WEIRTON - Justice Jackson hurled a one-hitter and Wheeling American Legion Post 1 pounded three Weirton American Legion Post 10 pitchers for 14 hits in a 10-0 game at Bowman Field last night.
The win gave Post 1 a measure of revenge as Post 10 beat them earlier in the season in Wheeling for their only defeat among the Area 1 Legion teams.
" I knew we were going to have our hands full tonight," said Wheeling coach Mark DelBrugge. "It started out like it would be a good game, but we kind of got to (Mario) Lombardi there in the fourth inning. We started hitting and hitting is contagious sometimes."
The win put Post 1 in the driver's seat as far as seeding for the Area 1 tournament that is scheduled to unfold next week in Weirton. Post 1 has a 4-1 record in the area.
Tournament seeding will be determined this weekend as St. Marys will visit the Northern Panhandle this for a doubleheader Saturday at Bowman field and a single game in Wheeling on Sunday. That game will be part of a doubleheader for Post 1 as they'll play Bridgeport at 1 p.m.
Jackson's left handed slants put him in complete command baffling the Post 10 hitters with his off speed stuff and throwing the heater when he needed it. He gave up the lone hit to Kyle Woodruff leading off the bottom of the first inning. Jackson walked one and struck out 11. He struck out the side in the third and sixth innings, and 10 of the last 13 batters he faced went down on strikes.
Woodruff was one of only three Post 10 base runners. Matt Cessna walked in the second inning and Dom Sylvestri got aboard when the Post 1 right fielder dropped a popup for an error.
"Jackson threw a great game, but we sleep walked through the whole thing, too," said Post 10 coach Bill Magnone, whose club had been hitting well and scoring lots of runs in recent games. "We just weren't here today. It wasn't our normal effort."
Mario Lombardi was the Post 10 starter. He got touched for five of the Post 1 runs as he worked the first three and a third innings. He gave up six hits, walked four and struck out one. Zac Porter and Sylvestri followed Lombardi to the mound.
"Jackson was outstanding," said DelBrugge, whose club now is 24-9. "He is a very effective pitcher. All his pitches were working tonight and his changeup was especially good, and his velocity was up more than we've seen it in awhile. He was dominating tonight.
"With our pitching depth, we have six left handers on our staff. We have only three righties on our staff and those guys are spot starters.
"Somebody asked who's your No. 1. Well, I would say tonight Justice showed he's our No. 1, but then one of our other guys will go in there and throw a good game and you could say they are our No. 1. These guys have been very, very good."
Jackson got a lot of hitting and run support from the bottom part of the Post 1 batting order last night. Jameson Murray and Nate Hardman the seventh and eighth batters were each 3-for-4 and the No.6 hitter, Eric Crow, had two safeties including the first home run of his high school or American Legion career.
"We talked last night that one through nine in our batting order has been coming through for us," DelBrugge explained. "Every night it's somebody different. It doesn't matter who it is, and hopefully it keeps up."
Post 1 got on the board in the first inning when Andrew Kowalo drew a two-out walk. He went to second on a Lombardi balk and raced home when Jackson drilled a double to right center field.
Lombardi went into the top of the fourth inning still trailing 1-0, but the wheels came off when the first three batters hit safely. Crow started it off with a single to left field. Murray followed with a double and Hardman plated both of them with a bases loaded single. Hardman touched home along with Joey Minor, who drew a walk, when Jackson drilled a single his second RBI hit of the game to right field.
Post 10 got three runs on five hits in the fifth inning off of reliever Zac Porter. Chad Harper singled, went to second on an infield out and raced home on a Murray single to right field. Nate Baikaitis ripped a single to left driving home Naumann.
Crow's homerun plated one run in the six inning for Post 1 and Murray, who reached on an error rode home on Hardman's third straight single.
Post 10 will host Moundsville today at 6 p.m. at Bowman and St. Marys will come to town for a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.
Meanwhile Post 1 next will play Saturday in a doubleheader against Bridgeport and Elkins.