Prep Baseball Report

4A State Finals Preview

By Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey & Gavin Smith
Illinois Staff

All eyes will be on tomorrow’s 4A IHSA State finals games. The field is set with Providence Catholic, Edwardsville, York, and Conant, all to make their way down to Duly Health & Care Field in Joliet for a chance at the State championship. As each of these teams have dominated the field this season, this should be an exceptionally competitive and exciting State final to watch.

Providence Catholic matches up against Edwardsville at 4 pm, while York and Conant face off at 7pm. All will be decided on Saturday with the third place game taking place at 4 pm and the championship game taking place at 7 pm.

With only one of these talented teams being deemed State champion by the end of it, we’re in for an enthralling set of games.

Extensive coverage of both these games and the 3A State playoff games can be found on our Twitter @PrepBaseballIL. You want to be sure not to miss the action.

Learn more about the teams and the key players that make up this star-studded State final, below.

Providence Catholic (31-8)

As the No. 10 ranked 4A team in our most recent Power 25 rankings, the Celtics are extremely hot going into the State tournament. With an extra innings win over Homewood-Flossmoor and a 3-2 thriller over Mt. Carmel, the Celtics are into yet another State final, and the first since their 2016 State championship. With a terrifying offense, they certainly have the capability of adding a sixth State title to their trophy cabinet.

The Celtics offense is more than dangerous. With many stars of this offense, the first to mention is two-way 2025 Cooper Eggert. Eggert has 47 hits, 25 RBIs, 9 doubles, 5 HRs, a team-high 5 triples, and a team-high .443 batting average. Stud catcher Enzo Infelise (2025; Oklahoma) is a power-hitting catcher, adding more firepower to this offense. The No. 3 ranked 2025 catcher in the state has 42 hits, 31 RBIs, a team-leading 12 doubles, 7 HRs, and a .347 batting average. Jackson Smith’s (2024; Bradley) power-hitting this season has overshadowed even his speed. The left-handed hitting shortstop has destroyed the baseball this season, hitting for an astonishing .435 batting average, 45 RBIs, 6 HRs, 10 doubles, 4 triples, and a team-best 50 hits and 49 runs. If this wasn’t enough star power in the Celtics’ offense, Nate O’Donnell (2025) adds a greater threat to this offense, with his incredible .434 batting average, 46 hits, 11 doubles, and a team-high 11 HRs and 52 RBIs.

Mitch Voltz (2024) batting for a .358 batting average, 8 doubles, and 2 HRs; Eddie Olszta (2025) hitting for a .379 batting average, 2 HRs, 27 RBIs, and 8 doubles; and John Greenwood (2024; North Park) hitting for an amazing .408 batting average, 26 RBIs, and 2 HRs then top off a jaw-dropping offense.

This isn’t all for Providence Catholic. The Celtics have made it to this point in large part due to their rotation of commanding pitchers as well. Cooper Eggert on the bump is the No. 6 ranked 2025 RHP in the state. With 4 wins, 45 strikeouts, and a 2.53 ERA, he will be sure to take the mound in one of the two games. RHP Kasten Goebbert (2025) is another ace of this team. With a 6-0 record, 36 Ks, and a 2.65 ERA, the Celtics will be looking to him for a big performance on the mound. RHP Ethan Ganz (2024) in 8 games has only let up 2 ERs, giving him a 0.56 ERA, and RHP Kyle Lipke has boasted a 1.65 ERA on the season to go with 3 wins.

It is certain that the unreal offensive production of this Celtics team makes them as dangerous as can be. Along with their confident arms, the Celtics are sure to have loads of confidence in themselves going into tomorrow.

Edwardsville (31-8)

It is no surprise that this power program is back to another State final. The No. 7 ranked 4A team in our most recent Power 25 is 31-8 with a more commanding rotation of aces than ever. With this ace rotation, the dominant Tigers are looking to win their third straight State championship, and their fourth in five years. They’ll need to be at their best, though, as each team is more than eager to put an end to their championship reign.

Tony Eberlin (2026) is one of the aces of this team. The sophomore RHP is 7-1 with 53 Ks and a 2.89 ERA on the season. Chase Milburn (2026) is the last, and arguably the most dominant arm for the Tigers, with an impressive 9-0 record, 49 Ks, and a 0.61 ERA. These aces are seemingly untouchable and will all be looked upon to deal either tomorrow or Saturday.

Edwardsville's offense is heavily productive as well. Three heavy hitters lead the way for the Tigers. Lucas Krebs (2025; Illinois) is the No. 2 ranked 2025 SS in the state, leading Edwardsville in batting average at .380, hits with 41, RBIs with 34, and has added 9 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 HRs to go with his season tally. Kolten Wright (2024) has been another big bat, with a .374 batting average, 34 hits, and team leader in runs with 39. Lucas Huebner (2024; Southwestern Illinois JC) has also added massive production to this offense, hitting .307 with 25 RBIs.

