Big hits, kicks and jumps
Edwardsville senior Matthew Boyer reached back for a little extra when he needed to and the Tigers defense didn’t miss a play Wednesday against the Belleville West Maroons.
Boyer blanked the Maroons on four hits and the Tigers defense turned two double plays as Edwardsville went on for a 4-0 win in the Class 4A Bloomington Sectional semifinal at Blazier Field in O’Fallon.
Edrwardsville (33-5) scored the only run it would need in the third inning when Hayden Moore walked and later scored from second base on a sacrifice fly. The Tigers tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth inning off West ace Joey Kossina.
Boyer set the Maroons down in the seventh to send his team to the sectional title game.
“The ball was hit fairly deep there and Moore was tagging up there anyway. When the ball got loose there on the cutoff throw and the way he was running you might as well take a chance an try and score him. He made a great play there and put us up early in the ballgame,’’ Tigers coiach Tim Funkhouser said. “Matt (Boyer) struggled a little bit there in the fifth inning, but he kicked it in there when he needed too.”
Edwardsville will take on the winner of the Normal West vs. Moline game for the sectional title at Illinois Wesleyan University on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.
Belleville West (27-8) had its chances against Boyer. The Maroons, who split a pair of regular season decisions with Edwardsville, had runners in scoring position in five of the first six innings, but couldn’t break the ice against Boyer.
West had the first scoring chance of the night when Kossina led off the first inning with a double, but didn’t score. An inning later, J.B. Bierman led off with another double and once again Boyer and the Tigers kept the Maroons off the scoreboard.
“We struggled tonight with situational hitting,’’ a dejected West coach Todd Baltz said. “In that situation you have to get the bunt down and move the runner to third where a fly ball or a ground out maybe scores him. We didn’t do that.
“Joey (Kossina) competed like he has all year tonight. That is a good ball club over there.’’
Edwardsville shortstop Josh Ohl flashed the leather several times, twice on key double plays and another when he went deep in the hole to get a key force out.
‘”I can’t say enough good things about him. I’m just glad he is on our team,’’ Funkhouser said. “We’ve had a lot of great infielders go through this program, but I don’t know if we’ve had any steadier infielders than him..’’
Ohl, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, led off the sixth inning with a double and scored seconds later on a double by Max Ringering to give Edwardsville a 2-0 lead. The Tigers added two more runs in the inning and Boyer, who struck out eight and walked one, finished off the shutout in the seventh inning.