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Park Takes Down Big Red

Patriots battle, win it in 8 innings

April 13, 2012
By ED LOOMAN , Ogden Newspapers

STEUBENVILLE - Thursday's prep baseball game at Vacarro Field featured one team that didn't finish (Steubenville) and another that just wouldn't quit (Wheeling Park).

The Patriots fell behind early, staged a late rally and left town with a 6-4 victory in eight innings, giving Wheeling Park some revenge for a 15-2 spanking administered by Big Red earlier in the season.

"Every day we are battling," Wheeling Park coach Mike McLeod said. "We're never going to give up; we're always going to scratch and fight. There have been days when we scratched, fought and lost. (Thursday), we fought, scratched and came away with the win."

Big Red (9-3) was poised to put the game away early. Sophomore pitcher Justin Corsi fanned the initial three Patriots he faced. Steubenville then got hits from its first four batters to take a 3-0 lead. Bryan Pierro and Lucky McClurg singled, JoJo Pierro laced a double to left and came home on Pat Pizzoferrato's base knock.

Ethan Jacobs led off the Park second with a double and scored when Kyler Fitzpatrick singled.

Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington's club had two on with no outs in its half of the frame but failed to score. Big Red also was unable to capitalize in the third and fourth frames when it again had two players in scoring position.

"We scored three in the first, then we just left too many guys on the bases," Heatherington said. ''You can't leave guys on like that and expect to win.''

Park tied things up in the sixth. J.R. Pyle doubled and Cameron Amend drove him home with a single. Amend, who drew the starting pitching assignment, advanced to second on a fielder's choice and scored on one of Big Red's two costly late-game errors.

Big Red came right back, however. Mason Heatherington drew a walk and came around to score on Bryan Pierro's triple to right-center.

Park did some more scratching and fighting in the seventh. Fitzpatrick got things started with a bloop single to right. He moved to second on Dylan Janeszko's single and both runners advanced when pinch-hitter Trevor Stewart laid down a perfect bunt. Freshman Michael Grove hit an innocent fly to first, Fitzpatrick tagged up and beat the errant throw, tying the game at 4-4.

Steubenville let another golden opportunity slip away in the bottom of the frame. Evan Westlake came off Heatherington's bench to belt a one-out triple into the left-center gap. Michael Camilletti drew an intentional walk but was caught trying to steal second. The threat ended one batter later.

The Patriots plated the winning runs thanks to a double by Andrew Kawolo and Fitzpatrick's third hit. Amend started the rally when he reached on Big Red's other field error. He scored on Kawolo's hit.

Lefty Justice Jackson earned the save, setting Big Red down in 1-2-3 fashion.

"We ended up quitting halfway through the game," Heatherington said. "We just had too many guys with their heads not here. They played to win, we played to hold on. When you play to hold on, you're not going to win. That was a game we gave away. We deserved to lose the way we played."

The freshman Grove took over for Amend in the fourth. In his first varsity appearance, he allowed one run and fanned three.

"He came in and held us right here," McLeod said. "He did an outstanding job."

Corsi, who went the distance, was the hard-luck loser. He fanned three and did not issue a walk.

Bryan Pierro, McClurg and Pizzoferrato all had two hits for Big Red, which hosts Maysville and Claymont for a doubleheader Saturday.

Kawolo finished with two for Park (5-8).

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