Drake Westcott slugs a home run
The third time was the charm for coach Tim Funkhouser and the Edwardsville Tigers on Saturday in the Class 4A state championship game at Route 66 Stadium in Joliet.
Pinch runner Aaron Young scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by St. Charles North third baseman Jacob Lobliner in the eighth inning as Edwardsville clinched its first baseball state championship since 1998 with 3-2 win over the North Stars.
The Tigers (37-5) put the eventual winning run on base to lead off the eighth inning when with one out Jacob Kitchen reached on an error. Seconds later, Young, pinch-running for Kitchen, stole second base.
One out later, senior Blake Burris laid down a bunt, that Lobliner fielded, but made a wild throw, allowing Young to score from second base.
Edwardsville closer Collin Salter then retired the North Stars in the bottom of the eighth as the Tigers stormed the field to celebrate their third state championship. In addition to the ‘98 team which finished 40-0 under coach Tom Pile and was voted as the No. 1 team in the nation, Edwardsville also won the state championship, under Pile, in 1990 when it finished 32-3.
The win on Saturday was also the the 700th in the coaching career of Funkhouser, who in 24 years, 21 with Edwardsville, has compiled a record of 700-195.
Prior to Saturday, Funkhouser-led Edwardsville teams had lost in the state championship game in 2002 and 2017.
On Saturday, starting pitchers Matthew Boyer of Edwardsville and John Hamer of St. Charles North battled through three scoreless innings before Edwardsville struck for a pair of runs in the fourth inning.
With one out, Drake Westcott walked and Joe Copeland singled. Later in the inning, both stole bases to move up to second and third base.
Westcott then scored on an error and when Copeland scored on a wild pitch, Edwardsville had a 2-0 lead.
St. Charles North tied the game with a run in the fifth inning when Egon Hein delivered an RBI single and sent the game into extra innings with a run in the bottom of the seventh.