Toronto fends off Weirton for 8-6 victory

WEIRTON – Weirton American Legion Post 10 rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended, but it was a case of too little, too late as Toronto Post 86 held on for an 8-6 win last night at Bowman Field.

Post 86 went into the top of the seventh inning with a seemingly comfortable 6-3 lead and with one out got three straight singles to score two runs that proved to be the game winners.

Dan Zdinak, who started in left field, came on to pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning taking over for Hank Clegg and wound up the winning pitcher.

Zdinak also was the spark plug on offense for Post 86 going three-for-three at the plate scoring two runs and driving in one. He also stole two bases.

Playing small ball, Steve Sninchak’s Post 86 club came up big with two squeeze plays that led to three fifth inning runs breaking open a 3-3 tie ballgame.

“We did what we had to do to win tonight,” said Sninchak, whose club won its tenth game in 21 starts. “That’s how we’ve been playing all year. We play as a team and do what we have to do as a team to win.”

Zdinak set the table for Post 86 in the leadoff spot in the order. He opened the game with a single up the middle and came around to score on a Post 10 error.

Post 10 answered right back with three runs in the bottom of the first. Anthony Antinone started it off with a one-out single to right field and Will Bowser followed with a hit. Both runners moved up on a balk by Toronto starting pitcher, Hank Clegg.

Antinone scored from third on a wild pitch and after Mat Cessna and Mitch Viakely each walked to load the bases, Vinnie Merico hit a weird-bouncing ball toward second baseman Jay Lane.

Lane couldn’t handle the hop giving Merico a two-run single.

But the Post 10 bats went silent until the little seventh inning uprising.

“We didn’t play real well today,” said Post 10 coach Bill Magnone. “It just wasn’t our day, but I told them after the game that there is one thing about our team, we don’t give up.”

Toronto knotted the score at 3-3 in the top of the second inning. Catcher Jess McClurg drew a leadoff walk from Post 10 starter Sam Hockenberry. McClurg stole second and scored when Blaine Rawson struck out on a ball in the dirt that got away from Post 10 catcher Pat Reardon.

McClurg raced home on Reardon’s throw to first to nail Rawson. Calvin Sweeney worked Hockenberry for a two out walk and came around to score when Zdinak ripped a double over the Post 10 right fielder’s head.

Toronto broke the tie in the fifth inning when Zdinak led off with a single up the middle and Lane followed with one almost in the same place.

The duo pulled off a double steal to set the stage for Blaze Glenn to lay down a perfect bunt down the third base line. Zdinak scored on the play and Glenn raced to second base.

One out later, third baseman Anthony Krager put down a bunt up the first base line to squeeze Lane home, but Glenn slid home right behind him as the Post 10 throw to the plate was late.

“We didn’t get charged with errors on those plays, but we didn’t make the plays and allowed them to score,” said Magnone.

“I have to hand it to them (Post 86), they were better than us today.”

When Post 10 scored those three runs in the bottom of the seventh, it took Hockenberry off the hook and made Zac Porter the losing pitcher. Porter relieved Hockenberry in the top of the sixth inning.

They did it with two outs as Will Bowser drew a walk following two strikeouts by Zdinak.

Cessna followed with a line shot double down the left field line scoring Bowser and Viakely ripped a double to the right-center gap chasing Cessna home. Dom Silvestri singled Viakely home.

Toronto scored the winning runs off Porter in the seventh when Tyler Owens laced a single to left field and scored when Krager ripped one to right center. Krager scored on McClurg’s liner to right.

The loss dropped Post 10 to 6-3 on the season. They play next at Moundsville on Tuesday. Post 86 takes some time off and returns with a game against Steubenville next Thursday.