Post 33 splits with Wheeling Post 1
WHEELING — It was a day of come-from-behind victories for Wheeling Post 1 and Jefferson County Post 33 during a doubleheader Sunday at the I-470 fields.
Facing a 2-0 deficit, Post 33 was able to plate four runs in the final two innings to secure a 4-3 victory in the opener.
Jefferson County kept the moment in its hands at the beginning of the second game, as it scored two runs in the third. However, Post 1 responded with a six-run inning that was more than enough to earn the split.
“We talked earlier on in the week. These guys, it’s not going to be so much physical, it’s going to be mental stuff,” Wheeling manager Jon-Michael Brunner said. “I felt like in the first game, we had too many mental blunders and mishaps. We weren’t throwing it to the right bags, the small things that obviously add up and make a difference. It’s frustrating because these guys can play. They have the physical skill set to do it. These are all tough kids, and we couldn’t find a way to put it all together in the first game.
“But, in the second game, they bounced back and they do the things where we made the mistakes in the first. A little bit inconsistent, and I know it’s early, but these are veteran guys. I feel like that kind of stuff should not take a day off. The physical mistakes will happen. The mental stuff can’t happen, especially with these older group of guys.”
Post 1 certainly did bounce back.
Dom DeFrances belted a two-run double to give Post 33 a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning. It also proved to be the final hit of the game for Jefferson County.
That’s when Wheeling responded. After Jon Milton (walk) and James Salvatori (single) got on base, Chas McCool provided the first run of the game with an RBI single. Hunter Kelly was then hit by a pitch. Jarrod Jones tied the contest with a RBI single.
Post 1 took the lead for good, as Eli Petho hit a hard grounder, but a Jefferson County infielder couldn’t handle it. Two runs scored on an error to make it 4-2.
Sean Hand and Milton rounded out the inning with a pair of RBI singles.
“It’s tough sometimes to put things on and hit and run and bunt. He got some guys on there and they executed. That’s part of it” Brunner said. “A couple of things right offensively, get guys moving, put a little pressure on the defense and just see what happens. Eli had a great at-bat.
“We preached two-strike hitting and just put the ball in play hard. Fortunately for us, the kid made an error. But, if he had not put the ball on the ground hard, we would have not got those runs. The inning was just a lot of fundamental executing and that’s tough, Wheeling baseball.”
Salvatori provided three singles in the second game for Wheeling.
In the opener, Wheeling was able to plate the first two runs of the contest. Salvatori led off the bottom of the first with a double. He was then brought home by McCool’s single. McCool finished the game with two singles and two RBIs. He also brought home Trevor Thomas in the third inning, who had a double.
While things looked a little bleak for Post 33, it did not throw in the towel. Matt Bell led the sixth inning off with a single. After two consecutive outs, Anthony Sinicropi provided the first run of the day with an RBI single. Noah Fayak mirrored Sinicropi with an RBI single of his own to tie the game.
The hits kept on coming for Jefferson County. Clayton Criss led off the seventh inning with a double. George Ash then got on base with a single. Alec McBane followed and made it to base safely thanks to an error that also plated the third run for Post 33.
“I think it came down to timely hitting,” Jefferson County manger Anthony Pierro said. “We finally got the timely hits we needed to. We weren’t getting that the first few innings, and we just had some upperclassmen step up. That’s all we ask from them, just try to shine in the big moments.”
Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Josh Mauer was hit by a pitch to plate the final run for Post 33 that put the score at 4-2.
Sinicropi and Fayak both tallied two singles for Post 33.
“We already played them Thursday and Friday, and we won two and they won two,” Pierro said. “Every game was competitive. We liked playing each other because we think we’re the two best teams in the area, and it’s nice to be competitive for four games and just see where we are at as a team.
“Later in the year, we might try to pick up a game just to see where we are at the end of the year before tournament time. They’re a really good team. We respect them, and it was a great.”
Kelly knocked in the final run of the game for Post 1 in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single, his fourth hit of the contest. Thomas had two doubles in the opener for Post 1.
Jefferson County 4, Wheeling 2
Jefferson 0-0-0 0-0-2 2 — 4-8-0
Wheeling 1-0-1 0-0-0 1 — 3-11-4
JEFFERSON COUNTY: Sinicropi wp (5K, 3BB) and Criss. Sinicropi 2S, rbi; Fayak 2S, rbi; Criss D; McBane S, rbi; Mauer rbi.
WHEELING: Hines lp (3K, 0BB), Wells (7) (2K, 0BB) and Taylor. Thomas 2D; McCool 2S, 2rbi; Salbatori D; Kelly 4S, rbi.
Wheeling 6, Jefferson County 2
Jefferson 0-0-2 0-0-0 0 — 2-3-3
Wheeling 0-0-6 0-0-0 x — 6-7-1
JEFFERSON COUNTY: Buxton lp (0K 5BB), Lewis (6) (0K, 1BB) and Criss. DeFrances D, 2rbi.
WHEELING: G. Thomas (2K, 1BB), Cover (7) (0K, 0BB) and McCool. Salvatori 3S; McCool S, rbi; Jones S, rbi; Petho 2rbi; Hand S, rbi; Milton S, rbi.