Prep Baseball Report

Illinois Power 25: Early Takeaways

By: Illinois Scouting Staff

With the season starting a mere two weeks ago and a number of teams having less than a handful of games under their belt, it does not warrant an update to the Power 25. Instead, we will take a brief look at the Preseason Power 25 teams and how they have started their 2023 campaign.

A handful of teams have started hot and remain undefeated, while others have had a few bumps in the road. Others just simply have not played enough, if at all, to get a feel for their club. Below is a breakdown of some hot teams, cold teams and some teams to watch outside the Power 25.


No. 1 Edwardsville (4-1): Even with a loss, the Tigers are still one of the premium teams in Illinois, flexing their muscles offensively early in the season. They’ve outscored their opponents 54-6 in their four wins, most recently knocking off a premium senior arm in Missouri 15-0. It’s a lineup that doesn't lack firepower at all, with names like OF/RHP Joe Chiarodo (2025; Alabama), OF Caeleb Copeland (2023; St. Charles CC), INF Cole Funkhouser (2023; Central Missouri), and 1B Riley Iffrig (2023; Indiana State) all off to scorching starts. Edwardsville features an equally deep pitching staff, with arms like Chiarodo, LHP Logan Geggus (2023), RHP CIF/RHP Andrew Hendrickson (2023; Lincoln Land CC), and RHP Alec Marchetto (2024) performing well in the season’s early stages. The reigning 4A state champions have done nothing but reinforce their status as a legitimate state title contender early on. 

No. 2 Nazareth (6-0): It should be no surprise that the defending 3A State Champions are off to a scorching start, outscoring opponents 53-19 in their first six games. There is no shortage of talent on this Nazareth roster, as they return seemingly everyone from their State Title club. Players such as OF Lucas Smith (2023; Illinois-Chicago), INF/RHP David Cox (2024; Northwestern), UTIL Nick Drtina (2024, Louisville) and MIF/RHP Cooper Malamazian (2024; Indiana) all return to lead the offense. C/INF Jaden Fauske (2025; Louisville) saw some valuable time last season, but will be relied on a lot more heavily this spring and he is already proving to be more than up to the task with his hot start. Some new faces will also be looked to for production, with names such as INF Landon Thome (2026), OF Jeremy Thompson (2026), C Collin “Chuck” Roche (2025) and INF/RHP Andrew Kouris (2025). The aforementioned Cox, Drtina, Malamazian and Kouris will all add depth to their pitching staff - while other names such as LHP John Hughes (2024; North Carolina), LHP Luca Fiore (2024) and RHP Finn O’Meara (2023) are slated to see a plethora of innings as well. 

No. 3 St. Laurence (3-0): The Vikings of St. Laurence potentially have the most impressive start out of anyone in the state despite only playing three games. They have outscored their opponents 27-1, with all three of their wins coming against talented teams - No. 8 Lemont (6-0), Maine South (11-1) and Simeon (10-0). Their offense boasts plenty of firepower with OF Luke Stulga (2023; Illinois State) and C Johnny Wendling (2023; Illinois-Springfield) leading the charge. They also have a dual-headed monster atop their rotation in RHP Dennis Helwig (2023; Notre Dame) and LHP Joe Olson (2025; Louisville). 

No. 4 Lincoln-Way West and No. 5 Huntley: Both teams come in at 3-0 after the first two weeks of the season and have a few big wins under their belt. Lincoln-Way West had their toughest test come against a hot Sandburg club, ultimately holding onto a 11-10 win to stay perfect on the year. Huntley has the look of a well-rounded club, outscoring opponents so far 23-3. They have yet to give up more than two runs in a game with their most noteworthy win of the year so far coming against No. 16 Stevenson 6-2. 

