TORONTO - Steubenville Post 33 pitcher Jimmy Panella and Toronto Post 86 pitcher Seth Cox both had strong performances on the hill Tuesday at the Knight Baseball Complex.
Panella's was just a touch better as the Post 33 hurler surrendered just one first-inning run en route to a 3-1 Steubenville win.
"Jimmy pitched well," said Post 33 head coach Mark Stacy. "He had an RBI and Alex Young had an RBI and that's all Jimmy needed tonight. We made the plays behind him."
AT THE PLATE — Steubenville’s Bryan Pierro collides with Toronto catcher Ralph King as he scores his second run of the game during Post 33’s 3-1 win over Post 86 Tuesday at the Knight Baseball Complex.
-- Fred Younce
Scattering four hits over seven innings, Panella struck out five and walked three while keeping Post 86 batters guessing for a majority of the evening.
"Jimmy pitched a good game," said Post 86 head coach Steve Sninchak. "He kept us off balance. He got out of the innings."
Only two of the three runs scored against Cox were earned. He struck out eight and walked five while going the distance.
"I think Cox pitched really well after a slow start too," said Stacy. "When he gets it going he's hard to hit."
Steubenville manufactured its first run in the top of the opening frame. Bryan Pierro drew a leadoff walk and stole second and third. Two batters later, Alex Young pushed him home on a groundout to second for a 1-0 lead.
"Bryan Pierro got on base a few times tonight and gave us a spark," said Stacy. "Bryan Pierro is like our slash guy.
"He plays where he's needed and he's played well wherever we've put him. He's sparked us tonight both defensively and offensively."
In the bottom of the first Toronto struck right back. Just like Pierro in the top of the frame, Post 86 leadoff man John Romey drew a walk. Seth Cox earned a free pass and Tyler Owens singled to load the bases. Romey ended up scoring from third on a passed ball to tie the game at 1-all.
With two outs in the top of the second frame with Kyle Laukert on third, and Pierro on second, Panella helped his cause with a single that drove in Laukert. Pierro rounded third on the hit and appeared to be in danger of being thrown out at home, but catcher Ralph King was unable to reel in the errant throw and Pierro scored after a collision at the plate to make the score 3-1 Steubenville.
"We've been harping on playing fundamental baseball," said Sninchak. "There's an inning or two where we don't and it comes back to get us every time."
Panella got a little help from third baseman Steve Mihalyo in the bottom of the sixth. After Cox drilled a one-out double, Tyler Owens hit a hard ground ball that looked destined to find the hole between third and short. Mihalyo made a spectacular diving stop and then was heads up enough to reach up and tag Cox out as he tried to jump over him on his way to third.
Panella closed out the inning on the next batter and was never threatened in the seventh to complete the win.
"We're just happy to win the game," said Stacy.
Post 33 travels to Richmond today while Toronto hosts Cadiz.
Steubenville 3, Toronto 1
Post 33 120 000 0 - 3 6 0
Post 86 100 000 0 - 1 4 2
POST 33: Panella (WP, 5K, 3BB) and Laukert. B. Pierro s, 2r; Young rbi; Panella s, rbi; Pizzoferrato s; Porreca d; Mihalyo 2s; Laukert r.
POST 86: Cox (LP, 8K, 5BB) and King. Romey s, r; Cox d; Owens 2s.