With such a strong rotation of aces leading the way, followed by a consistent and productive offense, the Edwardsville Tigers find themselves in a promising position to win two games and defend their State championship.

York (31-9)

The 31-9 Dukes are back at the State final for a consecutive year. After a loss in last year’s State semi-final to Edwardsville, you can expect the Dukes to be seeking revenge. With an unbelievable pitching staff leading the way, the Dukes are more than confident in their ability to brush off two opponents for two wins.

RHP Ryan Sloan (2024; Wake Forest) is the obvious arm that each opponent is already wary of. The Gatorade Player of the Year and #1 ranked player in the state strikes terror into each batter that steps into the box. Posting 82 Ks and a 0.18 ERA in 11 games, it is no wonder the dominant RHP is at the top of MLB Draft boards. The seemingly invincible ace is sure to take the mound come tomorrow or Saturday, and the Dukes will be extremely confident in themselves when he does.

What makes the Dukes the most terrifying is that Sloan is only the beginning of this pitching staff. In fact, the Dukes have seven arms who have posted below 3.00 ERAs on the season. Noah Hughes (2024) is another untouchable ace of the team. Having pitched the most innings for the Dukes, Hughes is 8-1 with 56 Ks and a 1.32 ERA. Hughes’s 6 inning, 6 strikeout, shutout win in the Sectional championship against St. Carles North is just what the Dukes will be counting on. Chris Danko (2024; Illinois State) is another commanding arm that dominated for the Dukes. 6-2 on the season with 49 Ks and a 2.23 ERA, Danko closed out the same Sectional championship game, securing the save and securing the win. The 1-2 punch can be expected to throw again, and once again, the Dukes will be extremely confident when they do.

Three leading bats support the 31-win Dukes offense. Owen Chael (2025), hitting for a .301 batting average, 3 HRs, and 27 RBIs is big for the Dukes offensively. Josh Felming (2025) is the team leader in batting average at .352, hits with 37, RBIs with 28, HRs with 4, and doubles with 11. Drew Gami (2025) is hitting .304, leading the Dukes in runs with 30, and has added 4 doubles. These three bats leading the way for the Dukes are sure to power the offense behind their reliable aces.

Having a lethal two-game pitching order for tomorrow and Saturday, behind a more than capable offense, the York Dukes may believe themselves to be in the best position to win two games tomorrow and Saturday.

CONANT (29-7)

The 29-7 Cougars have had an incredible season, leading them to their first State final appearance in their history. Following a comfortable 6-1 Super-sectional win over Glenbrook North and extending a 13-game win streak, the Cougars will have no shortage of confidence going against such powerful teams. At their disposal are two aces who will be looked upon to lead the Cougars.

A pair of arms will pose a threat to opposing teams as RHP Bryce Loeger (2024; Dartmouth) and LHP Franklin Kirchner (2025) have led their staff this season. Loeger finished the season with a stellar 11-0 record, punching out 96 batters over 70 innings over work, all while posting a 1.00 ERA. Kirchner tallied 75 strikeouts this season, working a 9-1 record with a 2.05 ERA.

Offensively it’s a rather senior heavy lineup as C Jake Parpet Heartland CC) is leading the way for the Cougars at the plate, hitting .427 with eight home runs, 12 doubles (team high), 30 RBI, 47 runs scored (team high) and 47 hits (team high). OF Matt Maize has had plenty of production as well, as he’s tallied four home runs, 13 doubles, 35 RBI and 44 hits. OF Logan Gale (Parkland JC), 1B Isaiah Rhodes, and INF Cooper Hanson have all had productive seasons at the plate as well - Rhodes led the team in runs batted in with 36.

Sophomore Jacob Szpiganowicz has had an impressive season as well, tallying 40 hits (.388 batting average), 12 doubles, two home runs and 30 RBI.

As the Cougars make their first ever trip to the state tournament this weekend, Coach Fivelson will rely heavily on their talented pitching staff and senior-heavy lineup.

They’ll take on York tomorrow night at 7:00 pm for a chance at playing in Saturday’s State Championship game.

With each team absolutely loaded with offensive weapons and power pitching, there is no telling which of these powerhouses will come out on top. All that is known is that by Saturday afternoon, one of these deserving teams will be crowned 4A State champion!

Extensive coverage of these games and the 3A State playoff games will be available on our Twitter @PrepBaseballIL. You don’t want to miss it!