No. 14 Lockport (5-0): The Porters, who went 34-4 last season, show no signs of slowing down, as they have had an extremely strong start to the season, including knocking off No. 1 Edwardsville 10-0 down at the Kickoff Classic. Uncommitted 2024 RHP Dylan Nagle has announced himself as an arm to follow closely moving forward after shutting down Edwardsville and earning our First PBR Pitcher of the Week award for the 2023 season. Lockport also has wins over Joliet Catholic, Yorkville, Mount Vernon and Mascoutah. They are poised to make a big rise in the Power 25 if they can keep this strong start going through this week. 

No. 11 Providence Catholic, No. 18 New Trier and No. 21 Sycamore: All three Preseason Power 25 clubs have gotten off to a strong 2-0 start. Providence has not allowed a run yet, knocking off Plainfield East and Joliet Central. New Trier picked up a 6-2 win over No. 19 Lane Tech while Sycamore’s toughest game was a 6-5 win over Burlington Central. 


No. 6 Brother Rice (2-2): The Crusaders had plenty of pieces to replace in 2023 and always play a highly-competitive schedule so it is not all that shocking to see them get off to an up-and-down 2-2 start. They also have played four one-run games so their record could have easily shifted one way or another. Their biggest win so far was a 6-5 win over No. 12 Oak Park-River Forest. They got knocked off by Joliet Catholic 2-1 and Sandburg 4-3. The schedule is sure to remain tough for Brother Rice moving forward but talent is plentiful on the roster and they will be ones to keep a close eye on moving forward. 

No. 8 Lemont (1-2): The Indians are a senior-laden club that have two tough losses to quality opponents to start the season. They lost to No. 3 St. Laurence over the weekend 6-0 and also lost 2-1 to a hot Sandburg club. Their lone win so far was a 10-0 victory over Evergreen Park. 

No. 12 Oak Park-River Forest (0-2): The Huskies have had a tough start to the season with two close losses, one coming against No. 6 Brother Rice by a score of 6-5. They also got knocked off by Libertyville 7-5. They travel for spring break this week and face Tullahoma (TN) on Wednesday and a talented Zionsville (IN) team on Friday. Two wins this week could have the Huskies right back on track. 

No. 16 Stevenson (1-2): The Patriots have faced three quality opponents so far this season and have only been able to come away with one win so far, 6-2 over Glenbrook South. Niles Notre Dame knocked them off 7-4 and No. 5 Huntley took them down 6-2. They have a busy week scheduled ahead with a trip to Tennessee that could turn their fortunes around as they head back home and get ready for conference play next week.

No. 19 Lane Tech (2-3): Impressively Lane Tech has played five games on the season despite the lack of playable conditions around the Chicagoland area the first two weeks of the season. They have wins over De La Salle and Niles West but losses to No. 18 New Trier (6-2), Maine South (3-1) and Warren Township (21-10) have led to an uneven start. They have four games scheduled this week with a chance to get headed in the right direction.


+ Sandburg (4-1): Sandburg started their 2023 season 3-0 with claiming two victories over top-10 Power 25 teams, before taking a one run loss to top-5 team. They knocked off No. 10 Lemont in their season opener, holding them to just one run and four hits. So far the Eagles are exceeding expectations and have put themselves firmly on our radar as a team to watch with high-quality wins under their belt already.

+ Lincoln-Way Central (2-0): The Knights have no shortage of talent, led by C/INF Colin Mowry (2024; Louisville), RHP/INF Landon Mensik (2024; Xavier) and RHP/INF Luke Mensik (2025). Their two wins so far stand out, taking down a talented Homewood-Flossmoor club 12-2 and No. 15 Naperville Central 7-4. It has only been two games but the Knights have certainly caught our eye and will be a team to watch closely moving forward. 

+ Homewood-Flossmoor (4-1): Despite not having the No. 1 prospect in the Illinois’ 2023 class, OF Dillon Head (Clemson), to start the year, the Vikings rattled off four straight wins to start the year. Their offense scored 59 runs in the first four games before their first hiccup came at the hands of Lincoln-Way Central, losing 12-2. It has been a strong start to the season for the Vikings and they should only get a shot of adrenaline when Head gets inserted back into the lineup. 

