Big Red beats Red Riders

STEUBENVILLE – The big inning paid big dividends for Big Red’s streaking baseball team Wednesday.

Fred Heatherington’s club broke open a tight contest by scoring eight times in the fifth en route to a 12-3 victory over Weir High at Vacarro Field. The win was the fifth in a row for Big Red, which now stands at 8-3 and hosts Wheeling Park today.

“We’re playing well right now,” Heatherington said. “Our pitchers are throwing strikes and we’re fielding well. Our hitters are putting the ball in play and we’re running the bases well. We’re doing things right in all phases of the game.”

Senior Matt Petrella had a huge game for the winners. On the mound, he allowed just four hits in going the distance. At the plate, he just missed hitting for the cycle (getting a triple, double and single) and drove home a pair of runs.

Freshman Jake Wypasek started on the hill for the Red Riders and did a solid job of keeping Big Red at bay. He gave way to Josh Russell with one out in the fourth.

“He did a nice job for us,” Weir coach Bob Rosnick noted. “His off-speed stuff was effective in keeping Big Red off balance.”

Big Red was down 3-2 heading into the home half of the fourth. Bryan Pierro doubled down the third base line to start the frame. Wypasek gave way to Russell after recording a strikeout. Petrella greeted the new Red Rider hurler with a drive to deep left, good enough for a two-bagger and scoring Pierro to knot the score. Pat Pizzoferrato followed with an infield single, plating Petrella and giving his team the lead for good.

Kai McClurg got the Big Red fifth going with a single. Anthony Zorne followed with a base knock and John Linn drove in a pair with his second hit of the contest. Petrella’s triple and Pizzoferrato’s single also produced runs. Cody Saltsman’s two-run single capped the rally.

Big Red sent 13 batters to the plate and collected six hits. The winners were aided by a couple of Weir fielding miscues.

“We played lackadaisical early,” Heatherington pointed out. “Once we started putting the ball in play that got us going and afforded us the opportunity to have that big inning.”

Rosnick noted his Riders “made mistakes at crucial times then their bats came alive.”

“You can’t give a good hitting team like Big Red extra opportunities,” he added. “We had one starter in his regular position today. “We have four guys out with injuries and two with illnesses. We had a good thing going (Weir had won five out of its last six before Wednesday including a huge 9-4 victory over Linsly) but that’s no excuse.”

Petrella’s three safeties paced Big Red’s 13-hit attack. Linn, Pizzoferrato and McClurg also had multiple-hit games.

The Red Riders got to Petrella for all of their runs in the second. Jeremy Swartzmiller’s two-run single was the big blow. Josh Russell added a single and Chris Russell drew a bases-loaded walk to earn a RBI.

He settled down after that outburst, retiring 12 of the next 14 batters he faced. Weir’s only two runners during the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings reached on Big Red errors.

Swartzmiller and Chris Russell both managed base hits in the seventh.

“Matt pitched well for us today,” Heatherington noted. “He found the strike zone with two good pitches. He hadn’t pitched in a while and the start was rough. After he settled in, he threw well.”

Weir is now 6-8 and is off until Monday when it entertains East Liverpool.

Big Red 12, Weir High 3

Weir 030 000 0 – 3 4 2

Big Red 101 280 x – 12 13 2

WEIR (6-8): Wypasek (2BB, 1K, 1 HB) J. Russell (4, LP, 2BB, 2K, 1 HB) and Beck. Swartzmiller 2S, 2 RBI; J. Russell S; C Russell S.

STEUBENVILLE (8-3): Petrella (WP, 4BB, 3K, 1HB) and McClurg. Petrella T, D, S, 2RBI; Linn 2S, 2RBI; Pizzoferrato 2S, 2RBI; McClurg 2S, RBI; Pierro D; Saltsman S, 2RBI; Corsi S; Zorne S.