STEUBENVILLE - Post 33 tuned up for its weekend trip to Chillicothe by blasting St.Clairsville Post 159 11-1 Wednesday at Vaccaro Field.
Mark Stacy's club pounded out eight hits and took full advantage of Post 159's control problems (St. Clairsville pitchers walked seven and hit six) in recording the five-inning victory and improving to 11-7.
"I'm pleased with the way we hit the ball tonight," Stacy said. "I'm particularly happy with the fact we were able to get some timely two-out hits."
Post 33 plated a pair in the home half of the first thanks to Justin Corsi's two-out double down the line in right. His shot scored John Linn, who reached via a free pass and Anthony Zorne, who was clipped by a pitch.
Five Steubenville players crossed the plate in the second. Zorne drove home two with a single, Linn got an RBI with a base hit and Branden Jones laced a run-scoring triple to right. Bryan Pierro added a double in the four-hit frame.
Kai McClurg's single in the third scored Chris Murphy, who was hit by pitches on all three of his trips to the dish.
Post 33 11, Post 159 1
Post 159 010 00 - 1 3 0
Post 33 251 03 - 11 8 2
Post 159 (10-6): Goletz (LP, 2BB, 3HBP) Banal (2, 4BB, 1K, 3 HBP) Charlton (5, 1BB) and Curtin. Banal S; Curtin S; Charlton S; Steele RBI.
Post 33 (11-7): Runkel (WP, 2BB, 1K) N. Zorne (3, 0BB, 0K) and McClurg. B. Pierro D; G. Pierro S, RBI; Linn S, RBI; Pizzoferrato S, 2RBI; A. Zorne S, 2RBI; Corsi D, 2RBI; Jones T, RBI; McClurg S, RBI.
After being held scoreless in the fourth, Post 33 put the victory on ice in the fifth.
Gino Pierro lined a single to right, scoring Murphy. Pat Pizzoferrato finished things with his two-run single to left.
"We struggled with our control on the mound," said Post 159 coach Chops Jacob. "When you come to Steubenville, you know you're going to be tested. They draw from three or four solid programs. Their guys are well-coached and they hit the ball well. Tonight, even their outs were hard hits."
Big Red junior-to-be Paul Runkel worked the first two frames for Post 33 and earned the pitching win. He walked two, whiffed one and didn't allow a hit. Tyler Ramsey scored St. Clairsville's lone run in the second, racing home on Nathan Steele's ground ball to third.
Nick Zorne took over in the third. The young lefty was nicked for three hits and didn't issue a free pass.
"Paul worked out of some trouble during his time on the mound and Nicky pitched really well," Stacy noted. "Our goal coming in was to split pitching time between Paul, Nick and Ryan Bernard because they're all going to see time for us in Chillicothe. With the game ending early, Ryan did his work in the bullpen."
Both Post 33 hurlers received strong support from the defense. St.Clairsville has the bases loaded in the second when Malik Gummer sent a sinking liner into shallow center. Jones made an outstanding sliding catch to end the threat.
Dillon Curtin started the Post 159 fourth with a single. He was erased Steubenville turned a 5-4-3 double play. Murphy fielded Parker Dyson's grounder and fired a strike to Linn at second. Linn completed the twin killing with a strong throw to A. Zorne at first.
Cody Goletz got the pitching start for St.Clairsville and suffered the loss. Eric Banal came on in the second and Colt Charlton in the fifth.
"We just didn't pitch well tonight, but credit their pitching, their guys did a nice job," Jacob commented.
Post 159, which features players from St. Clairsville, Martins Ferry, Bellaire, Bridgeport and Buckeye Local, is now 10-6 and will host Richmond today.
Steubenville will open play in the third annual Jim Jadwin Memorial Tournament Friday at noon against Piqua Post 184. Game 2 is set for 6 p.m. against Ida Post 514.
On Saturday, Post 33 is scheduled to play Ottawa Post 63 at noon and host Post 757 at 6 p.m. The semifinals and finals will be contested Sunday.
"It's a great tournament," Stacy pointed out. "They place teams in two brackets with the top teams advancing to Sunday. We've been in the finals the last couple of years. We're in for another test, there are going to be some good teams there."