The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Tigers are white hot, still one of best teams in Illinois

Casey Stover
Junior Lucas Krebs celebrates with his teammates.

The Tigers have finished their season ranked in the top 10 in Illinois for four straight years, according to MaxPreps. As of May 9, Edwardsville, having won back-to-back state titles and posting a 19-8 record this season, is looking to stretch that streak to five.

Still, their top .08% spot within the state and 15-3 heater they’ve been on since their Alabama tournament isn’t something they’re taking for granted.

“Just because we wear Edwardsville on our jerseys doesn’t mean we are [going to] be the best,” said junior outfielder and pitcher Joe Chiarodo. “We take pride in the ‘Edwardsville’ on our jersey and our work ethics are what truly sets the standard … Nothing is ever given. We have to earn everything.”

Chiarodo leads Tiger starters in batting average, slugging percentage, doubles and home runs. In his third season as a varsity regular, he’s using his experience as a two-time state champion to lead the Tigers on and off the field.

“I am proud of myself for stepping up this year and leading this team,” he said.

Chiarodo added that he leads his teammates by picking them up, taking charge of warmups and “bringing the energy.”

Senior first baseman Chase Alwardt is playing his first varsity season this year and is sharing the position with senior Bryce Beyers. This season, he’s posting a .241/.405/.310 triple slash and is walking more than he’s striking out.

“I put a lot of work in [in] the offseason both in the weight room at school, as well as with my club team,” Alwardt said. “I also worked weekly with my hitting coach.”

Earlier this season, junior outfielder Greyson Rathgeb said that he and other players would take a larger role. In Rathgeb’s case, he’s already had almost 30 more plate appearances than he did in his sophomore campaign and has nearly doubled his offensive output in that time.

According to Rathgeb, the biggest development he’s made with the team isn’t the increased scoring; it’s his leadership that’s impacted the Tigers the most.

“Me, Joe [Chiarodo], Lucas [Krebs] and Tyler [Powell] have stepped up well into a leader role,” Rathgeb said. “A lot of the guys on the team can look up at us as some guys that can bring the team up when needed.”

Beyond stepping up as a leader, Powell has also stepped up his performance on the mound. In his sophomore season, he struggled, posting an 8.03 ERA as a reliever, but as his junior regular season is wrapping up, he’s looking much more solid, averaging 3.07 runs per seven innings.

For Powell, that development is a mix of his mental and physical game improving. 

“Understanding who I am as a pitcher and trusting that each time has allowed me to be myself and stay within myself,” Powell said.

The biggest foes that the Tigers face on their road to a Class 4A three-peat are Lincoln-Way West, Nazareth Academy and Joliet Catholic. The only experience most of this year’s Edwardsville roster has with the trio of rivals is playing Joliet Catholic earlier this season in a game they lost 6-0 March 15.

For Rathgeb, the team just needs to tighten up the little things in order to beat the other Illinois powerhouses.

“We need to clean up the mistakes we make and make [them] minimal going forward.” Rathgeb said. “We have everything we … need to be able to put it all together when the postseason starts.”

To Alwardt, ending the season with a state win is about the work they have to put into on-field success, as all the Tigers have to do is “continue to put forth the work we have been putting in.”

If the Tigers fix the minor mistakes and work that much harder in practice, Chiarodo has confidence that the Tigers will overcome the best teams in Illinois.

“We have put in so much work since the first week to improve each and every day,” Chiarodo said. “If we compete as a team in all aspects of the game, we are going to be hard to beat.”