and making it 5-4. Edwardsville would add another run in the top of the seventh on an RBI double from Jennings.

Despite their timely offense, Edwardsville wouldn’t have won the state championship had it not been for Alec Marchetto (2024) and his performance out of the ‘pen. The PBR Future Games alumni fanned five, including striking out the side in the sixth, and didn’t issue a walk, surrendering only a hit over three scoreless relief innings. He relied mostly on his fastball, attacking and challenging hitters often in the mid-to-upper-80s, while touching 89 mph early on.

induced two weak groundouts and ended the game on a strikeout looking to secure the Tigers most important win of the 2023 season, finishing 33-9 with another state title. As back-to-back champions, with a large chunk of this group having played a part in last year’s title team, this Edwardsville team cements itself as one of the most successful in IHSA history.


+ Alec Marchetto (Edwardsville): 3 IP, H, 0 BB, 5 K, W
+ Kayden Jennings (Edwardsville): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 RS
+ Cole Funkhouser (Edwardsville): 2-for-4, RBI, RS
+ Lucas Huebner (Edwardsville): 1-for-4, 2 RBI
+ Sean Sullivan (Brother Rice): 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RS
+ Jackson Natanek (Brother Rice): 1-for-4, RBI, 1 ⅓ IP, 2 H, ER, 3 K