Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 8 Edwardsville


By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on April 12, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2021 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, leading into a countdown through the official PBR Illinois Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2021 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Edwardsville
Preseason Rank: No. 8
2019 Record: 37-5 (4A State Champions)
Conference: Southwestern
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Tim Funkhouser

TOP PLAYERS

NAME POS CLASS COMMITMENT
Rogelio Berumen OF 2021 Rend Lake JC
Evan Funkhouser INF/RHP 2021 St. Charles CC
Hayden Moore UTL/RHP 2021 Missouri State
Quinn Weber RHP 2021 Webster
Gannon Burns INF/RHP 2022 -
Grant Huebner C/OF 2022 -
Adam Powell OF/LHP 2022 -
Spencer Stearns INF 2022 -
Caden Archer RHP 2023  
Cole Funkhouser INF 2023 -
Riley Iffrig 1B/LHP 2023 -
Kayden Jennings INF 2023 -
Luke Range OF/RHP 2023 -

STAT RAT 

No. 1. The Tigers ended the 2019 season as the Class 4A State Champion and No. 1 in the Power 25. Unfortunately, with no baseball in 2020, much has changed since the impressive title run and they did not get the chance to try and repeat as state champions. The 2020 squad would have featured 10 seniors who were committed to play in college, including Louisville commit and one of the best bats in the state, 1B Drake Westcott. Edwardsville is known for their depth and ability to reload their varsity squad year-in and year-out, so 2021 should be full of high expectations once again.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH

Riley Iffrig, 1B/LHP, 2023: Iffrig is a talented two-way prospect with one of the top left-handed bats we have seen to-date in the Illinois’ 2023 class. The 6-foot-2, 178-pound, left/left sophomore, takes consistent quality at-bats and has a mature approach. Iffrig understands the strike zone, controls the barrel and works gap-to-gap with occasional pop to the pull-side. Iffrig should slot somewhere in the middle-of-the-order and man first base throughout the spring. He is also a talented left-handed pitcher who could add depth to the staff, if needed.

Riley Iffrig (10/3/20)

X-FACTOR

Evan Funkhouser, SS/RHP, 2021: Funkhouser, a St. Charles CC commit, will be counted on as Edwardsville’s everyday shortstop when he is not toeing the rubber starting on the mound. The right-handed hitter should also slot somewhere in the middle of the lineup. His ability to manage a two-way role this spring and produce at a high-level in all spots could prove to be a difference maker this spring for the Tigers.

Funkhouser creates whip in his swing, features sneaky pull-side power at the plate and plays a steady shortstop with a high baseball IQ and instincts. On the mound, he thrives by pounding the strike zone with a low-80s fastball, mixing in his breaking ball in any count and varying his leg-lifts and timing to disrupt hitters.

Evan Funkhouser (8/11/20)

OUTLOOK

Edwardsville is used to winning and winning at a high rate. Unfortunately, they did not get to defend their Class 4A state title last spring but will look to do so in 2021. With that being said, the roster will look a whole lot different this spring than it did in 2019. A bunch of fresh faces litter the roster with only a couple who saw time on the state title team. Luckily for the Tigers, a plethora of talent continues to come through the doors and this year’s squad should be plenty capable of making a run at the 4A title once again.

Missouri State commit, senior OF/INF/RHP Hayden Moore, is one of the few players on this year’s roster with varsity experience. Like the aforementioned Funkhouser, Moore will be leaned on heavily in a number of different areas and played a vital role in their 2019 run to the title. Moore will be slotted at the top of the order as the catalyst for the offense and is used to creating havoc on the bases. He will also see the majority of time in center field but is athletic enough to play all over and could see some time at shortstop when Funkhouser is on the mound. Moore also should see plenty of time on the mound thanks to a mid-80’s fastball and strike throwing ability. 

Hayden Moore (2/9/20)

Another top of the order bat to keep an eye on his spring is junior C/CF Grant Huebner, who was on Team Illinois at this summer’s Future Games. Like a lot of players on this roster, Huebner is extremely versatile. He should serve the role as an everyday catcher where his strong arm plays well but can also play an above-average outfield position as well. The right-handed hitter has a flat path, controls the barrel and can backspin the baseball to all fields. 3B Spencer Stearns is another name that should be seeing a lot of time in the middle of the order and also some time on the mound. The ball jumps off Stearns bat and he gives Head Coach Tim Funkhouser another arm that pitches in the low-80’s to choose from. Another name that should be in the everyday lineup is senior OF Rogelio Berumen (Rend Lake JC commit). Beruman takes competitive at-bats and runs the bases well. 

Edwardsville should be as deep from top-to-bottom as any other team in the state and some other names who should be fighting for spots in the lineup throughout the season are OF Cade Hardy, OF/DH/1B Adam Powell, C/DH Zak Zoelzer, INF Kayden Jennings, INF Gannon Burns, INF Kyle Modrusic, INF Cameron Grant, OF Caeleb Copeland and INF’s Cole Funkhouser and Bryce Beegle.

On the mound, they lack some of the high-end velocity they have had in the past but they will be extremely deep when it comes to reliable arms that can get outs and keep them in games. On paper, it looks like the Tigers could have 15 or more arms that have a chance to get varsity innings this spring. At the top of the rotation should be Quinn Weber a Webster commit. Weber is a high-pitchability right-hander who pitches in the low-80s and has dominated opponents when we have seen him in the past. Funkhouser, Moore, Stearns and Burns, all mentioned above as position players to watch, are other arms who will play a big role this spring. Some other arms towards the top of the depth chart should be Jake Holder, Cameron Grant, Taylor, Huebner, Caden Archer, Conrad Heppler, Wiley and Logan Geggus. Of all the names listed, Archer (2023 grad) has one of the livelier arms and biggest upsides on the staff. 

BOTTOM LINE

Edwardsville is the defending state champion until someone knocks them off. Despite not having some of the high-end pitching velocity that they had in 2019, the depth and talent across the roster is extremely impressive. Moore, Funkhouser and a few other seniors with the 2019 state finals experience will look to lead the way with the next crop of young talent coming through the system ready to make an impact this spring. Edwardsville is the team to beat in Southern Illinois and looks primed to make another run come June.

Make sure to follow @PBRIllinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2021 season.

Find more information on the 2021 Tigers below:

+ Team Website

+ Team Schedule

+ School Twitter

PRESEASON POWER 25 COUNTDOWN