WHEELING -Jim Basilone has found out over the years that the Edgar Martin Beast of the East is not for the faint of heart.
''I tell you what, this tournament is brutal,'' the Independent Players manager said. ''When you come down here you have to have pitching, you have to have hitting, and you have to have defense. That's the name of the game.''
His team needed all three in order to beat Wheeling Post 1 8-7 Saturday in a Texas Shootout.
Independent Players third baseman Paul McCullough puts a tag on Wheeling’s Andrew Kowalo during their Beast of the East game Saturday at the I-470 Complex.
With the game knotted at 7 and the two-hour time limit expired, officials decided upon the extra-inning shootout.
A Texas Shootout is when the last batter in the previous inning automatically starts the next inning on second base and each batter begins their at-bat with a full 3-2 count. Each team gets two innings to try to score the game-winning run. If no run is scored, the game ends in a tie.
The Players out of Pittsburgh only needed one inning.
With two outs in the eighth, Ian Taylor ripped a game-winning hit into right field to score Paul McCullough as the Independent dugout erupted with cheers.
''It's nice beating the hometown club,'' Basilone said. ''We play them all the time when we come down. We always seem to end up playing them some time throughout the tournament.''
Though the Players earned a victory, it didn't come as easily as they would have thought after jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first.
Wheeling, however, kept its cool and slowly chipped away at the deficit until the fifth inning.
In a 7-3 hole, Jesse Hartley doubled to drive in Andrew Kowalo and Post 1 found its groove.
Nate Bakaitis singled in Dom Ellis, then Colton Coss doubled in both Hartley and Bakaitis to tie the game at 7-7.
''It was a high level at the time,'' Wheeling coach Ricky Szeligo said. ''We were having good at-bats. Things were going in our favor.''
The momentum really seemed to go Post 1's way when the club filled the bases with one out in the sixth and Bakaitis sent one deep into right field.
However, Alex Correa got the ball to catcher Jake Paradise, who tagged out Justice Jackson before he reached home and then beat Kowalo as he tried to double-back to third.
''A couple innings we had chances, we just didn't execute our at-bats,'' Szelgio noted. ''It's one of the main reasons we feel short.''
Patrick Ferguson lead the Players as he doubled among four hits with an RBI and scored two runs.
Bakaitis scored three runs with two hits and an RBI for Post 1, while Coss had a two run double among his two hits.
''It was a hard fought game,'' Szeligo said. ''Unfortunately, we came out on the bottom.''
With the loss, Wheeling fell to 2-3 in the tournament.
Ontario 11, Wheeling 8
In the early game, Russell Schwertfeger had two hits and drove in a run but it wasn't enough as Wheeling fell to Ontario.
Hartly, Tyler Ashbrook and Drew Welch each had a hit and drove in a run for Post 1.