STEUBENVILLE - Big Red plated runs in bunches early Tuesday then hung on for a 14-8 victory over previously undefeated Edison at Vacarro Field.
Fred Heatherington's club, which suffered a tough defeat at Wheeling Park Monday, did all its offensive damage during the first four frames. Big Red (11-4) scored four in the first and second before adding three more in both the third and fourth. During the outburst, the hosts sent 34 batters to the plate.
"I was real happy with the first four innings," Heatherington said following the clash between OVAC divisional leaders (Big Red tops the standings in Class 4A while Edison is number one in Class 5A). "We came ready to play, had some good at bats and ran the bases well. The first four were the key to the game.
LOOKING THIS WAY — From left, Edison’s Nolan Marcus, Steubenville’s Niko Petrides and the Wildcats’ Clay Woodward look toward the Wildcats’ dugout after Petrides was called safe at third and later scored in Big Red’s 14-8 victory.
-- Mike Mathison
"The last three innings were not Big Red baseball. We sort of died a bit and let them back in the game. They're not going to quit-they're too good of a team to quit. Devin (Ferguson) threw well early but struggled late."
Bryan Pierro started the Red's first-inning rally with an infield single. He advanced when Dimitri Collaros drew a walk. Both scored thanks to Anthony Zorne's single to right and an Edison fielding error. Zorne touched home on Niko Petrides' grounder to short. Justin Corsi belted a double to deep center, scoring Kai McClurg, who was clipped by a pitch.
Pierro got things going again in the second when he reached on an error. He swiped second and made it to third via another Wildcat miscue. Zorne's infield hit plated Pierro (who reached base and scored four times). Petrides then earned a free pass and Branden Jones slapped a single to left, scoring Zorne. McClurg walked to load the bases and two more Big Red runs scored on Corsi's base knock.
Big Red loaded the bases in the third (Lucas Herrington started the frame with a double to right-center). The three tallies came on a Zorne walk, Petrides' sacrifice fly and McClurg's single.
Collaros ripped a double to right in the three-run fourth, knocking home Pierro. McClurg was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded accounting for the second run. Petrides, who reached via a walk, accounted for Big Red's final run thanks to a pass ball.
Edison, now 10-1, was down 14-3 after four but didn't go away without a fight.
Nolan Marcus singled to open the Wildcat fifth. Clay Woodward followed with a base knock. One batter later, Collin Scott jumped on a Ferguson pitch and drove it over the fence in right field, slicing the deficit to eight (14-6).
Storm Allese's two-out double in the sixth brought Josh Pasek home. The final Wildcat run (Edison did all its scoring after two outs were recorded) came on Pasek's single in the seventh.
Mike Collopy's crew outscored (5-0) and outhit (7-2) Big Red from the fourth inning on.
"We haven't been playing Edison baseball," Collopy stated. "We have very competitive kids and to their credit, they keep playing for 21 outs. But we can't continue to make the mistakes we are making and expect to win.
"We pride ourselves on being fundamentally sound and mentally aware of situations. We haven't been playing like that and today, we didn't play like that. When you give teams opportunities, that's what happens. We got what we deserved today."
Ferguson went the distance on the hill to collect the victory. Tanner Evans started for Edison, giving way to Matt Johnson in the second. Matt Dillon took over in the third and Ben Boyd in the fourth. Boyd allowed just one hit and no runs in 2 innings.
"He's a competitor," Collopy said of the senior right-hander. "He came in and did a good job for us. He was able to keep us in the game."
Both teams collected 11 hits. Collaros, Zorne, Corsi and Herrington all had two each for Big Red. Jimmy Marsh, Woodward, Allese and Scott paced the Wildcat attack with two.
"It was a good win for us," Heatherington commented. "One good thing about baseball is you get right back on the field and play again. You don't have to time to worry about what you did the night before. That's why we like the game."
Both teams return to action today. Big Red will travel to Boardman while Edison visits Harrison Central.
"It's the way we have been playing," Collopy remarked when discussing his team's start. "When you face teams that are well-coached, they are going to take advantage. We put ourselves in a hole and when you put yourself in that type of hole, you can't expect anything good to come from it."
Big Red 14, Edison 8
Edison 102 031 1 - 8 11 3
Big Red 443 300 x - 14 11 1
EDISON (10-1): Evans (LP, 3BB,0K,1 HBP) Johnson (2, 2BB, 0K) Dillon (3, 4BB, 2K, 1 HBP) Boyd, (4, 0BB 2K) and Skeeles. Marsh 2S, Pasek S, RBI; Marcus S; Woodward 2S, RBI; Allese D, S, RBI; Scott HR, S, 3RBI; Boyd S.
STEUBENVILLE (11-4): Ferguson (WP, 5BB, 3K, 1 HBP) and McClurg. Pierro S; Collaros D, S, RBI; Zorne 2S, 3RBI; Petrides 2RBI; Jones S, RBI; McClurg S, 2RBI; Corsi D, S, 3RBI; Herrington D, S.