Toronto stays hot, tops Weirton

TORONTO — Good hitting and good pitching is a good recipe for success.

The Toronto Post 86 Legion baseball team has received both in the last few games, and it has paid off, as Post 86 is playing its best ball of the season.

Toronto jumped out to an early lead against Weirton Post 10 en route to a 6-1 victory Sunday afternoon at the Knights Baseball Complex.

The victory is Toronto’s third-straight — all coming in the last three days — and Post 86 has outscored its opponents, 35-3, in those games.

“The kids are realizing if you throw strikes and play good defense good things are going to happen,” Toronto (6-8) head coach Steve Sninchak said.

Toronto’s starting pitchers have thrown four-straight complete games.

“The thing is their pitch counts have been down,” Sninchak said. “Our pitchers are throwing strikes. They are pounding the strike zone.

“For the most part, we are playing good defense behind them. We got off to a shaky start (Sunday), but we cleaned it up.”

One of Toronto’s recent wins came against Weirton Friday night at Edwin Bowman Field. Post 86 won that game, 17-1, in five innings.

Weirton played a better overall game Sunday.

“Yeah, we definitely gave a better performance than the one the other day at home, but our goal is not to show up and not play bad,” Weirton (4-16) head coach Jason Swartzmiller said. “We don’t want just to come in and play well, but we want to get the win. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that today.”

Riley Watson went the distance and picked up the win for Toronto. Watson struck out two without walking a batter, while allowing one run on five hits.

Cody Tate took the loss for Weirton. Tate struck out one, walked seven and allowed six runs on six hits in five innings of work.

Tate was replaced during the bottom of the fifth inning by Andrew Goettel. Goettel retired all three batters — none by strikeout — he faced.

“Cody pitched fantastic,” Swartzmiller said. “He gave up six runs. He threw more than 100 pitches. When you throw 90-100 pitches, you know you battled. He threw really well. We had a couple of errors behind him. It was a good performance.”

Half of Toronto’s six hits went for extra bases.

Kobe Herrick recorded two doubles and an RBI, Richie Gualtiere tallied an RBI double and Nick Chetock collected a single and an RBI. Also, Brandon Boyd and Chris Parker each produced a base hit, and Cole Bodnar and Johnny Marelli each delivered an RBI.

“They have had really good approaches,” Sninchak said about his team’s offensive performance the last three days. “They are going to the plate with a purpose. They understand you have to have a purpose every at-bat and every pitch. Our out of towners are starting to understand that. Everybody is buying in.”

One of Weirton’s five hits went for extra bases.

Nick Leonard delivered a double and a single, and Brodie McUmar, Riley Nolan and Tate all tallied a base hit.

“We knew coming in that Toronto has been swinging the bats well,” Swartzmiller said. “We have been unable to put a lot of hits together — one or two hits is not going to do it.”

Both of Weirton’s first two batters of the game reached on errors, but Watson was able to get out the inning unscathed thanks to a pop-up and a double play.

Toronto took the early lead with two runs in the home half of the inning. Boyd and Chetock contributed back-to-back base hits to start the inning, and Boyd scored on Herrick’s first double of the game to give Post 86 a 1-0 lead. Chetock scored on a sacrifice fly by Marelli to make it 2-0.

The victors pushed another run across in the third to increase their lead to 3-0. Herrick doubled with one out, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error to give Toronto a three-run lead.

Another run in the fourth gave Post 86 a 4-0 advantage. Chetock brought home a run when he drew a bases-loaded walk.

Toronto had an opportunity to do more damage with the bases loaded, but Joey Dawson ran down a ball in the right-center field gap to end the inning.

Post 86 plated a pair of runs in the sixth to add to its lead. Parker reached on an error to start the inning, and he moved up to second on a wild pitch. Gualtiere followed with a double down the left field line to score Parker, and Gualtiere advanced to third on a throwing error on the play. Bodnar brought Gualtiere home with a groundout to give Toronto a six-run advantage.

Post 10 plated its lone run in the seventh. Leonard led off the inning with a double, and he scored on a throwing error after a single by Tate.

“We did the same thing last year,” Sninchak said. “We are peaking at the right time.”

Both teams are scheduled to play at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Weirton will play New Martinsville Post 28, while Toronto will play host to Jefferson County Post 33.

Toronto 6, Weirton 1

Weirton 0-0-0 0-0-0 1 –1-5-4

Toronto 2-0-1 1-0-2 x — 6-6-3

WEIRTON (4-16): Tate (LP, 5IP, 6R, 6H, 1K, 7BB), Goettel (1IP, 0R, 0H, 0K, 0BB) and McUmar

TORONTO (6-8): Watson (WP, 7IP, 1R, 5H, 3K, 0BB) and Gump

TWO OR MORE HITS: Weirton 1 (Leonard 2); Toronto 1 (Herrick 2). DOUBLES: Weirton 1 (Leonard); Toronto 3 (Herrick 2, Gualtiere). TRIPLES: Weirton (none); Toronto (none). HOME RUNS: Weirton (none); Toronto (none). RBIs: Weirton (none); Toronto (Bodnar, Chetock, Herrick, Marelli, Gualtiere).

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