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Post 33 falls in a “Texas shootout” to split day

Coach Pierro happy with Jefferson County’s fight in first day of Beast of the East

RICHMOND — Anthony Pierro has coached a lot of baseball in recent years, but the way his team’s game ended on Thursday night was a first for the Post 33 skipper.

After Jefferson County battled back to tie the game in the seventh inning of the team’s second Beast of the East pool play game of the day at the Edison Unified Sports Complex, the game went to a “Texas shootout” to decide a winner.

The modified rules for extra innings in the Beast of the East, designed to save pitchers and end games during the pool play portion, start the inning with a runner on second, and every batter with a 3-2 count.

Post 33 scored its automatic runner in the top of the eighth, but the Ohio Bison came back in the bottom half and plated a pair for a walk-off win, giving both teams a split of the opening day of the 34th edition of the annual tournament.

“That’s the first time I’ve been in a Texas shootout since I’ve been coaching,” Pierro said. “Usually we don’t do a lot of travel tournaments, we do the Beast of the East, but usually in a legion tournament you don’t run into the Texas shootout. That was different but it’s the way they do it.”

Despite the loss, Pierro was happy to see his team start to get some timely hits and put things together, as well as show some fight he felt had been a missing ingredient.

“They got the big hit, but my main thing is that I love the energy our team brought (Thursday),” Pierro said. “We were into it, we cared about the games, we cared about each other. We got better. We found a way to get better, and if we do that every day from here out, we’ll find a way to do something in the state tournament.

“A loss is a loss, but I am proud of these guys.

“We’re starting to see the fight, which hasn’t been there. They’re excited and they want to win.”

In the opener on Thursday afternoon, Post 33 claimed a 7-3 win over Highlands Legion out of Pennsylvania.

“It was a great day,” Pierro added. “We didn’t make many errors, we pitched well and we put the ball in play. The energy was the icing on the cake. We have kids from different schools, and sometimes it takes a while to come together, but something started to click (Thursday). This is a big step for us, hopefully we keep it going.”

Thursday evening, Jefferson County scored in the first inning, then clung to a 1-0 lead until the Bison broke through in the bottom of the fourth with a three-run outburst.

J.T. Thompson, the Big Red grad headed to Malone University, took over on the hill and held the Bison at bay until his team rallied in the top of the seventh to force the shootout.

He worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the bottom of the seventh to get the game to the extra frame.

Starter Ty Householder, a lefty from Creek, put up three zeros and looked strong before the Bison broke through in the fourth. He fanned two and Thompson sat down four.

“(Ty) is a young guy and he kept a good team off balance,” Pierro said. “J.T. came in and he was like a bulldog and battled.”

Thompson got the first run for Post 33, drawing a lead off walk and scoring on an RBI groundout by Big Red teammate Cooper Blackburn.

After an RBI double from the Bison’s Eli Morris and two-run double by Jayce Dansby made it 3-1 for the out-of-towners playing as the home club, it was Thompson again factoring into the rally.

After Brayden Moses’ bunt single, his second of the game, Thompson ripped an RBI triple down the first base line to make it 3-2, then scored on incoming Creek freshman Gavin Pownall’s RBI single to even the score.

“We got the two big hits in the seventh that we haven’t been getting all year,” Pierro said. “One of them was from a 14-year-old. That’s big for us and big for him, it gives us a step forward.”

Creek’s Landon Pownall, the runner to start on second in the eighth, scored when Gage Cline hit into a fielder’s choice and the ball was bobbled.

In the opener, Thompson also had a multi-hit game with a pair of singles, while Blackburn had a triple, a double, a single and an RBI.

Landon Pownall had a triple, single and two RBIs, Matt Parsons drove in a pair of runs with a single and a fielder’s choice, Big Red’s Zach Smith had an RBI triple, Edison’s Gage Cline and Big Red’s Hakim Edwards also plating runs.

Kaden Jurosko, a Harrison Central product, got the win on the mound going six innings with five strikeouts.

Jefferson County is back at it bright and early on Day 2, as it was set to play Hiland, out of the Berlin, Ohio area, at 8 a.m. and the Iron Pigs at 10:30 a.m., both at Edison.

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