STEUBENVILLE - The big inning paid big dividends for Steubenville's streaking baseball team Wednesday.
Fred Heatherington's club broke open a tight contest by scoring eight times in the fifth enroute to a 12-3 victory against Weir at Vacarro Field. The victory is the fifth in a row for Big Red, which stands 8-3 and plays host to Wheeling Park today.
''We're playing well right now,'' Heatherington said. ''Our pitchers are throwing strikes and we're fielding well. Our hitters are putting the ball in play and we're running the bases well. We're doing things right in all phases of the game.''
Senior Matt Petrella had a huge game for the winners. On the mound, he allowed four hits in going the distance. At the plate, Petrella just missed hitting for the cycle (getting a triple, double and single) and drove home a pair of runs.
Freshman Jake Wypasek started for the Red Riders and did a solid job of keeping Big Red at bay. He gave way to Josh Russell with one out in the fourth.
''He did a nice job for us,'' Weir coach Bob Rosnick said. ''His off-speed stuff was effective in keeping Big Red off balance.''
Big Red was down 3-2 heading into the home half of the fourth. Bryan Pierro doubled down the third-base line to start the frame and Wypasek gave way to Russell after recording a strikeout. Petrella greeted the new hurler with a drive to left, good enough for a double and scoring Pierro to knot the score.
Pat Pizzoferrato followed with an infield single that plated Petrella and gave his team the lead for good.
Kai McClurg got the Big Red fifth going with a single, Anthony Zorne followed with a base knock and John Linn drove in a pair with his second hit of the contest. Petrella's triple and Pizzoferrato's single also produced runs. Cody Saltsman's two-run single capped the rally.
Big Red sent 13 batters to the plate and collected six hits. The winners were aided by a couple of Weir fielding miscues.
''We played lackadaisical early,'' Heatherington pointed out. ''Once we started putting the ball in play that got us going and afforded us the opportunity to have that big inning.''
Rosnick noted his Riders ''made mistakes at crucial times then their bats came alive.''
''You can't give a good hitting team like Big Red extra opportunities,'' he added. ''We had one starter in his regular position. We have four guys out with injuries and two with illnesses.
''We had a good thing going (Weir had won five out of its last six before Wednesday including a huge 9-4 victory against Linsly) but that's no excuse.''
Petrella's three hits paced Big Red's 13-hit attack. Linn, Pizzoferrato and McClurg also had multiple-hit games.
The Red Riders got to Petrella for all of their runs in the second. Jeremy Swartzmiller's two-run single was the big blow. Josh Russell added a single and Chris Russell drew a bases-loaded walk to earn a RBI.
He settled down after that outburst, retiring 12 of the next 14 batters he faced. Weir's only two runners during the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings reached on Big Red errors.
Swartzmiller and Chris Russell both managed base hits in the seventh.