Big Red crushed in home opener, 11-0
STEUBENVILLE — Wheeling Park kept its red-hot start going on an extremely chilly Thursday at Vaccaro Field.
The Patriots collected 14 hits — two of them flew over the fence in left — and spoiled Steubenville’s home opener with an 11-0 victory. In three games this week (all wins), Park has scored 37 runs.
“The guys work hard at it,” Park coach Steve Myers said when discussing his team’s early season offensive success. “It is a result of the way the kids practice and work. They are starting to really grasp the concept of an at-bat and putting the game in your advantage.
“This was a good team win. We had great starting pitching and good relief pitching. And, we hit the ball hard for sure.”
After a scoreless first, Park put on a run on the board in the second. Dylan Gongola led off with a single and advanced on Gian DeGenova’s base hit. Gongola moved to third on a fly to right and scored when Seth Hand reached on a fielder’s choice.
With one out in the home half of the frame, Big Red loaded the bases against Park starter Chris Vargo. The lefty, however, retired the next two batters to escape the jam.
J.T. Thompson started on the hill for Big Red and recorded two quick outs in the third. Noah Seivertson reached on a throwing error, and Park then started a game-changing rally.
James Salvatori followed with a triple to center. Gongola stepped in and drilled a Thomson pitcher to deep left for a two-run homer.
“We were in the game, down 1-0 in the second inning, then we make a big mental mistake and all of a sudden, we are down 4-0,” Big Red’s Fred Heatherington said. “People in the stands don’t see the mental mistakes that we made, but we made a ton of them. We made so many that I got tired of writing them down on the back of my card.
“But, that is the way it goes. We will be ready to play (today) and go from there. One game is not going to tell us what we are doing at the end of the year. We had a good batting practice, a good infield practice and then two good innings. Then, our mental capacity left the game.”
The Patriots scored three times in the fifth, as Luke Marsh delivered a two-run single and Michael Bittinger added an RBI base hit. Marsh’s second single of the game plated a run in the sixth.
Myers’ club added three more in the seventh, as DeGenova launched a shot that hit the scoreboard in left.
“Those guys hit the ball hard,” Myers said of Gongola and DeGenova. “They both were in pretty good counts. They definitely are capable of doing that on a regular basis.”
Vargo worked five innings to collect the win. He allowed two singles and struck out three. Bittinger took over in the sixth and surrendered one hit.
“He (Vargo) has worked really hard at his game,” Myers said. “He stays mentally focused all the time. We have a ton of faith in him for sure.”
Thompson was tagged with the loss. Lee Sewell, Andrew Gresko, Aaron Ferguson and Quinn McCoy also saw time on the hill for Steubenville.
DeGenova (three RBIs) and Gongola (two RBIs) led Park with three hits each. Marsh and Seth Hand both delivered two singles.
Hakim Edwards, Zach Smith and Gresko accounted for Big Red’s three singles.
Wheeling Park: Tentatively travels to Warren Local Saturday for a doubleheader.
Big Red: Tentatively hosts Indian Valley today.
“The sun will come out, and we will play again,” Heatherington said. “That is the beauty of baseball. You don’t have time to worry about what you did today because you have to focus on getting ready for tomorrow.”
Wheeling Park, 11, Big Red 0
Wheeling 0-1-3 0-3-1 3 — 11 14 2
Steubenville 0-0-0 0-0-0 0 — 0 3 4
WHEELING PARK (3-0): Vargo (WP, 5IP, 0R, 2H, 2BB, 3K, 1HBP) Bittinger (2IP, 0R, 1H, 2BB, 1K) and Marsh. DeGenova HR, 2S, 3RBI; Gongola HR, 2S, 2RBI; Marsh 2S, 3RBI; Salvatori T, RBI; Hand 2S, RBI; Bittinger S, RBI; Seivertson S; Conrad S.
STEUBENVILLE (4-3): Thompson (LP, 41/3IP, 7R (3ER), 9H, 1BB, 2K) Sewell (2/3IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB, 1K) Gresko (2/3IP, 1R, 2H, 2BB) Ferguson (2/3IP 3R, 2H, 2BB, 1K) McCoy (2/3IP, 0R, 0H, 1BB) and Smith. Edwards S; Smith S; Gresko S.