STEUBENVILLE-Steubenville recorded a sweep Wednesday at Vacarro Field.
Fred Heatherington's club collected 17 hits to defeat Buckeye Local 14-7, completing a game that was halted by rain back on April 16. In the regularly-scheduled contest, freshman Anthony Zorne, thanks to some strong support by his defense, went the distance as Big Red clipped the Panthers 7-2.
With the victories, Big Red, which hosts St. Clairsville today, improves to 15-8. Rick DeLuca's squad now stands at 10-13 and visits Shadyside this afternoon.
BUCKEYE LOCAL’S Greg Banal rounds third and heads for home en route to scoring a run for the Panthers during Wednesday’s game against Steubenville at Vacarro Field. The Panthers lost, 7-2.
"We had two good games today," Heatherington said. "Zorne threw well in the second and our defense played well. Hopefully that's a sign of something good to come.
"We didn't hit the ball well in the second game (the Panthers out-hit Big Red 9-6) but we were able to get some key hits and have a big inning."
Justin Corsi earned the pitching win in the 14-7 Red triumph. Bryan Pierro paced the offense with four hits, Evan Westlake had three as did Cody Saltsman (he finished with a triple, two singles and three RBI). John Linn, Matt Petrella and Pat Pizzoferrato added two safeties each to the 17-hit attack.
Chase Hopkins recorded two singles and double to pace Buckeye. Eric Banal and Brian Zeroski chipped in with a pair of hits.
Zorne displayed good control in the 7-2 victory. He mowed down eight Panthers via strikes and issued four walks, all coming in the seventh inning. Buckeye did manage nine hits off the lefty.
"He didn't have command of all three pitches today but he had enough command to get by," Heatherington noted.
His defense came up big several times to bail out the freshman. In the Buckeye third, catcher Kai McClurg fired a strike to third to pick off a Panther runner and end a scoring threat. Mason Heatherington, Big Red's right fielder, robbed Shane Duncan of a base hit with a nifty sliding catch in the fifth.
Later in the frame, Austin Marshall ripped a double to left but was cut down at third thanks to the hustle of Pizzoferrato in the outfield and strike on the relay by shortstop Pierro.
Johnathan Borkoski started the Panther sixth with a double (the hit was his third of the game). Two batters later, he was caught in a run-down between third and second after Big Red's Lucas Herrington knocked down a hard liner off the bat of Zeroski.
Big Red grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when Pierro drew a lead-off walk off Buckeye starter and loser Hopkins. He swiped second, moved to third on Linn's ground-out and scored on Petrella's bouncer to short.
Pierro would drive home a run in the third with a single and Pizzoferrato's plated the third tally after his double down the left field line.
The hosts put the game away with a four-run fifth. Linn's bases-loaded triple to the warning track in right was the key blow of the rally.
Eric Williams had a RBI single for the Panthers in the fourth.
The second Buckeye run came via the four seventh inning walks.
Buckeye out-hit Big Red 9-6 but stranded nine runners.
"We had our chances," DeLuca stated. "In two of the games we've played them, we out-hit them (the Panthers had 12 safeties compared to nine for Big Red in the OVAC semifinals). We had guys on but poor base running took us out of some innings.
"It's just one of those things. I told our kids the one thing we don't have is the killer instinct. We have a few players that have it but we don't have it as a team. Other teams we are playing have it. You have to have it and we don't."
Dominic Rose and Marshall added two singles for Buckeye.
"We came in very flat," DeLuca continued. "You can't play Big Red and be flat. We have a good team, a lot better than our record indicates. Right now, we are just flat."
Both teams also have games scheduled for Friday (Big Red will visit Edison and Buckeye hosts Indian Creek) before beginning Division II sectional play Saturday at Vacarro. Big Red will test Meadowbrook at 11 a.m. while the Panthers will tangle with East Liverpool at 4 p.m.
Big Red 14 Buckeye Local 7
Big Red 6 2 1 2 1 2 0-14 17 3
Buckeye 3 1 0 3 0 0 0-7 13 5
Batteries: Corsi and McClurg. Hopkins, Ostesich (2) and Sokolowski.
Big Red 7, Buckeye Local 2
Buckeye 0 0 0 1 0 0 1-2 9 1
Big Red 1 0 1 1 4 0 x-7 6 1
Batteries: Hopkins, Ostijich (6) and Sokolowski. Zorne and McClurg.