- The Tusky County Panthers brought their hitting shoes to town Wednesday.
The Panthers, who represent American Legion Post 205, pounded out 12 hits (four of the extra base variety) in cruising to a 16-2 five-inning triumph over Post 33 at Vaccaro Field.
Tusky, now 23-11 and the second seed for next week's Region 7 tournament, plated two runs in the first before exploding for seven in the second and sixth in the third.
MEETING — Post 33 assistant coach Paul Koniski talks with, from left, Devin Ferguson, Bryan Pierro, Gino Pierro, Chris Murphy and Anthony Zorne during the second inning of a 16-2 loss to the Tusky County Panthers Wednesday at Vaccaro Field.
Coby Eckstein paced the Tusky plate attack with a two-run homer in the second (his shot easily cleared the fence in left) and a single. Clay Honigford connected for a run-scoring triple and Nick Froman drove home three with his two base knocks. Hunter Striker collected two RBI with his double and single. Ethan Slentz also had a double.
The winners sent 10 batters to the plate in both of their big innings. All told they had 23 players reach base (12 hits, seven walks, two hit batsmen and a pair courtesy of Post 33 fielding miscues).
"The good thing about baseball is we have another game tomorrow," said Post 33 coach Mark Stacy. "Hopefully we can forget about this one in the next 15 minutes.
Post 205 16, Post 33 2
Post 205 276 01 - 16 12 1
Post 33 000 02 - 2 5 5
POST 205 (23-11): Mills (WP, 3BB, 4K) and Honigford, Slentz (4); Froman 2S, 3RBI; Incarnato RBI; Byers S, RBI; Foster S, RBI; Honigford T, RBI; McGuire RBI; Eckstein HR, S, 2RBI; Striker D, S, 2RBI; Mills 2S, RBI; Slentz D.
POST 33 (19-13): Murphy (LP, 4BB, 0K) Bolyog (2, 0BB,0K, 1HBP) Jones (4, 3BB, 2K, 1HBP) and Ferguson. Linn D; B. Pierro S; Pizzoferrato S, D, RBI; Jones S.
"Tusky County is a good team that swings the bat very well. We split with them earlier in the year in two high-scoring games. Tonight, they pitched well and hit well. We, on the other hand, were awful. But that happens and we just have to keep plugging."
Post 33, now 19-13, is scheduled to visit Wheeling Post 1 today.
Chris Murphy started on the hill for Steubenville and took the loss. Jimmy Bolyog relieved Murphy in the second with Branden Jones hitting the rubber in the fourth.
Shawn Mills went the distance for Tusky, allowing five hits and fanning four. He held Post 33 hitless until John Linn belted a two-out double to right-center in the third.
Both Post 33 tallies came in the fifth. Jones started the frame with a single and moved to third thanks to Bryan Pierro's base knock. Jones crossed the dish on a pass ball. Bryan Pierro scored on Pat Pizzoferrato's two-bagger up the alley in right-center. Pizzoferrato also had a fourth inning single for Steubenville, the No. 3 seed in the Region 7 event.
After facing Wheeling today, Post 33 will close the regular season with weekend doubleheaders against Weirton. The two squad will play at Vacarro on Saturday before traveling to Bowman Field on Sunday.
The 10-team Ohio American Legion Region 7 tournament is set to begin Tuesday at two sites in Coshocton.
Wayne County earned the top seed for the event with Tusky County drawing the second spot. Post 33, which won the event formally known as the District10 tournament in 2013, is seeded third and Kingsville from Ashtabula County fourth.
Action begins Tuesday with Richmond facing Massillon at 4 p.m. That game is scheduled for Lake Park. Cadiz and Conneaut, another Ashtabula County squad, will square off at 7 p.m. also at Lake Park.
Kingsville and Coshocton will meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday on the City Rec Park diamond. Post 33 will tangle with the Cadiz-Conneaut survivor at 5 p.m. on the City Rec diamond.
Toronto Post 86 drew Tusky County in the opening round. That game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday at Lake Park. Wayne County will test the Richmond-Massillon winner at 7 p.m. also at Lake Park.
Loser's bracket games will be played on July 17.
The Region 7 champion advances to the state tournament in Lancaster.