Weirton, Barton set for title series
CRESCENT — Barton and Weirton met six times in the Ohio Valley Baseball League’s regular season this summer. The Braves defeated the Bobcats on four of those occasions. Starting tonight, the squads will meet in the best-of-five championship series.
Henning Field inside Pramesa Park will be the site for Game 1 as top-seeded Barton is the host. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
The Braves defeated Belmont County-rival Maynard 2-1 in their best-of-three semifinal series, storming back from a 1-0 deficit after losing the opener, 3-0. They took 8-1 and 12-3 victories to advance.
Meanwhile, Weirton, the No. 3 seed, moved on by upsetting second-seeded Moundsville by scores of 6-4 and 8-4. Both games were played in Glen Dale at John Marshall High School.
“It should be a good series. They are really hitting the ball well right now,” veteran Barton manager Billy Timko said of the Bobcats. “We’re playing well, too.”
A handful of former Steubenville Big Red products lifted Barton in Game 3.
Anthony Zorne, who missed the first half of the season with an injury and didn’t play in the opener against Maynard, has driven in seven runs in the past two games. The left-handed slugger blasted a two-run dinger and doubled in two runs in Game 2 before sending a three-run rocket over the fence on Monday.
Nicky Zorne went the distance on the mound despite giving up 10 hits. He struck out four, walked just one and threw a first-pitch strike to 25 of the 31 batters he faced.
Ryan Bernard produced three runs with a two-run single and sacrifice fly while Niko Petrides had two singles and Dmitri Collaros singled and scored twice.
Colton Coss also has swung a hot bat of late. He had a trio of singles Monday and doubled on Sunday.
In the other dugout, the Bobcats’ Larry Bielewski may be the hottest hitter in the league. The former Edison standout has hit home runs in five straight games, including a grand slam in their opener against the Expos. He is the No. 9 hitter in the lineup.
Paul Runkel, Chris Gillette, Jacob Rosnick and Geno Pierro also are threats at the plate for Weirton.
According to Timko, he will hand the baseball to former Martins Ferry ace Austin Bassa tonight. The Bobcats hadn’t disclosed their starter.
Game 2 will be played at 6 p.m. Friday in Weirton at Edwin J. Bowman Field. Game 3 is back in Belmont County Sunday and will start at 1 p.m., with Game 4 and Game 5, if necessary, to be played in Weirton and Crescent, respectively.