+ O’Fallon (4-1): Pitching has been a strength for the Panthers, as they opened the season with four straight shutouts before dropping a contest to a top-ranked McCracken County team in Kentucky. RHP David Barker (2024) and RHP/1B Connor Blue (2025) have combined for 21 scoreless frames to start the year, with RHP Jack Velino (2024), RHP Michael Barker (2024), and RHP Alex Tame (2024) chipping in plenty of positive contributions on the hill. C Will Millard (2023; Hillsdale College), INF Xavier Deatherage (2023; McKendree), Blue, and OF Haidyn McGill (2023; John Wood CC) are leading the charge offensively, all of them off to hot starts. O’Fallon’s long been a team to know in the state’s southern region, and this young Panthers’ squad is ready to make some noise come Southwestern conference play. 

+ Father McGivney (6-0): The Griffins are off to a hot start, sweeping through all of their opponents, and kicking off 2023 with six straight wins. They’ve scored eight or more runs in four of those contests with impressive starts on both sides of the ball from a few key pieces. INF Jacob McKee (2023), C Nick Franklin (2024), INF Drew Kleinheider (2025), and RHP Gabe Smith (2023; Ole Miss) pace the offense, with Smith, RHP/OF Jackson Rodgers (2023; Western Illinois), and INF/RHP Daniel Gierer (2023) anchoring things on the mound. Father McGivney is definitely a team to watch, with the pieces to make a run at the 2A level. 

+ Warren Township (4-0): The Blue Devils have been exceeding expectations so far and their offense has been doing all kinds of damage leading to a total of 50 runs in their three games. So far their noteworthy win was a 21-10 victory over No. 19 Lane Tech. Charlie Badgley has been on fire to start the season, earning a spot in our Diamond Notes after going 10-for-10 through his first two games with two doubles, nine runs, seven RBIs, a walk and four stolen bases. 

+ Marion (6-0): The Wildcats are a team from Southern Illinois to keep an eye on as they have started the season undefeated at 6-0. Their first big-school challenge will come on Monday as Warren Township, mentioned above, is scheduled to head down and face off at 7:00pm. Kaskaskia commit, senior SS Cooper Thompson, is a name to know for Marion. 

+ Downers Grove North (2-0): The Trojans are without a doubt a team to watch based on their offense alone. Names such as OF/CIF George Wolkow (2023; South Carolina), 3B Tony Konopiots (2023; West Virginia), INF Ean Czech (2023; Texas), C Jimmy Janicki (2024; Troy) and INF Jude Warwick (2024, Michigan State) have this North lineup littered with Division I talent. With two dominant wins over Plainfield Central (13-8) and Plainfield East (11-4), the Trojans are swinging it as we expected. The only question that will truly depict how successful they can be is if they have some arms step up to eat meaningful innings. 

+ Deerfield (3-0): Has made their presence known to start the 2023 season. The Warriors are off to a perfect 3-0 start with convincing wins over Von Steuben (15-4), Palatine (10-5) and No. 24 Grayslake Central (9-0). 

+ St. Viator (3-0): Coming off a stellar 2022 campaign where the Lions went an eye-opening 35-3, it seems as though they are picking up on similar trajectory to where they left off - pounding out three early wins over Maine South (9-1), Fremd (7-5) and Hersey (6-3). 

+ Crystal Lake South (3-0): The Gators had a successful 2022 season, making it all the way to the Final-Four in 3A State. They are off to an early undefeated start in 2023, outscoring their opponents by an impressive 41-2 mark with wins over Harvard (12-1), Woodstock (13-0) and Richmond-Burton (16-1). 

+ McHenry (3-0): Coming off an impressive 4A State Tournament run where they finished fourth in the state, McHenry is off to an early 3-0 start with wins over Johnsburg (11-1), Harlem (16-0) and Streamwood (1-0). Their offense has clearly been dominant, but their pitching has been equally, if not more impressive - only allowing one run on six hits in 15 innings. 

