TORONTO - Post 33 rode a wave of walks, hit batsmen and fielding miscues to a 7-4 eight-inning victory over Post 86 Thursday at the Knight Baseball Complex.
Steubenville could muster just five hits (all by the Pierro brothers) off three Toronto pitchers and was credited with a single RBI in improving to 15-9. The hosts fall to 8-11.
"It was a close one," said Post 33's Fred Heatherington. "We go up 3-0 and let them back in the game. They had one good inning and we also had one.
"We battled at the plate. We didn't do a good job of putting the ball in play but we were able to get the runs across in the eighth."
Post 33 scored three in the third without the benefit of a hit. The tallies came thanks to five walks, two Toronto errors and a pass ball.
Gino Pierro, who got the start at short, drew a lead-off walk. His brother Bryan also worked Post 34 starter Jarin McIntosh for a free pass. Gino scampered home when Niko Petrides reached via an error. Bryan touched the dish thanks to a throwing error. The third run came on a pass ball, Anthony Zorne scoring.
Post 33 7, Post 86 4
Post 33 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 3-7 5 2
Post 86 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 0-4 7 3
Post 33 (15-9): Ferguson (WP, 2BB, 5K, 2HBP) and Kai McClurg. B. Pierro D, 2S; G. Pierro 2S; Pizzoferrato RBI.
Post 86 (8-11): McIntosh (5BB, 2K, 1HBP) Miller (3, 4BB, 1K) Crawford (LP, 1BB, 3K, 3HBP) and Jess McClurg. Krager D, S, 2RBI; C. Glenn S; Lane S; B. Glenn S, RBI; J. McClurg S; Zdinak S, RBI.
Post 86 tied the score in the fourth. Tyler Owens reached thanks to a Steubenville error. He swiped second before Jess McClurg drew a two-out walk. Anthony Krager then blasted a double to deep center, plating a pair. Dan Zdinak's single scored Krager.
The 3-3 score stood until the seventh. B. Pierro got Post 33's offense with a lead-off hustle double to left-center. After Chris Murphy was retired, Petrides and Zorne walked to load the bases. B. Pierro raced home on a pass ball to put Steubenville ahead.
Toronto responded again in its half of the frame. Two out singles by Jay Lane and Blaze Glenn (he got the RBI) helped Zdinak score and force an extra frame.
The Pierro boys sparked what proved to be Steubenville's game-winning rally. Gino ined a one-out single past Toronto's second baseman. Bryan followed with an infield single. Murphy was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Both Pierros scored when Petrides reached again thanks to an error. Zorne got clipped by a pitch to re-load the sacks. Pat Pizzoferrato drew a walk to force home the seventh tally and earn Post 33's only RBI.
"Errors, walks and hit batsmen killed us today," said Toronto manager Steve Sninchak. "Our defense just let us down."
Devin Ferguson went the route to earn the pitching win. The Big Red junior-to-be scattered seven hits and fanned five.
"Devin hung in there for us today," Heatherington noted. "He worked his way out of some big situations. And, defensively we played well."
Toronto's third inning rally ended when Post 33 Kai McClurg gunned down Zdinak who was trying to steal third (Pizzoferrato applying the tag). Chez Glenn started Post 86's fifth with a single. He was erased on a "strike out, throw out" play. This time, K. McClurg fired a strike to second baseman Murphy.
"We left the bases loaded three times (the third, seventh and eighth) and we had runners on first and second a couple of times and couldn't score," Heatherington pointed out. "Those runs will come, hopefully later in the year."
B. Pierro, who started in leftfield and recorded seven putouts, had three hits for the winners and scored three times. G. Pierro added a pair of hits and runs.
"They were the catalysts for the team today," Heatherington said. "They got us going a little and woke everybody up."
McIntosh gave way to Andy Miller in the third for Post 86. Aaron Crawford took over in the seventh was tagged with the loss. Toronto's pitchers issued 10 walk and clipped four batters.
Krager finished with two hits to pace Post 86, which visits Weirton today and St. Clairsville for a Saturday double-header.
"We've had real good approaches at the plate in our last seven to eight games," Sninchak pointed out. "We're definitely hitting the ball well."
Post 33 will be on the road again this weekend. Twinbills are set for Saturday at Beverly-Lowell and Sunday at Lancaster.