STEUBENVILLE - Big Red used one gutsy pitching performance, timely hitting and flawless defense to pocket an 8-0 win over Union Local Tuesday at Vacarro Field.
Evan Westlake earned the complete game shutout, allowing five hits (all singles) and whiffing nine. The junior wiggled his way of several jams as Big Red snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 14-7.
"Evan did a heck of a job," Fred Heatherington said. "He hasn't thrown for a while, but he came out today and threw well. He got ahead in the count, threw strikes and kept our defense in the game.
"I'm happy for him because he's a good team player. He has played a lot of positions for us and sometimes he hasn't played at all. He comes to the field every day ready to go."
As Heatherington noted, Westlake used his "sneaky fastball and curve to keep Union Local off stride. That's what's a good pitcher can do."
The Jets mounted threats in six of the seven innings, but each time Westlake and his defense were up to the test.
"You just can't leave seven guys in scoring position," said Union Local's Rich Mercer. "We threatened all day. We just need to step up and get clutch hits when we need them. But, there were a lot of things to build off."
In the first, the visitors had runners at first and third with one out. Westlake induced a routine fly then recorded a strikeout to end the threat. Solid defensive plays by shortstop Bryan Pierro and catcher Ryan Vojvodich (he chased down a passed ball and flipped it to Westlake in time for an inning-ending out at the plate) thwarted a rally by the Jets in the third.
Union Local loaded the bases in the fourth with just one out but Westlake retired the next two hitters. A nifty play by first baseman Matt Petrella allowed Westlake to escape a jam in the fifth.
"He (Westlake) battled out of a couple of tough spots," Heatherington added. "Your defense is ready for a pitcher throwing strikes. That's what we got tonight and that's why we played good defense."
Thanks to Westlake's pitching and the play of the Big Red defense (fielding miscues resulted in the two recent Steubenville losses), Union Local stranded 10 runners.
The Big Red offense wasted no time getting started. Bryan Pierro led off the first with a single and scored when Lucky McClurg ripped a triple to right-center. JoJo Pierro brought McClurg home with a bleeder that failed to bend the grass when it landed in right.
Petrella scored the third run after he doubled to start the second.
Heatherington's club exploded for five in the home half of the fifth. Michael Camilletti keyed the rally with his two-out, two-run double to deep left-center. Vojvodich had an RBI single and Linn knocked in a pair with his double to the warning track in right.
"We jumped out early, scored those three runs and got some good base running," Heatherington said. "Later in the game, we got some timely hitting. Cam (Camilletti) got a big two-out hit and we just went from there."
Petrella finished with three hits to pace the Big Red attack. McClurg added a pair.
Cameron Smith worked the first four innings for the Jets and took the loss. Tyler McGary took over in the fifth and Willie Brokaw pitched the sixth.
"They had that one big inning, but overall I was not disappointed with our pitching performance," Mercer noted. "We'll be fine, we just have to regroup."
Big Red will visit Buckeye Local today.
Steubenville 8, Union Local 0
Union Local 000 000 0 - 0 5 2
Big Red 210 050 x - 8 10 0
UNION LOCAL (7-15): Smith (LP, 3K, 2BB), McGary (5, 1K, 2BB) Brokaw (2K, 0BB) and R. Simpson; Brokaw S; B. Simpson S; R. Simpson S; McGary S; Durfee S.
STEUBENVILLE (14-7): Westlake (WP, 9K, 4BB, 2 HBP) and Vojvodich; Petrella D, 2S; McClurg T, S, RBI; Camilletti D, 2RBI, Linn D, 2RBI; Vojvodich S, RBI; J. Pierro S, RBI; B. Pierro S.