Providence wants to contribute to its storied history – Shaw Local


Providence is the only school in state baseball history to win three consecutive state championships (2013, 2014, 2015).

Providence is also one of three schools, along with Edwardsville and Joliet Catholic, to have won a total of five state titles.

Both records, for sole or shared possession, will be on the line this weekend during the Class 4A State Tournament at Duly Health and Care Field in Joliet.

And it seems only fitting that the first semifinals will be Providence (31-8) and Edwardsville (31-8) at 4 p.m.

Edwardsville is trying to grab a piece of the first record above, as it is a two-time defending state champion after titles in 2022 and 2023, and the Tigers are also trying to become the only team in state history to win six titles.

Providence, which could also reclaim sole ownership of a record that had been its property since 2015 before last year, stands in the way on both counts.

“They’re trying to do something and I know this is going to be a storyline where they try to match our record and it’s up to us to stop that,” Providence coach Mark Smith said. “But we are going to enjoy the moment, prepare for Friday and know that we have a monumental task ahead of us.”

Part of that monumental task will be dealing with an Edwardsville pitching staff that has been incredibly stingy. The Tigers have allowed two or fewer runs to opponents in 19 games this season. The two standouts on the staff, sophomores Chase Milburn and Tony Eberlin, are doing the lion’s share of the work. Milburn was sensational in a win over Downers Grove North in the super-sectionals, while Eberlin is already committed to TCU.

Providence’s deep and capable lineup should give Edwardsville some pause. The Celtics are getting productivity from all parts of their lineup, and while Enzo Infelice, Jackson Smith and Nate O’Donnell are probably considered the most dangerous players in the lineup, the Celtics are collectively responsible for 132 extra-base hits this season. with no fewer than 13 players each with at least two extra-base hits.

There is also depth on the pitching staff. Eight different pitchers have logged at least 10 innings this season and only two of those have ERAs above 4.00. Despite not logging ten innings, Infelice is another arm responsible for serving as Providence’s closer in several big games.

The other side of the bracket shows Conant (29-7) and York (31-9). York is expected to throw Ryan Sloan (2-2, 0.18 ERA), a potential high draftee in July’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, and Conant will likely counter with Franklin Kirchner (9-1, 2.05 ERA) after team ace Bryce Loeger (11-0, 1.00 ERA) exhausted his pitch count in Monday’s supersectional win over Glenbrook North and won’t be able to pitch again until Saturday.

Here’s a closer look at the teams competing in this weekend’s Class 4A State Tournament:

Providence Catholic Celtics

Registration: 785 (Voluntary “playing up” in 4A)

Conference: Catholic League of Chicago

File: 31-8

Current winning streak: 6 games

Head coach: Mark Smith (16 years, 408-202-3)

Previous state appearances: 1978 1st in A; 1979 DNP in A; 1982 1st in A; 1986 DNP in AA; 1995 DNP in AA; 2011 1st in 4A; 2014 1st in 4A; 2015 1st in 4A; 2016 1st in 4A.

Upper arms: RHP Kasten Goebbert, jr., 6-0, 37 IP, 2.65 ERA, 36 K, 14 BB; RHP Cooper Eggert, jr., 4-1, 36 IP, 2.53 ERA, 36 K, 14 BB; RHP Nate O’Donnell, jr., 2-3, 33 IP, 3.39 ERA, 23 K, 13 BB

Top bats: LH Jackson Smith, Sr., .435 BA, 45 RBI, 49 R, 6 HR; RH Nate O’Donnell Jr., .434 BA, 52 RBI, 43 R, 11 HR; RH Enzo Infelise, jr., .347 BA, 31 RBI, 22 R, 7 HR

Edwardsville Tigers

Registration: 2,307

Conference: Southwestern

File: 31-8

Current winning streak: 13 games

Head coach: Tim Funkhouser (28 years, 831-218)

Previous state appearances: 1947 DNP in single class; 1952 DNP in single class; 1953 DNP in single class; 1980 DNP in AA; 1982 DNP in AA; 1988 DNP in AA; 1990 1st in AA; 1991 2nd in AA; 1998 1st in AA; 1999 DNP in AA; 2000 DNP in AA; 2002 2nd in AA; 2004 DNP in AA; 2007 DNO in AA; 2017 ranked 2nd in 4A; 2019 1st in 4A; 2022 1st in 4A; 2023 1st in 4A.

Upper arms: RHP Chase Milburn, so., 9-0, 57 IP, 0.61 ERA, 49 K, 18 BB; RHP Tony Eberlin, so., 7-1, 46 IP, 2.89 ERA, 53 K, 28 BB; RHP Joe Chiarodo, jr.., 4-1, 35.0 IP, 2.60 ERA, 51 K, 18 BB

Top bats: RH Lucas Krebs, Jr., .380 BA, 34 RBI, 30 R, 2 HR; RH Kolten Wright, Sr., .374 BA, 20 RBI, 39 R; RH Joe Chiardo, Jr., .420 BA, 15 RBI, 20 R, 2 HR

York dukes

Registration: 2,789.5

Conference: Western suburb

File: 31-9

Current winning streak: 5 games

Head coach: Dave Kalal (15 years, 290-200-3)

Previous state appearances: 1960 1st in single class; 1993 1st in AA; 2023 4th in 4A.

Upper arms: RHP Ryan Sloan, Sr., 2-2, 40 IP, 0.18 ERA, 82 K, 4 BB; LHP Noah Hughes, Sr., 8-1, 53 IP, 1.32 ERA, 56 K, 13 BB; RHP Chris Danko, sr., 6-2, 47 IP, 2.23 ERA, 49K, 13 BB

Top bats: RH Josh Fleming, Jr., .352 BA, 28 RBI, 26 R, 4 HR; RH Drew Gami, Jr., .304 BA, 15 RBI, 30 R; LH Chris Danko, sr., .257 BA, 28 RBI, 26 R, 1 HR

Conant Cougars

Registration: 2,388

Conference: Mid-suburban league

File: 29-7

Current winning streak: 13 games

Head coach: Derek Fivelson (11 years, 167-162-2)

Previous state appearances: First appearance at state tournaments

Upper arms: RHP Bryce Loeger, Sr., 11-0, 70 IP, 1.00 ERA, 96 K, 23 BB; LHP Franklin Kirchner, Jr., 9-1, 58 IP, 2.05 ERA, 75 K, 19 BB; RHP Connor Kehoe, jr., 3-2, 30 IP, 5.83 ERA, 30K, 22 BB

Top bats: RH Jake Parpet, Sr., .427 BA, 30 RBI, 46 R, 8 HR; RH Jacob Szpiganowicz, so., .388 BA, 30 RBI, 25 R, 2 HR; LH Cooper Hanson, sr., .379 BA, 22 RBI, 38 R, 3 HR