Pierro on the mound in Ohio victory
By MATTHEW PEASLEE
GOOD EFFORT — Brooke’s Heath Hildreth dives for a ball in foul territory while Bruins teammate Russell Schwertfeger looks on during the annual OVAC?All-Star game at Vaccaro Field Monday.
STEUBENVILLE - With a huge smile on his face and a large field of grass in front of him, Steubenville's Bryan Pierro sprinted straight to the pitcher's mound like Jared Hughes of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The recently-graduated Big Red baseball player recorded one out then celebrated like Seattle Mariners' closer Fernando Rodney.
"I pulled out the bow-and-arrow and chucked it up there," Pierro said after he got Magnolia's Jake Starkey to ground out in the eighth inning of the OVAC All-Star Baseball Game on Monday at Vaccaro Field.
It wasn't a total big league effort, though.
Pierro blazed a fastball past Starkey for a first-pitch strike. Then, he issued two wild pitches allowing University's Travis Renner, who reached on a single, to advance to third base.
"I wasn't worried about it," Pierro said. "I was just out there throwing. I knew I had my boy from River (catcher Eric Dierkes) behind me blocking it up."
On the next pitch, Starkey hit a ground ball to shortstop Brenton Colabella for a routine out.
Shenendoah's Ryan Lovette sent West Virginia down in order in the ninth inning as Ohio took a 7-4 victory.
Lovette was the Zeps' pitching ace all season.
Pierro hasn't had a long pitching performance in six years.
"It's been a while," Pierro said. "I throw every now and then in Legion, but that was the longest since I pitched as a 12-year old in Little League."
Catholic Central head coach Don Young, an assistant on the OVAC team and former leader of the Post 33 Legion team, gave the nod for Pierro to pitch on Monday.
"He was always on me saying, 'Coach, coach. I'm ready, I'm ready,'" Young said. "We told him to actually be ready tonight.
"We didn't have a whole lot of pitchers available because we had a lot of guys pitching for Legion and they were going to be throwing a lot in the next day or two. We didn't have too many fresh arms."
Normally Big Red's shortstop, Pierro helped guide the high school team to its first regional tournament appearance since 2011. Next year, he will play baseball at Otterbein University.
On Monday, he drew a walk and singled - on top of a rare, but successful outing on the mound.
"It was fun," Pierro said. "It was good to come out here and get a win and play with the best players in the Ohio Valley. It was a great experience."
Ohio scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Buckeye Local's Chase Hopkins drew a walk before Colabella started a rally. He singled and scored on a throwing error.
"I saw a curveball that hung," Colabella said of his hit off Valley's Brandon Stoneking. "It was a good place to drive it and I took it to right field."
Robert Vargo of Martins' Ferry drove in Hopkins on a single to left field. Edison's Nolan Marcus was hit by a pitch in the first. He scored on a fielder's choice grounder to the shortstop, hit by Bellaire's Nic Patrone.
Toronto's Jarin McIntosh plated a run on a single in the fourth inning. Marcus scored again in the fifth on a Patrone RBI single.
Ohio scored two more in the seventh when Conotton Valley's Ryan Johnson brought home Dierkes and Meadowbrook's Cameron Summers.
"This was a good time to come out and play with a group of great guys," Colabella said. "It feels good to win something for Ohio and have some fun."
McIntosh pitched the third inning, starting with a walk to Madonna's Will Bowser. He then retired the next three batters on a total of 13 pitches. Big Red's Justin Corsi sent the West Virginia batters down in order in the fourth inning. Jonathon Borkoski of Buckeye Local allowed a pair of runs in the fifth. He was facing Bishop Donahue's Hunter Kashke with a full-count and two outs as the Bishops slugger drilled a hit to center field, scoring two.
Marcus struck out two batters in a sixth inning appearance. West Virginia scored two more runs in the eighth inning.
"This was a good way for them to end the season and their high school careers," Young said.
Toronto sophomore Blaze Glenn was named the OVAC 2A Player of the Year.
"I had no clue I was going to get it," Glenn said. "It's a nice honor. It's an individual honor, but I couldn't have got it without my teammates or coaches. The seniors really pushed us hard at every game and every practice."
Red Knights seniors include Billy Solomon, Tyler Antinone, Jarin McIntosh, Sam Pinkerton, Ryan Clink, Logan Allen and Glenn's older brother, Chez.
"It was a lot of fun to have the chance to play with him in football and baseball," Blaze said. "I'm going to miss him the next two years."
Chez is still undecided of his college plans, as is Blaze. However, he has received contact from Marshall University to potentially play baseball for the Thundering Herd.
"I'm just working as hard as I can every single day," Blaze said. "I'm staying at it and trying my hardest."
Wheeling Park head coach Mike McLeod was named the OVAC coach of the year. His Patriots advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 1989 with a 9-6 win over Morgantown in the Class AAA Region I championship last Saturday. On Friday, they will play Riverside at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington was recognized for his 500th career victory, recorded this season with a 5-4 win over Catholic Central on May 1.
Toronto's Brian Perkins was honored for his 200th career victory and Mike Collopy of Edison was applauded for his 100th career victory.
St. Clairsville's Tom Sliva earned his 300th career victory this past season. All four coaches received commemorative plaques during Monday's all-star game.