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Big 2nd Sends Post 159 Over Cambridge

Photo by Kim North Will Balgo scores a run during St. Clairsville’s nine-run second inning against Cambridge Tuesday.

CAMBRIDGE — The start of Tuesday night’s American Legion baseball game between visiting St. Clairsville Post 159 and Cambridge Post 84 on Don Coss Field was delayed an hour due to the visitors being stuck in traffic on I-70 due to an accident.

However, when they did arrive, they had their hitting shoes laced up tight.

After being retired in order in the top of the first, Post 159 erupted for nine runs on 10 hits while two players combined for the cycle in an extended top of the second in which 14 batters went to the plate. Will Balgo singled and doubled in the outburst while Colin Snedeker tripled and homered. St. Clairsville (9-2) banged out four extra-base hits in the frame en route to a 13-0 shellacking in a game halted after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“The last couple of games we’ve put up some runs early but then died off. Tonight we didn’t stop scoring in the second,” St. Clairsville manager Mike Muklewicz said. “When you’re hitting the ball from top to bottom like we did in the second inning, it’s a great thing.

“The kids are really focused right now. There’s two different ways to hitting a pitcher who is faster than another and the kids have mastered both of those so far,” he noted.

Snedeker launched a triple to the gap in deep left-center leading off the second and strolled home on a run-scoring single to center by Balgo.

With one out, Evan White doubled to the gap in right-center to drive in Balgo and Kaden Banal followed with a single to left. Jaren Starks’ bunt was fielded by the Post 84 pitcher who flipped the ball to the catcher, but he wasn’t expecting it as the bases were loaded. Winning pitcher Jake Heatherington made it 4-0 with a two-run single to center and, after the second out was recorded, Mason Myers slapped a single to left that knocked in two more runs as the margin increased to 6-0. Snedeker, batting for the second time in the inning, slugged a 2-1 pitch over the fence in left for an 8-0 bulge. Balgo continued his red-hot hitting with a double to right-center and he came around when Drew Sefsick’s smash was off the glove of the third baseman for a run-scoring single.

“Batting in front of Will I’m looking for fastballs every pitch,” Snedeker explained. “I’m not a curveball hitter. It’s a useless pitch as far as I’m concerned. I’ll keep looking for fastballs.”

He said he knew he had a home run in his second at-bat.

“As soon as it left that bat I knew it was a home run. Some of my teammates didn’t, but I knew,” he said of the drive that carried well over the 314-sign and bounced onto the roadway behind the fence.

All the while, Heatherington was baffling the Cambridge hitters.

“Jake had a great game. He followed all of our pitch sequences and was hitting his spots,” Muklewicz added of the Bellaire senior-to-be. “He’s tough to hit when he’s on like he was tonight.”

Heatherington allowed three hits, struck out six and all but one were looking. He didn’t walk a batter while throwing just 65 pitches, of which an eye-popping 55 were strikes. He threw a first-pitch strike to 14 of the 18 batters he faced. He only went to three balls on one batter – the last one he faced.

“I was relaxed out there tonight, especially after we scored the nine runs,” Heatherington said. “We’ve got a good team this year and all I want to do is go out there and throw strikes. My curveball was really effective, but when they were looking for it, I threw the fastball right by them. They weren’t hitting it.”

Heatherington also helped his own cause with three ribbies. Balgo finished with two singles and a double that produced a run. White singled and doubled and drove in a pair. Myers also had two safeties.

The contest took just 1-hour, 29-minutes to play, almost as long as it took St. Clairsville to arrive in Guernsey County.

St. Clairsville is off until July 5 when it welcomes Beverly-Lowell to Memorial Park for a 6 p.m. first pitch. Jefferson County visits the next night.

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