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Thompson pitches, hits Big Red to City Championship

J.T. Thompson

STEUBENVILLE — J.T. Thompson did the job on the mound and at the plate on a chilly Saturday afternoon as

Steubenville blanked Catholic Central 10-0 to claim the 2021 city baseball championship.

The junior righty allowed just three hits (singles by Alex Solema, Andrew Dorsey and Brayden Rauch) in the mercy-rule victory and fanned six.

After working his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, Thompson retired 12 of the next 15 Crusader batters he faced.

“He got his control back after the first inning and had his curve ball working today,” Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington said when discussing Thompson’s performance. “He is solid when he has two pitches working and today he has curve working.”

At the plate, Thompson laced a run-scoring triple in the fourth after delivering a single in the third.

Big Red, which beat the Crusaders by a similar score earlier in the season, finished with nine hits. Heatherington’s club lit up the Vaccaro Field scoreboard in the first thanks to a two-run double off the bat of designated hitter Kye Fleming. His shot scored Hakim Edwards, who finished the day with two singles, and Quinn McCoy.

Edwards and Andrew Gresko drove home runs in the second. Aaron Ferguson’s RBI single in the third made it 5-0 Steubenville, which now stands at 12-6.

The hosts put up a five spot in the fifth. Thompson, Fleming and Ferguson all delivered RBIs.

Fleming finished with three RBIs. Ferguson had two singles and two RBIs while Gresko connected for a double. Steubenville collected nine hits.

“It was a good bounce-back win (Big Red fell to Harrison Central Friday),” Heatherington said. “We haven’t figured out yet that we have to be ready to play every day.

“Lately, we have been scoring two runs in the first then dying. Today, we scored more than that. We can’t sit on a lead — we have to keep scoring. When we put the ball in play and run the bases well, good things happen. I’m just glad to get a win and get this team back on the winning track. Hopefully, we can carry over this kind of performance into next week and the tournament.”

Ryan Anderson started on the mound for Catholic Central, now 4-14, and suffered the loss. David Kissinger took over in the fourth after Anderson allowed three additional runs.

In the Central first, Kody Carver drew a two-out walk. Dorsey and Rauch then followed with singles. Thompson, however, recorded a punch out to end the threat.

“We just were unable to get a timely hit in the first,” said Central coach Aaron Henderson. “We just were not able to stay with them and that is what we have to do against a good team like Big Red. We have to hang with them and today that didn’t happen.

“Thompson threw a good game for them. Ryan struggled, had some control issues and that was kind of the story. He has gotten much better all year. Today was not his typical outing for us.”

UP NEXT

Catholic Central: Tentatively hosts Weir High Tuesday.

“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes today (neither team was charged with a fielding miscue), which is a good thing for us,” Henderson said. “We are a young team, we are working hard to improve and we just have to keep plugging away.”

Steubenville: Tentatively hosts Dover Monday, Meadowbrook Wednesday and St. Clairsville Thursday. Big Red will close the week with a road game Friday at Wheeling Park.

“We have to get tournament ready,” said Heatherington. “We have a tough week coming up. We need to play good baseball and get ready for the sectionals.”

TOURNAMENT TIME

The Eastern District tournament draw was set to take place Sunday. Sectional play begins May 15. Steubenville is part of the Division II field while Catholic Central will participate in Division IV action.

Steubenville 10, Catholic Central 0

Catholic Central 0 0 0 0 0–0 3 0

Steubenville 2 2 1 5 x–10 9 0

CATHOLIC CENTRAL (4-14): Anderson (LP, 3IP, 8R, 6ER, 7H, 2BB, 3HBP) Kissinger (1IP, 2R, 2ER, 2H, 1BB) and Dorsey. Solema S; Dorsey S; Rauch S.

STEUBENVILLE (12-6): Thompson (WP, 5IP, 0R, 3H, 3BB, 6K) and Smith. Thompson T, S, RBI; Ferguson 2S, 2RBIs; Edwards 2S, RBI; Fleming D, 3RBIs; Gresko D, RBI; Smith S.

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