Illinois state champion Edwardsville Post 199's red-hot bats showed no signs of cooling down Thursday during its American Legion Great Lakes Regional opener.
Edwardsville blasted Wisconsin state champ Ash Port from Green Bay 19-3 in seven innings, churning out 18 hits as it continued the trend of putting up big offensive numbers it started at the Illinois state tourney in Trenton.
Edwardsville outscored the opposition 27-1 while winning four straight at the Illinois state tournament. That number has grown to 46-4 in the last five games and St. Louis University recruit Drew Curtis did what he could to add to the total.
The Edwardsville slugger had two homers among four hits in his five at-bats, driving in four runs. Western Illinois University recruit Jordan Heckler had three hits, two triples and four RBIs and starting pitcher Jevon Boyd tossed five scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out four.
Matt Huelsmann was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Boyd (9-1), a sophomore at Kaskaskia College, has allowed only one run in the postseason and that was unearned.
"The big thing was we wanted to come out and make sure that we weren't sent down to the losers' bracket," Curtis said. "That's a big deal when you're playing these double-elimination tournaments. We came out focused and pretty loose and it translated."
Edwardsville (34-6) now plays at 7 p.m. Friday against Midland Berryhill, Mich., or host Terre Haute, Ind.
Curtis, who hit a ball into the upper deck at Busch Stadium during the PNC Bank High School All-Star Showcase Home Run Derby, blasted homers to left and left-center Thursday at Indiana State University's home field.
Curtis finished second in the St. Louis region in home runs this spring, belting 10 for the Edwardsville Tigers while finishing third with 46 RBIs.
He's hitting well over .400 this summer with 36 RBIs. The 6-foot-5 Curtis also was a standout golfer and basketball player for Edwardsville.
"I think a lot of it was just maturation with having pretty good size," Curtis said. "I've always been taller but not really the thickest of the bunch, so I worked on getting my bat speed up and using my legs."
Edwardsville already led 6-0 when a six-run fourth inning gave Boyd an even bigger cushion to rely on.
Boyd had an RBI single to center in the first and Devin Breihan followed with an RBI double to make it 2-0.
Heckler drove in Alec Pizzini with a triple in the second and Edwardsville kept piling on with three more runs in the third.
A Curtis single and a double by Boyd was followed by Matt Huelsmann's two-run single to center. Zack Sparks added an RBI single to send Boyd back to the mound with a 6-0 lead.
Some of the big hits in the fourth were a two-run double by Pizzini and a two-run triple by Heckler.
Edwardsville scored at least one run in all seven innings, including two in the first, three in the third, six in the fourth and three each in the sixth and seventh. Eight different Edwardsville players had at least one hit and six had two or more.
"We've got a good group of guys and some good coaches," Curtis said. "We really benefit from each other without a doubt. Everyone knows when to get serious and when you can mess around a little bit."