With high school sports finished in Missouri, we turn our attention to Illinois as it is a big weekend for Edwardsville as both their baseball and softball teams are competing for the Illinois High School Association Class 4 titles. This is the first time in school history that both teams are playing for state championships in the same season.

Photo Credit – Cheap Seats Photography

The Tigers baseball team heads to Duly Health & Care Field in Joliet, Ill., to take on Chicago Brother Rice in the state semifinals Friday at 3 p.m. Edwardsville moved on in the tournament after defeating Plainfield North 3-2 earlier this week. In the super-sectional, the Tigers broke out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and the score remained that until North tied the contest in the top of the seventh with a pair of runs to make the score 2-2. Edwardsville then scored as Cole Funkhouser hit a walk-off single in the home half of the seventh with two outs to propel the Tigers to their seventh appearance in the state semifinals. Adam Powell paced the Tigers offense with two hits and a pair of runs batted in while Funkhouser added two hits and the game-winning RBI. Alec Marchetto earned the victory in relief for Edwardsville with three innings of work and four strikeouts to push Edwardsville to the semifinals.

Grant Huebner leads the Tiger offense with a .422 batting average with 43 runs scored and he has driven in 38 runs. Huebner also has had 14 extra-base hits with five of those being home runs. Spencer Stearns also is a leader at the plate with a .460 batting average and has brought home a team-high 45 runs. Stearns also paces Edwardsville on the mound with a perfect 10-0 record in 13 starts and is carrying a .48 ERA into the semifinals. Stearns has struck out 78 batters this season while only surrendering 10 free passes. Marchetto will be counted on coming out of the bullpen as he has made 14 appearances on the year with a .87 ERA and has two saves on the season.

Edwardsville enters the semifinal with a 34-4 record and will take on a Brother Rice squad that defeated New Lenox Lincoln-Way West 5-1 in the super-sectional. The Crusaders enter the semifinals with a 35-5 mark and are led by Zion Rose, who has a .489 batting average and has 20 extra-base hits while Jack Lausch paces Brother Rice with 41 runs batted in and five home runs. Cole Van Assen is the Crusaders ace on the pitching staff with a 13-0 record and has a 1.55 ERA and has 92 strikeouts to his credit this season.

The Edwardsville softball team heads to East Peoria, Ill., to take on St. Charles North Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Stadium located at the East Side Athletic Complex. The Tigers advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2009 with an 11-5 win over West Aurora in the super-sectional Tuesday afternoon. Edwardsville grabbed an early 2-0 lead after the first inning while west Aurora cut the advantage in half in the top of the second with a run to make the score 2-1. The Tigers broke the game open with five runs in the third and two runs in the fourth to take a 9-1 lead as they never looked back in the win. Lexi Griffin led the way for the Tigers at the plate with three hits, including two home runs and four runs batted in while Ryleigh Owens collected two runs batted in on a pair of doubles to aid the Tigers in advancing in the tournament.

Emily Wolff is one of the offensive leaders for Edwardsville with a .437 batting average and has a team-high 34 runs batted in with 12 extra-base hits while Avery Hamilton is hitting .421 in the year with 19 extra-base hits and 30 runs batted in. Owens is the ace for the Tigers pitching staff with a 19-1 record in 22 appearances and has a .57 earned run average on the year. She also has 155 strikeouts to her credit and allowed 21 walks this season. Brooke Tolle is another pitcher to watch as she has a 7-1 record in 12 appearances with a 1.23 ERA.

The Tigers enter the semifinals with a 32-3 record and will play a St. Charles North team that is making just their second trip to the state semifinals after defeating Chicago Whitney Young 6-3 in the super-sectional earlier this week.

The summer season is in full swing as SLABA and Legion baseball takes center stage while there are a bunch of basketball team camps happening over the next few weeks.



Jim Powers

Jim Powers

Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at japowers2421@yahoo.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan