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All-Metro baseball pitcher of the year: Boyer was the ace who dealt up a state title for Edwardsville

All-Metro baseball pitcher of the year: Boyer was the ace who dealt up a state title for Edwardsville

From the 2019 All-Metro baseball series

EDWARDSVILLE — Edwardsville High senior right-hander Matthew Boyer never let his emotions overtake him. 

He always was calm, cool and collected on the mound.

But Boyer did show a little excitement before the first pitch of every game with a slow rock back and forth to begin the proceedings.

That drive and intensity helped Boyer — the Post-Dispatch All-Metro baseball team pitcher of the year — guide the Tigers to their third state championship, but first since 1998.

"It was super exciting," Boyer said. "I felt that we kind of knew going into this year that we had a good chance because we had a really solid team. It was just really exciting to come through and win it all."

Boyer led the area with 96 strikeouts. He finished in the top three in innings pitched (69 1/3) and wins (10). Boyer also posted a 2-0 record in the postseason in four starts.

His stacked pitching arsenal, including a fastball that has been clocked at 91 mph, was the key to his success. He didn't give up an extra-base hit all year.

"I think he just displayed that consistency every day," Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said. "He could throw all of his pitches for strikes. He had a good fastball which he's able to locate. He's got an exceptional curveball and is able to throw that where he wants. He also had a changeup he mixed in."

The lone blemish on his 10-1 record was a 1-0 loss to Belleville West on May 1. West pitcher Joey Kossina threw a no-hitter in that contest.

"We couldn't do anything against their pitcher," Funkhouser said. "If we take care of business on the offensive side, he'd have gone up to Joliet with an 11-0 record."

On the biggest stage, Funkhouser turned to his ace, and Boyer didn't disappoint.

The St. Louis University signee tossed six innings against St. Charles North in the state championship game, striking out nine, giving up two runs on four hits. 

"Seeing him there in the state championship game and do what he did, that's remarkable," Funkhouser said. "It was a testament to his daily work."

While Boyer said he would have loved closing out the state championship game, he had no hesitation in handing the ball over to his teammates.

"I knew I was getting a little wild and I wouldn't say a little nervous, but I knew (reliever Collin) Salter had it in him and I knew he was the right guy to come in after me," Boyer said. 

All year, Boyer and the Tigers used that deep pitching staff of Dawson Taylor, Grant Schaefer, Gavin Huebner, Will Range and Salter to push each other.

"We had a really deep roster with a deep pitching staff," Funkhouser said. "The guys, when they were called upon, they took it as a great honor and they wanted to show the rest of the staff. I never felt a realm of selfishness there. All our guys would have wanted to impact the postseason."

Funkhouser said he will miss Boyer's leadership on and off the field.

"He's just brought a great attitude who wanted to do well each day," Funkhouser said. "He was a pretty quiet guy, that didn't expect anything beyond what he got or was quick to deflect credit towards others. We'll miss him."




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