Boyd gets Edwardsville off to good start at Legion state tournament

News-DemocratJuly 31, 2013 

— Jevon Boyd relishes his role as the front man in Edwardsville Post 199's postseason pitching rotation.

Boyd went the distance, giving up six hits and no earned runs in leading Edwardsville over the Elk Grove Red Sox 8-1 Wednesday in the opening round of the American Legion State Baseball Tournament.

Boyd also got Edwardsville off to a good start in the Fifth Division Tournament last week by throwing a one-hitter in a win over Steeleville.

"I love starting these tournaments,'' said Boyd, who pitched for Kaskaskia College this past spring. "It's always important to win the first game and be in the winners' bracket. I have an ego that's like: If you throw me the first game, I don't want to lose, I'm not going to lose.''

Boyd, the District 22 North Division Player of the Year, seemed to get stronger as the game progressed even though a cold he caught over the weekend left him with a stuffy nose and feeling a little fatigued. He registered seven of his eight strikeouts after the fourth inning.

"I felt like my fastball started to pop a little more toward the end of the game,'' Boyd said. "At the beginning of the game, I didn't feel like it was hard as usual but as I threw more pitches, it got a little harder.''

Boyd's teammates have a lot of faith in the right-hander, who works fast and throws a lot of strikes. He threw just over 100 pitches in nine innings against Elk Grove.

"J.B. is probably the best pitcher in this whole area, maybe the whole state,'' Edwardsville shortstop Chase McPeak said. "It's a blast playing behind him. I love it.''

Edwardsville (30-6) will play Wheaton (35-13) at 3 p.m. Thursday in the second round of the double-elimination tournament.

Elk Grove will play host Trenton (17-14) at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Boyd's performance kept the rest of Edwardsville's pitchers fresh.

"That's huge,'' Edwardsville coach Ken Schaake said. "When you are playing in a tournament where you're playing Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday as opposed to Monday through Saturday -- when you cut out a couple of days out-- for somebody to eat the innings and beat a real good team the way he did really picks up our team.''

Edwardsville cranked out 13 hits, seven coming during a six-run eighth-inning rally.

Chase McPeak went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and Jordan Hecker went 3-for-4 with an RBI.

"We were talking about this before the game,'' Boyd said. "We don't have an easy out in our lineup at all. All of us put the ball in play, and if one of us is down, another one of us picks him up.''

Elk Grove threatened in the first inning when Jordan Grubb tripled when his drive got over the head of right fielder Devin Breihan. Colin Breathan then reached on a dribbler toward to the mound.

Boyd got out of the jam with a 5-4-3 double play. Edwardsville didn't get a hit off Elk Grove starter Danny Guido until the fourth inning.

Drew Curtis led off the fourth with a walk, but was forced out at second base on a grounder by Boyd.

Heckler and Devin Breihan hit back-to-back singles to bring in Boyd.

Elk Grove tied the game thanks to an error, a balk by Boyd and another error in the fifth inning.

Edwardsville regained the lead in the seventh as Danny Robertson singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Blake Graham and scored on single by McPeak.

Edwardsville broke the game open and chased out Guido in the eighth. Eleven batters came to the plate in the inning with a two-run double by McPeak, an RBI single by Curtis and two hits by Heckler (a double and a single) being the key blows.

"I think our whole team expects to win every game, and from the top bottom, we can hit,'' McPeak said.

Moline 11, Trenton 0

Cooper SantAmour and Evan Smith combined on a five-hit shutout as defending state champion Moline cruised past host Trenton.

Playing in front of a large crowd, Trenton committed six errors leading to seven unearned runs.

Trenton looked rusty after having not played a game in almost two weeks.

"We didn't make plays, plain and simple,'' Trenton manager Kyle Jones said. "No matter what we can try to do, they hadn't seen a game in two weeks. You can simulate a game, but it's not the same.

"For many of these kids, they've never played in front of that many people in their lives. This place was packed. We're proud of the fact that people came out to support the team, but we wish we had put up a little better performance.''

Trenton starter Jared Kus gave up 11 hits and nine runs, but only three of those runs were earned.

"Jared threw a lot better than what it looked like,'' Jones said. "They're a good team. They made every routine play. They hit the ball welll up and down the lineup.''

Moline didn't score in the first inning, but then pushed across runs in each of the next five innings.

Matthew Brill and Mitchell Peterson each had three hits for Moline.

Trenton stranded seven runners over the first three innings. Zach Grob had two of Trenton's five hits.

Moline ((33-9) will play Rantoul (31-7) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Wheaton 6, Rantoul 3

Luke Bachar struck out 11 and Wheaton took advantage of 10 walks issued by Rantoul pitchers in winning its opener.

Bachar scattered seven hits and walked two in throwing a complete game.

Brandon Kressner went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and Thomas Colletti went 2-for-4 with four RBIs for Wheaton, which collected nine hits in the game.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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