Post 33 tops Piqua to begin state tourney

LANCASTER – Thanks to another strong pitching performance by Jimmy Panella, Post 33 passed its initial test in the 2013 Ohio American Legion Baseball Tournament Monday.

The Catholic Central product went the nine-inning route as Steubenville clipped Piqua Post 184 6-3. Donnie Young’s club returns to Beavers Field today at 4 p.m. to face Napoleon Post 300, which whipped Ashley-Mount Vernon Posts 518/136 16-1.

“He threw a nice game for us,” Young said of Panella, who also went the distance in the Region 7 championship contest last week. “Piqua swung the bats really well, but Jimmy just kept plugging away. He didn’t surrender a big inning; they scored their runs one at a time.”

Panella scattered nine hits, fanned three and allowed one free pass.

“He was sitting right around 100 pitches entering the ninth inning, but was able to get the first two outs on just two pitches,” Young added. “He had a five-pitch ninth which was just what we needed. His performance allowed us to keep the rest of staff fresh.”

Piqua plated single runs in the second and fourth before Post 33 exploded for four tallies in the fifth. Alex Young delivered a based-loaded triple to put Steubenville ahead to stay.

“That hit by Alex was huge for us.” Young stated. “It gave us the lead and once we got it, our guys seemed to settle down and felt a lot better. He really delivered in the clutch.”

The Post 33 shortstop added a single to pace his team’s nine-hit attack. Bryan Pierro, John Linn, Brenton Colabella, Panella, Steve Mihalyo, Kai McClurg and Pat Pizzoferrato all singled for the winners.

Piqua, described by Young as being a “real solid team,” scored its final run in the home half of the fifth.

Colabella’s base knock, which scored A. Young, was the highlight of Post 33’s two-run ninth. The Catholic Central senior-to-be finished with three RBI.

“It was 4-3 in the top of the ninth and Brenton’s hit gave us a little breathing room,” Young said. “Those were big runs. Having a three-run lead instead of being up by just one really helped us save pitching.”

Young reported he has been “impressed with what we have seen so far” in the way of competition at the eight-team event.

“This is a strong field and Napoleon (today’s opponent) is a very good team.”

Post 33 improved to 30-10 with Monday’s victory. Panella is now 9-1.

Post 33 6, Post 184 3

Post 33 000 040 002 – 6 9 0

Post 184 010 110 000 – 3 9 0

Post 33 (30-10) Panella (WP, 1BB, 3K) and McClurg. A. Young T, S, 3RBI; Colabella S, 3RBI; Pierro S; Linn S; Panella S; Mihalyo S; McClurg S; Pizzoferrato S.

Post 184 Gordon (LP, 2BB, 2K) Edwards (8, 3BB, 1K) and Nix. Edwards 3S, RBI; Bruns D, S; Jones S; Nix S; Paul D, RBI; Richard S.