STEUBENVILLE - The start was sluggish, the finish wasn't and Big Red's softball team stayed unbeaten Wednesday.
Down 4-1 after three, Steubenville erupted for 13 runs to earn a 14-4, six-inning victory over Weir High at Belleview Park.
"We have to start faster, we're starting too slow and we do it every game," said coach Gus DiMarzio of his now 7-0 Big Red. "I'm racking my brain thinking it's my fault that we start slow. I'm not sure what I can do get us going sooner.
PITCH — Weir’s Abby Pratt winds up for a pitch in the second inning against Big Red on Wednesday. Steubenville beat the Red Riders, 14-4, at Belleview Park.
-- Matthew Peaslee
"Then we exploded in the fifth, which is a good thing, but you never want to start slow."
Big Red started its comeback in the fourth, plating a pair of runs. Sierra Fields and Brittany Bodo both reached via bunt singles before scoring via Haley Stamps' sacrifice fly to center and Abby Taylor's base knock. Steubenville then erupted for seven in the fifth, sending 11 hitters to the plate. Fields sparked the rally with a bases loaded single to left which scored three. Rhiannon Petrisko drove home a pair with her base hit and Taylor recorded her second RBI in as many innings.
DiMarzio's club added four in the sixth, Fields ripping a run-scoring triple and Petrisko driving in the game-winning tallies with a double.
Fields paced Big Red's 14-hit attack with her three-bagger, two singles and four RBI.
"She had been slumping a little but it seems like she has now found her groove," DiMarzio said of Fields. "That's a good thing because when you are putting a lineup together, you want everyone to hit. She has really come on lately and I hope she stays hot."
Taylor had three singles and two RBIs while Petrisko recorded four RBIs with her two hits. The Barker sisters (senior Mytia and sophomore Tenia) both collected two singles. They accounted for Big Red's first run, Mytia's single scoring Tenia, who beat out a bunt to start the home half of the first.
Weir, now 2-5, jumped on Big Red starter Hannah Westlake for three runs in the opening inning. Ashlynn Drizake's single plated Bri Rosnick with the first tally and Sam Tate's grounder to short scored Morgan Rice. Drizake came home on Jillian Karavanic's single.
After the initial frame, Westlake settled in, allowing just two hits (doubles by Drizake and Mariah Stevens) and one run during the next five innings. Big Red's defense delivered a 5-3-2 double play to thwart a Weir rally in the third.
"That's a tribute to her," DiMarzio noted when discussing Westlake's performance in the circle. "I kind of got on her a little and she responded.
"Any time you have a catcher like Mytia, it makes it easy for a pitcher to settle down because she controls the game really well. She manages our pitchers and just does a great job behind the plate. She is a good player and I wouldn't trade her for anything."
Abby Pratt suffered the pitching loss.
"The fifth inning was the whole game," Weir's Dave Hinerman pointed out. "Steubenville is a good team and is very well coached. They wait for you to make the mistake and we made the mistakes (the Riders were guilty of four fielding miscues during Big Red's scoring parade). You're not going to beat anyone like that.
"We have young people in areas where we have no choice. I don't mean young as in age but more in playing time. We're just going to go back and get ready for East Liverpool. Big Red has some very good players."
Weir is scheduled to visit East Liverpool today.
"Any time you start unbeaten, you have to be happy," DiMarzio commented. "But, I'm not happy with the way we play in spurts. As a coach, you just don't want that to happen. To our credit, we have found a way to break out. I can't complain because you're always happy to win, but, at the same time, you can always find a flaw."
Big Red faces a stern test today when it hosts Bellaire St. John at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Big Red 14, Weir High 4
Weir High 3 0 1 0 0 0-4 4 4
Big Red 1 0 0 2 7 4-14 14 3
WEIR: Pratt (LP, 2BB, 2K) Stevens (5, 3BB, 1K, 1 HBP) and Tate; Drizake D, S, RBI; Karavanic S, RBI; Stevens D.
BIG RED: Westlake (WP, 3BB, 3K) and M. Barker; T. Barker 2S; Petrisko D, S, 4RBI; M. Barker 2S, RBI; Banks S; Fields T, 2S, 4 RBI; Bodo S; Taylor 3S, 2 RBI.