Devils Dominate Knights

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Total domination.

That’s the best way to describe St. Clairsville’s 17-0 prep baseball triumph against Wheeling Central on Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Park.

One day after having their original season-opener at Union Local postponed, the Red Devils let out all their pent up energy, scoring in each inning, including nine times in the fourth.

Tack on a sensational pitching performance from Michael Jacob, and it all added up to an almost perfect day for the home team.

”We did a nice job,” said Red Devils coach Tom Sliva, who moved to within nine victories of 300 for his career. ”I’m really happy with how everything turned out.”

Jacob, a junior, stymied the Maroon Knights (1-3). He struck out nine and walked none in four innings work. Ben Coleman tossed a scoreless fifth to close things out.

Central only had three baserunners. All told, four balls hit by the Maroon Knights made it out of the infield.

”I thought we did a good job defensively,” Sliva said. ”They had a couple of opportunities early. I thought we did a good job of shutting them down.”

Already up 1-0, St. Clairsville earned a bit of a cushion by plating three more runs in the second.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Malik Gummer lined a shot toward first. The ball bounced off the glove and Central’s first baseman and went into the outfield, allowing Daulton Freeman and Ryan Busby to score and Luke Slavik to head to second. Next, Jacob aided his own cause with an RBI single scoring Slavik making the score 4-0.

”We had some nice two-strike at-bats and some nice two-out at-bats,” Sliva noted.

The Red Devils loaded the bases again in the third and knocked Maroon Knights starter Mario Peroni out in the process.

With Nate Bakaitis (who had two of Central’s three hits) in relief, Slavik rapped a two-RBI double scoring Lewis Mitchell and Freeman making the score 6-0. Patrick Buchanan then reached on an error from his leadoff spot and Busby and Slavik scored increasing the lead to 8-0.

The Maroon Knights have struggled defensive in the early going this season, and that trend continued against St. Clairsville.

”Our kids just haven’t learned how to play the games,” a disappointed Wheeling Central head coach Jim Wodusky said. ”Errors and lacks in defense result in disasters and we’re just not getting it.

”I can teach them how to do he stuff and if they don’t take pride in doing it, I can’t fix that. It’s personal pride. They need to have a little pride in what they’re doing.”

St. C. batted around in the deciding fourth and sent 14 batters to the plate. In the process, Sliva cleared his bench.

”I’m really happy with the team effort,” he said. ”A lot of guys got in the game. A lot of guys contributed. Guys were talking in the dugout. I’m happy with that.”