Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 25 Triad

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 13, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2023 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, counting down 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 2023 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Triad
Preseason Rank: 25
2022 Record: 33-6
Conference: Mississippi Valley
IHSA Class: 3A
Head Coach: Jesse Bugger


Austin Brown IL Triad 2023 RHP Chipola JC 
Wyatt Bugger IL Triad 2023 OF -
Brady Coon IL Triad 2024 OF/RHP -
Carter Vandever IL Triad 2024 C/INF -
Drew Winslow IL Triad 2025 RHP -


+ Drew Winslow, RHP, 2025: A name we’ve heard plenty of positive things about throughout the off-season, Winslow’s arm talent, athleticism, and physical upside are all super intriguing. He’s stood out on Triad’s basketball team since his freshman year, and the apparent leaps he’s made on the mound have him heading into the spring with plenty of momentum. How many innings Winslow logs in his first year at the varsity level is yet to be seen, but the talented sophomore certainly adds more juice to a staff that already has two established arms within. 


0.50 – The ERA that senior star right-hander Austin Brown (2023; Chipola JC) posted over 12 games last season. One of the top arms in southern Illinois, the 6-foot-5, 155-pound Brown hurled 56 innings, winning eight games and punching out 81, walking just 12 batters total. He’s a legitimate ace with swing-and-miss stuff, featuring a mid-to-high-80s fastball and a devastating slider that generates whiffs consistently. The Knights have a frontline arm in Brown that gives them a chance to win each time he toes the rubber. 

Austin Brown (8/9/22)


Triad’s 2022 was memorable - the Knights eclipsed the 30+ win mark for the first time in over a decade, reaching the IHSA 3A Super Sectional before falling to eventual state runner-up Glenwood. They’ll be without a few key pieces from last spring, but multiple other returners alongside a few newcomers have Triad poised for another big year in 2023. 

Replacing this trio of three impactful offensive pieces will be no small task for Triad: C Jake Radosevich (2022; Lewis & Clark CC), OF Connor Bain (2022; Drury), and MIF John Rea (2022; Lindenwood). They accounted for 122 runs and 61 extra-base hits between the three of them, leaving a relatively large chunk of production in this lineup. Coming back however is OF/RHP Brady Coon (2024), whose sophomore campaign on both sides of the ball certainly played a big role in Triad’s success. Coon slashed .421/.476/.595 with 34 runs scored, 12 doubles, and 29 RBIs, swiping 17 bags as well. He turned in an all-conference type of season on the mound too, hurling 35 ⅓ innings with a 1.19 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, punching out 38 batters as well. They’ll turn to him for integral two-way contributions yet again and a season as successful as last, if not better, is something the Knights need from their standout junior. 

Brady Coon (2/20/23)

Surrounding Coon in this lineup are a few upperclassmen with experience, all of them seeing playing time last year. Both C/3B Carter Vandever (2024) and OF Wyatt Bugger (2023) batted above .300 with on-base percentages over the .350 mark, returning a veteran presence both at the plate and in the field. INF Nic Funk (2023) and CIF TJ Suter (2023) saw time last spring and performed, most notably Funk, who walked more (18) than he struck out (14) and reached base at a .423 clip. Moving away from their veterans, the key for Triad’s offense will be what they get out of the bottom of their order. It’s a young, inexperienced collective that hasn’t been tested at the varsity level yet, and how that acclimation process goes may determine the ability of this team’s run production in totality. 

Triad’s strength lies on the mound, where the Knights feel they’re deepest. The proven success that Brown and Coon have at the varsity level is noteworthy, and Triad will have a chance to win each game one of those two toes the rubber. Adding Winslow into the mix gives them another legitimate impact-type talent, while factoring in a few other arms, like Owen Droy, TJ Suter, and the aforementioned Funk. 


With two proven arms, a group of experienced returners, and a few talented newcomers to supplement, the Knights have the foundation set for a strong season in 2023. They’ll be tested in spurts throughout the year, but Triad’s eyes are set on a trip to Joliet, the program’s first since 2018. 

Follow along at @PBRIllinois for continued coverage throughout the high school season.

Find more information on the 2023 Knights below:

+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter