Hockenberry Solid in Victory for Post 10

By RALPH COX

For the News-Register

WEIRTON – Weirton Post 10 waited until its sixth and last game of the Beast of the East Tournament to gain its first win, but there is a chance the 15-8 victory against the Roc Hawks from the South Hills of Pittsburgh could gain them home field advantage in today’s playoff finals for fifth place.

Post 10 continued to hit the ball as they did throughout the tournament and, after a loss to the Arena Starz South in the 8 a.m. game Saturday, it jumped on three different Roc Hawks pitchers for 13 hits. The game ended after five innings because of the two-hour time limit.

“This is a good win, but we still aren’t playing very well defensively,” said Post 10 coach Bill Magnone, whose team played throughout the tournament short handed with a couple of starters missing from the lineup. “We just have to get better defensively. We are giving up way too many runs.”

The name of the game in baseball, though, is pitching and when you get to the third doubleheader in a tournament like the Beast of the East, the arms get tired. However, Magnone got a solid outing from Burgettstown’s Sam Hockenberry.

The righthander limited the team from Pittsburgh to six hits, while walking five and striking out five.

“When you play shoddy defense it causes your pitcher to have to throw extra pitches, but Sam walked a few to many, too,” Magnone noted. “But a win is a win and maybe it will give us home field (today).”

The Roc Hawks got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the first inning, but Post 10 answered with five in the top of the second frame as nine batters went to the plate.

Kyle Woodruff started it off with a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Mitch Viakely followed with a single to left field. Dom Sylvestri bounced into a double play with Woodruff advancing to third base.

Vinnie Merico walked and Mario Lombardi was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Kaleb Baire. Baire singled to center field to plate Woodruff and Kelaen Welch’s smash off the pitcher’s glove bounced into right field to score Merico and Lombardi. Will Bowser’s double down the first base line plated Welch.

When the smoke cleared, Post 10 was ahead 5-2.

The fireworks continued for Post 10 in the third inning as 15 batters went to the plate with nine scoring.

It all started when Woodruff’s grounder was misplayed by the Roc Hawk third baseman. Viakely was hit by a pitch and a walk to Sylvestri loaded the bases. Merico’s grounder to second base went for the second error of the inning to score Woodruff and sent Sylvestri to third.

Merico promptly stole second and Lombardi walked to load up the bases again for Baire, who delivered again with a double down the left field line to plate Sylvestri and Merico. Welch’s single up the middle drove home Lombardi and Baire. Will Bowser was hit by a pitch and Matt Cessna’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Welch.

Woodruff’s single sent Bowser scampering home and Woodruff scored on a Sylvestri single to left center field.

Roc Hawk retaliated with two runs off of Hockenberry in the top of the third inning to cut the lead to 14-4.

Post 10 scored in the fourth when Zac Porter led off with a single and scored on a Woodruff sacrifice fly to right field.

Roc Hawk wasn’t done. They plated four runs in the bottom of the fourth before Hockenberry retired the side.

Baire finished with two singles, two doubles, two runs scored and three RBIs. Welch delivered three singles, two runs scored and four RBIs. Viakley added two singles, a run scored and a stolen bases. Woodruff had a single, two RBIs and three runs, Sylvestri singled, scored a run and drove one in, Merico had an RBI and stolen base and Lombardo scored two runs.