LANCASTER - Post 33 pitcher JoJo Pierro went the distance as Steubenville earned a 5-1 victory over Pickerington (49-4) Monday night at Beavers Field in the American Legion State Baseball Tournament.
Pierro allowed four singles in his 145-pitch outing.
Steubenville meets Lima at 7 p.m. today on the same field. Lima earned a 17-9 victory over Mount Vernon.
Teams will be eliminated today in the double-elimination tournament.
A Post 33 win today puts it at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Beaver Field for the right to play for the state championship. A loss moves Steubenville to a 10 a.m. game Wednesday at Beavers Field.
"What a season we've had so far," said Post 33 coach Mark Stacy. "Tonight, we scrapped and scrapped and scrapped. It was just a gutsy performance by our guys. I'm not sure I have been any more proud of a team.
"I've been telling them for about a month that the biggest lesson you learn in sports is to respect your opponents."
Coming through the loser's bracket after Monday's seven games are Beverly-Lowell, Circleville, Sandusky, Strongsville, Mount Vernon, Wayne County and Pickerington.
In the winner's bracket are Troy, Lima, Whitehouse and Steubenville. Troy and Whitehouse will tee it up at 4 p.m. today at Beavers Field.
Catcher Kai McClurg had two stolen bases, scored three runs for Post 33 and did so without a hit. He walked twice.
"We played errorless ball tonight and defense has not been our forte this year," said Stacy. "Aleks Porreca made two of the nicest catches you'll see. And, Kai has just brought a toughness to our team. He's tough as nails back there."
Steve Mihalyo's single in the first scored Adam Young.
John Linn scored in the second to break a 1-1 tie and McClurg came home on Jim Panella's two-out double.
McClurg, who reached on a one-out walk, scored in the fourth on Pickerington's lone error.
Post 33 (30-18) finished the scoring in the bottom of the sixth when, once again, McClurg reached on a one-out free pass. He swiped second, moved to third on Pierro's flyout to right and scored on Young's two-out single.
"We made some really big plays to get out of trouble, but we still have a long way ahead of us."
Steubenville 5, Pickerington 1
Pickerington 010 000 000 - 1 4 1
Steubenville 120 101 00x - 5 7 0
PICKERINGTON: Goddard (LP, 6K, 6BB) and Horsley; Smith S; Horsley S; Jensen S; Montell S; Sexton rbi.
STEUBENVILLE: J. Pierro (WP, 4K, 8BB) and McClurg; J. Pierro S; Young 2S, rbi; Panella D, rbi; Colabella S; Mihalyo S, rbi; B. Pierro S.