WHEELING - If there is one thing Wheeling Park coach Mike McLeod and Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington can agree on, it's that Big Red did not play its usual game Wednesday in a 9-2 loss to the Patriots.
''(Steubenville) was uncharacteristic,'' McLeod pointed out. ''Normally they're pretty solid. They didn't have any errors in their first game and that's what you expect. You have to normally play a perfect game against a perfect program.''
Heatherington concurred in his own evaluation of his team's performance.
''It sure wasn't our day, that's for sure,'' he said. ''They put the ball in play and we didn't make the plays. We weren't ready to play and it showed in the field.
''Give them credit. They put the ball in play at good times, and we didn't.''
After Eric Banks got to third following a wild pitch and an error on the catcher in the first, Michael Grove drove one into shallow right field to bring Banks in and Park (6-0) had an early 1-0 lead.
The Patriots went right back to work in the bottom of the second as Jesse Hartley was hit by a pitch to load the bases Matt Hackathorn then hit a line drive past second to bring in Justice Jackson and it was 2-0 Park.
Julian Figaretti came in as a courtesy runner for Hackathorn and was brought in when Banks was hit by a pitch.
''They gave us some opportunities and we took advantage of them,'' McLeod said. ''Not to take anything away from our guys. We played hard and did the things we were supposed to do when teams make mistakes, and we took advantage of it.''
When the inning was over, Park had built a 5-0 lead and then added three more runs in the fourth with hits by Grove and Ethan Jacobs.
''We had some key hits,'' McLeod noted. ''That always helps.''
Pat Pizzoferrato scored in the fifth for Steubenville (3-1) off a deep drive into left field by Justin Corsi. A Corsi flyout in the seventh gave Matt Petrella time to score as the teams arrived at the final score.
Wheeling Park 9, Steubenville 2
Steubenville 000 010 1 - 2 5 3
Wheeling Park 140 301 x - 9 8 2
STEUBENVILLE: Westlake (LP, 2K, 0BB) and McClure. Pizzoferrato 2D, rbi; Corsi rbi.
WHEELING PARK: Crow (WP, 3K, 4W), Stewart (3K, 1W), McCave (1K, 4W) and Hackathorn. Grove 2 rbi; Hackathorn rbi; Jacobs 2S, rbi; Jackson S, rbi; Banks 2S; Kowalo 2S; Crow 2S.