STEUBENVILLE - Another quick start led to another big win for Steubenville Catholic Central over Toronto Wednesday.
Four days after scoring six runs in the first three innings on their way to Saturday's 6-2 OVAC Class 2A semifinal win over the Red Knights, the Crusaders scored 6 runs over the opening three frames again before cruising to a 9-3 victory at the Knight Baseball Complex.
"I just think we come focused," said Catholic Central head coach Don Young of his team's fast starts. "Not real happy with the way we played later in the game, I thought we left a lot of runs out there. We have to play that way for seven innings, or however long it takes, as we go along here.
SOLID PERFORMANCE — Steubenville Catholic Central pitcher Nick Ivkovich throws to first for an out as teammate Joe DeFallo and Toronto’s Tyler Owens look on from the background. Ivkovich was the winning pitcehr during the Crusaders’ 9-3 win over the Red Knights at the Knight Baseball Complex.
-- Fred Younce
"We've got to stop playing two or three innings and then stop playing. We come to the park focused, the kids are learning every day like we keep talking about, and we're getting better."
Added Toronto head coach Brian Perkins, "We came out today and we were flat. We'll be back at it tomorrow, and that's going to change real quick."
Nick Ivkovich gave Central a boost on the hill to pick up the win. The sophomore struck out four over 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Aleks Porreca with a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
"We talk about the next guy steps up all the time," said Catholic Central head coach Don Young. "That was quite an effort in the circle for Nick."
Three opening frame runs got the Crusaders off quickly. Brenton Colabella belted a two-out double followed by a Stone Romano base on balls. Porreca plated both with a triple and scored on batter later on a Kyle Laukert base knock.
Three more crossed for Central in the third. Colabella connected for a lead off single followed by Romano drawing another walk. A Porreca single loaded then loaded the bases. Laukert drew a walk that scored Colabella and a Joe DeFallo single sent home Romano and Porreca to make the score 6-0 Crusaders.
Both teams scored three runs the rest of the way with Central getting an RBI single from Colabella in the sixth along with a Josh Merriman RBI double and a Jake Reed RBI single in the seventh.
The Red Knights picked up two runs in the sixth when Tyler Antinone pushed across Brad Melville on a ground out and Billy Solomon drove in John Romey with a single. A Melville sacrifice fly scored Chez Glenn in the bottom of the seventh to create the 9-3 final.
Melville pitched solid for Toronto, entering in the third for starter Nate Stewart and striking out three.
"Brad did a great job of coming in, throwing strikes, and keeping us in the ball game," said Perkins. "He did a good job."
Colabella led the Crusaders' offense with a double, three singles, and an RBI. Porreca added a single to go with his two-run triple.
Despite the nine-run output Young felt like his offense could do more.
"We feel that we can score runs," he said. "I know we scored nine, but we're not real happy with our offense the last half of the game."
Solomon had a second single to go with his RBI base hit and Blaze Glenn had a pair of singles as well for the Red Knights.
Both teams take to the field today with the Crusaders hosting city-rival Steubenville Big Red at Vaccaro and Toronto welcoming Bridgeport to the Knight Baseball Complex.
Steubenville Central 9, Toronto 3
Steubenville Central 303 001 2 - 9 13 1
Toronto 000 002 1 - 3 6 1
STEUBENVILLE CENTRAL: Ivkovich (WP, 4K, 4BB), Porreca (6th, 1K, 0BB) and Merriman. T. Barber S, R; DiCarlantonio S; Colabella D, 3S, RBI, R; Romano 2R; Porreca T, S, 2RBI, 2R; Laukert S, 2RBI, R; DeFallo 2S, 2RBI; Merriman D, RBI, R; Reed S, RBI.
TORONTO: Stewart (LP, 1K, 3BB), Melville (3rd, 3K, 2BB) and Solomon. B. Glenn 2S; C. Glenn R; Owens S; Melville S, RBI, R; Antinone RBI; Romey R; Solomon 2S, RBI.