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Big Red seniors make mark

Although their time as Steubenville High School students ended on Thursday evening, the five seniors on the baseball team hoped to represent Big Red even longer.

Robbie Agresta, Lucas Herrington, Branden Jones, Kasey Peterson and Travis Wolfe nearly carried the banner to Columbus to officially wrap up their senior year and prep careers. With a loss to Big Walnut in the Division II regional final in Zanesville, the curtain dropped on another season and a special era in their lives.

All five baseball players excelled on the field in their time in high school. Their respective sports took them to the gridiron, course, hardwood, mat and diamond. As 12th graders in the fall, Agresta, Herrington, Jones and Wolfe helped Big Red reach the Division IV football state semifinals for the second year in a row. Herrington and Jones were selected to the Eastern District football team. Herrington made 31 catches for for 506 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season, while making 44 tackles with four interceptions and a fumble recovery as a cornerback. Jones made 18 catches for 440 yards and six touchdowns, while making 32 tackles and six sacks.

While four of the five senior baseball players were spending their summers with the grind of two-a-days, Peterson was already hitting the long ball. On the golf course, that is. Even with the build of a football player, Peterson fulfilled his passion as a member of the Big Red golf team. He was a four-year letterwinner and will be continuing his athletic career on the greens and fairways at Wheeling Jesuit.

In the winter, Wolfe and Herrington led the Steubenville basketball team to another sectional championship and berth in the OVAC tournament. As offensive leaders and deep ball threats, Herrington and Wolfe each helped Steubenville average 65.6 points per game in the 2014-15 season.

The Crimson Center was also on lockdown as Jones led the wrestling team to an OVAC Dual Meet title and a second place finish at the Ron Mauck OVAC Tournament in Wheeling. Jones placed first overall at 182 pounds in the OVAC Tournament and advanced to the state meet in Columbus.

All the success of these young men culminated with a baseball season that saw Big Red win its 21st OVAC championship and 22nd district title.

The postgame celebration was cut short for the five senior players as Steubenville defeated Dover in thrilling fashion on Thursday afternoon in Zanesville. They had to rush from Gant Stadium, back to Jefferson County, to hit Reno Field at Harding Stadium with their classmates for a graduation ceremony.

“It’s been a good senior class for us in baseball,” said Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington. “We had great leadership and we depend on our seniors to lead us in a lot of ways.”

It’s been a long four-year journey for these guys, but they’ll be the first to say that that it went by in the blink of an eye. It’s a journey that saw the class of 2015 fight through adversity and the loss of a brother, as Lee West was taken from this life way too soon in a house fire back on Jan. 31, 2012. West was a member of the football, basketball and baseball teams and would have added to the achievements in all three sports in each of the last three years.

Big Red athletes played for West each time they participated in an athletic contest. His No. 20 jersey always rested on the sidelines as he rests in peace in heaven. West had to be looking down on his friends as they threw a pass, shot a ball or knocked a base hit. He was always a part of everything his teammates accomplished.

The Steubenville trophy case has became a bit fuller, thanks to this year’s seniors. It’s wrong to say that they laid the framework for the future. Rather, they continued to build on the past progress and added to the school’s rich tradition.

(Peaslee, a Weirton resident, is a sports writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. He can be contacted at mpeaslee@heraldstaronline.com and followed on Twitter at @thempeas)