Edwardsville forces Ohio team into second game at the Great Lakes Regional championship

News-DemocratAugust 12, 2013 

Edwardsville pushed Napoleon, Ohio to the limit Monday in the championship round of the American Legion Great Lakes Regional, but fell just short of another trip to the Legion World Series.

Edwardsville erupted for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday to wipe out a 6-3 deficit and defeat Napoleon, Ohio 7-6 in the first game at Bob Warn Field on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.

That was the first regional loss for Napoleon (46-19), which beat Edwardsville Post 199 10-4 on Saturday.

The teams were locked in a tight second game Monday, but Napoleon scored twice in the bottom of the seventh and advanced to the Legion World Series with a 3-1 regional championship victory.

Edwardsville's only two playoff losses were to Napoleon as Post 199 went 16-2 in the postseason.

"We definitely thought we were going to get it done because we had the momentum," said Edwardsville's Jevon Boyd, referring to the momentum built from the late-game comeback in Game 1. "They were down because they blew a lead and they weren't as noisy like they were in the first game on the bench.

"It's really tough that we lost, we thought we had that game. We were the second team to go to regionals in Edwardsville's history and we can't hang out heads about that. We had a good season Everybody should be happy about what they did this year."

Edwardsville Post 199, which finished 37-8, won the national championship in 1998.

Edwardsville got off to a good start in Game 2 when Matt Huelsmann singled leading off the second inning of the second game and scored from third on a wild pitch. Napoleon tied it in the fourth on an RBI single by Dom Gentile.

Napoleon's winning rally began with a two-out double by Reid Renollet, followed by an RBI single by Dylan Henricks. Henricks advanced to third and scored on an error to make it 3-1.

Edwardsville starter Cole Hagen allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out two. Napoleon pitchers Austin Hancock and Zach Willeman combined to allow five hits and one run while striking out nine.

In the first game Monday, Edwardsville scored the winning run when Napoleon reliever Tyler Batt hit Edwardsville's Devin Breihan with a pitch while the bases were loaded with one out in the eighth inning.

Western Illinois University recruit Jordan Heckler added a two-run single in the inning for Edwardsville and Huelsmann had an RBI single.

Huelsmann began the day hitting .500 (7-for-14) with four RBIs at the regional. Boyd was hitting .471 (8-for-17) at the tourney before going 3-for-3 with an RBI while Chase McPeak was 3-for-5.

Boyd started and didn't allow a hit through four innings as Post 199 staked him to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and third innings.

That's the way it stayed until the fifth when Napoleon pushed across three runs on run-scoring singles by Renollet, Tyler Torrez and Austin Hancock.

Napoleon scored three more times in the top of the seventh to take a 6-3 lead. Edwardsville got a run back in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Huelsmann.

That set the stage for an exciting comeback in the eighth by Edwardsville and reliever Zack Sparks threw 2 1/3 innings to pick up the victory. Sparks allowed one hit and no runs, striking out one.

"We had a great run," Boyd said. "Our pitchers and our hitters and defense were there the whole year. There's guys here who I've been playing with for like eight years; we were very tight."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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