Big Red Adds to JM’s Woes

GLEN DALE – Continuing to tune up for Saturday’s semifinals in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class AAAA baseball tournament to be played at same site, Steubenville’s power-laden lineup put crooked numbers on the scoreboard in five of its six turns at bat Wednesday evening at Monarch Field.

Beginning with a single run during their initial turn at bat, Big Red pounded out 15 hits while rolling to a 15-3 victory against homestanding John Marshall in a game halted after six innings by the 10-run mercy rule.

”Except for a few games, we’ve been hitting the ball well all year,” veteran Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington said after his team picked up victory No. 12 in 16 outings. ”When we put the ball in play, we put it in play hard and we also put pressure on the defense with our baserunning. We made a couple of mistakes with our baserunning but that hasn’t happened very often.”

The biggest blast during the runaway came in the fourth inning when Dominic Garay connected for a grand slam, belting a long drive over the BB&T sign hanging on the fence in straightaway left field. It increased Steubenville’s lead to 9-3 and virtually sealed the victory.

Josh Mamula raked the Monarchs pitching for three singles, driving in a run, while with two hits each were Anthony Pierro and Jordan Myer. Jordan Banks, Big Red’s cleanup hitter, walked three straight times before John Marshall reliever Stefan Varner put a 3-2 pitch too close to the plate in the fifth inning. Banks reached out and dropped a two-run single into right field.

JoJo Pierro went the distance to pick up a victory, striking out three and walking three. He got off to a shaky start, allowing the Monarchs to punch across three runs in the first two innings before tossing shutout ball the rest of way. John Marshall had six hits overall but just two harmless knocks, singles by Jimmy Henderson and Varner, during the Monarchs’ final four at-bats.

JM starter Aaron Fonner had some early control problems, walking six during his four innings on the hill. He also hit a batter and was victimized by five Monarchs errors.

After watching his team’s record fall to 6-14, John Marshall coach Bob Montgomery could only shake his head.

”This is just one of those years we don’t run into very often here,” Montgomery said. ”I think it’s been 16 or 17 years but this one is pretty bad and it hurts a lot.

”Our heads are not into the game. We make too many mistakes, physical and mental. I thought we played pretty well (Tuesday) when we beat Parkersburg South but (Wednesday) we went right back to the way we’ve been playing.”

Steubenville then began its barrage of multi-run innings with two in the top of the second, the rally including another leadoff walk, Mamula’s single that turned into a two-base error when the ball got away from the right fielder and Jordan Mavromatis’ RBI hit up the middle.

John Marshall tied it at 3-3 in its half of the second as Chris Riggs doubled down the left-field line, took third on Henderson’s base hit to left and scored as Varner flied out to T.J. DeChristopher in center.

A walk to Banks, two John Marshall errors and singles by JoJo Pierro and Mamula put Big Red ahead 5-3 in the third inning. Garay’s grand slam followed Anthony Pierro’s double, another walk to Banks and a hit batsman in the fourth inning.

Banks’ two-run single and another Monarchs error put the lead out to 12-3 in the fifth. RBI singles by Anthony Pierro and Westlake, along with a run-scoring wild pitch, highlighted the three-run sixth inning.

”We played well on defense and well on offense. I’m pleased but not happy with the results of our season so far,” Heatherington said. ”We’ve still got a lot of work to do and a long way to go, hopefully. Our kids have to keep trying to improve every day.”