+ Libertyville (2-0-2): The Wildcats have been a bit of a surprise so far picking up two wins and two ties on the young season. They knocked off No. 12 Oak Park-River Forest 7-5 and Palatine 11-9. They also tied Glenbrook South 3-3 and a solid Barrington team 2-2. They have some young faces impacting varsity and they have put themselves firmly on the radar to start the season.

+ Antioch (2-0): Antioch has taken care of business in their first two games of the season taking down Prairie Ridge 3-1 and Crystal Lake Central 8-4. Senior C/RHP TJ Schuyler (Indiana) and RHP/OF Jack Olson (2024) are two higher-end prospects on the roster for Antioch. 

+ Mascoutah (3-1): Mascoutah has picked up a few impressive wins early on, blanking Effingham in a Kickoff Classic win and taking down No. 10 Belleville East 2-1 in a hard fought contest. The Indians are led by staff ace RHP Austin Musso (2025), who hasn’t allowed a run in two starts spanning eight innings, striking out 16 and walking only three. INF Wyatt Beer (2024) has turned in a handful of quality innings in relief, while also serving as a key offensive piece for Mascoutah. Alongside Beer, C/RHP Zane Timon (2023; Eastern Illinois) and C/OF Grant Reinneck (2024) are two more bats to know in this lineup. A competitive, battle-tested group that plays a tough schedule, the Indians are a team to watch in the Mississippi Valley, and at the 3A classification in general. 

+ St. Rita (3-1): The Mustangs have three quality wins under their best to start 2023 - taking down Oak Lawn (13-2), Marian Catholic (12-6) and Marist (10-6). Their lone loss came against Andrew in a tough-fought 7-5 result.

+ Morton (2-0): The Potters are off to a strong 2-0 start, taking down perennial 2A power-house St. Joseph-Ogden by the score of 4-2 and Normal Community 3-0. They battled one of the top uncommitted junior arms in the state, LHP Ethan Eberle, to get past Normal Community. 

+ Moline (4-1): Moline started their season by blanking Galesburg 3-0 behind a dominant pitching performance from RHP/INF Riley Fuller (2023) and INF/RHP Hunter Warren (2023; Wright State). The pair struck out 15 Silver Streak hitters in their win. Pitching has been a strength for Moline so far this season, only allowing 10 runs and scoring 30.

+ Dunlap (4-0): The Eagles are off to a hot start, defeating all of their opponents thus far, starting out perfect in the early season. Pitching has been a major strength for Dunlap with RHP Jaxon Tresenriter (2025) throwing seven innings with 13 strikeouts, two hits, two walks and one earned run, including a complete game with 11 strikeouts and two hits in their 10-0 win over Bloomington. RHP/INF Jack Piper (2024) has thrown four innings with eight strikeouts, three hits, and one run so far this season. Junior, Trevor Johnson (5-for-8, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 2 R, BB), has led the charge for the Eagles offense this season. Dunlap is a team to watch with a quality pitching rotation that could continue to help them win games this season.

+ DePaul College Prep (4-2-1): DePaul already has seven games under their belt, most of which were against teams out of state. The Rams collected victories over Timothy Christian (7-0), Greene County Tech (7-4), Gibson City (MS) (7-5) and Shady Side (PA) 20-2 - as well as a tie to Pickerington Central. 

Preseason Top 10 

RECORD (3/28) 
1 Edwardsville 4A 4-1
2 Nazareth 3A 6-0
3 St. Laurence  3A 3-0
4 Lincoln-Way West 4A 3-0
5 Huntley 4A 3-0
6 Brother Rice  4A 2-2
7 Mundelein  4A 1-0 
8 Lemont 3A 1-2
9 Lincoln-Way East 4A 4-1
10 Belleville East 4A 4-1


**Preseason Power 25 Rankings and more**