Toronto trumps Strasburg

CAMBRIDGE – Brian Perkins decided about two weeks ago to make a move.

And, the player was all for it.

The Toronto baseball coach handed the ball to sophomore Blaze Glenn in Tuesday’s Ohio Division IV district semifinal with Strasburg at Don Coss Field.

He delivered.

Glenn allowed a run in the top of the second inning and then threw goose-eggs, along with a bunch of nice curves, as the Red Knights championed a 3-1 victory.

Jefferson County rivals Toronto and Steubenville Catholic Central will play for the district championship at 5 p.m. Thursday on the same field.

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” said Glenn, who estimated he has pitched for the Red Knights maybe three times. “I wanted this game. I’ve pitched all my life. Coach just told me to throw strikes, get ahead of every batter and let our defense do the job. Our defense played well.”

The Red Knights tied it at 1 in the bottom of the second as Ryan Cline singled home Tyler Antinone with two outs.

They made it 2-1 an inning later when Antinone delivered a two-out base knock to plate Nate Stewart.

“Blaze is a tremendous competitor,” said Perkins. “In a big-game situation, I have all the confidence in the world throwing him out there. He’s a bulldog. He’s the type of kid you want to have the ball.

“He hasn’t pitched a lot for us this year. We just decided it’s tournament time and that’s the guy we wanted on the mound.”

Glenn went the distance, allowing four singles.

The Tigers loaded the bases in the top of the fourth. Two strikeouts sandwiched a walk and a single.

The third out came on a fielder’s choice on a nice play from freshman second baseman Danny Zdinak, as he tossed it to the shortstop, Stewart, to get out of the inning.

“Our defense played well again,” said Perkins. “They made the plays behind Blaze.”

Toronto added an insurance run in the fifth.

Chez Glenn singled with one out. Strasburg changed pitchers and, one out later, Glenn stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored when the throw to third went into left field.

“We’re used to this type of game in the districts because we approach every game the same way,” said B. Glenn. “Every day. Every practice. Every pitch counts, no matter what.”

Perkins started the season with a young, inexperienced group, but never made excuses as they struggled early in the season.

“At the beginning of the year we weren’t playing well,” Perkins admitted. “They kept working hard and were resilient. I knew if we just kept playing baseball, we would eventually peak.

“We just hope to continue to play well and represent Toronto.

“We look forward to this every year. It’s a lot of fun for us. We preach to our kids to be in every pitch, be focused and play seven innings of baseball.”

The Red Knights and Crusaders were rained out in both games this season.