Sutton, Big Red edge Vandine, Creek
MINGO JUNCTION — Monday’s game between Steubenville and Indian Creek was one to please fans of a good old-fashioned pitching duel.
Big Red’s Caesen Sutton and Indian Creek’s Isaiah Vandine each tossed complete-game gems for their respective teams on the mound at Muth Field. Sutton, though, got just enough run support to get the edge in a 2-1 Big Red (2-1) victory.
With the Redskins (4-2) up 1-0 and Vandine perfect through four innings, Sutton broke through and led off the top of the fifth with a single to break up the bid for a no-hitter, then Kye Fleming powered a single up the middle on the first pitch of the next at-bat to move Sutton to third.
Vandine balked, plating Sutton, then a Cooper Blackburn RBI ground out brought home Lee Sewell – pinch-running for Fleming – who had moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Smith the at bat before.
Sutton pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth, worked around a couple base runners in the sixth and retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to make sure the 2-1 lead was enough.
Following a mound visit from head coach Fred Heatherington with two away in the seventh, Sutton – who finished with six punch outs, walking one and hitting two batters – struck out Redskins pinch-hitter Jacob Wright looking to end his dandy of a game and clinch the Big Red win.
Vandine’s brief hiccup in the fifth was his only blemish, as he retired the side in order in every other inning, struck out six and did not issue a free pass. He was efficient, throwing just 69 pitches.
“Both of those guys threw really well,” Indian Creek head coach Mike Cottis said of the pitchers. “I’m proud of Isaiah. He had a little adversity in the one inning and battled back. He threw a heck-of-a game.
“He became a competitor during basketball season. You could see him growing up there. I knew giving him the ball in a game like this that he would be mentally tough enough to handle it, and he did a good job.”
The Redskins plated their run in the bottom of the third inning with a little two-out magic. Following a perfectly executed 4-6-3 double play turned by the Big Red infield, Cam Franke ripped a double to the outfield, then scored when Aiden Fernandez tripled off the fence for a 1-0 lead, though him being stranded ended up costing the Redskins when all was said and done.
The Redskins got the first two men on in the bottom of the sixth with a Franke single and Fernandez drawing a walk, but the next three went down in order.
Sutton calmed down and found his rhythm after the bumpy third, allowing just the Franke single in the sixth the rest of the way, standing five Redskins in the game, three in scoring position.
“I thought we had something going in the sixth. We had our big guns coming up, but (Sutton) got one guy to pop up and another fly out. That’s baseball.” Cottis said. “We rolled the dice there and let them all hit and didn’t try to move guys around with the bunt. That’s just the breaks of the game. We played really well.
“(Big Red) is a good team, and I like to think that we’re a good team, too. This is something these guys can build off of. We keep getting better every day and that’s the most important thing.”
Heatherington declined to comment.
Steubenville: Tentatively visits St. Clairsville today.
Indian Creek: Tentatively travels to Catholic Central on Wednesday.
Steubenville 2, Indian Creek 1
Steubenville 0-0-0 0-2-0 0 – 2-2-1
Indian Creek 0-0-1 0-0-0 0 – 1-3-0
STEUBENVILLE (2-1): Sutton (WP, CG, 1R, 1ER, 3H, 6K, 1BB, 2HBP) and Smith. Sutton S; Fleming S; Blackburn RBI.
INDIAN CREEK (4-2): Vandine (LP, CG, 2R, 2ER, 2H, 6K, 0BB) and Ferroni. Franke D, S; Fernandez T, RBI.