STEUBENVILLE - The Big Red baseball team earned its eighth-straight win with a 10-0, five inning shutout of Union Local on Wednesday.
Steubenville improves to 18-4 with just two more regular season games to play.
"We're playing well at the right time," said Big Red coach Fred Heatherington. "We're getting good at-bats and we're making plays.
QUICK PLAY — Steubenville second baseman Paul Defrances throws to second after forcing out Nick Bilyen of Union Local in the fifth inning of a game at Vaccaro Field on Wednesday. Big Red won 10-0.
-- Matthew Peaslee
"Our pitchers are doing their jobs, too. When you do all that in high school, you're doing a pretty good job."
Paul Runkel continued that trend of mound success with his most recent outing at Vaccaro Field.
Making his fourth start, the sophomore struck out two batters and issued three walks, while scattering four hits - all singles.
"Paul threw strikes, they put the ball in play, and our defense did their job real well," Heatherington said.
Runkel made his last start on April 25 and went the distance in a 14-7 win over Indian Creek. He struck out three and walked three in that game, which was played at the John Muth Recreational Complex in Mingo Junction.
"He hadn't pitched for a while," Heatherington said. "He's improved. He's settled down from the beginning of the year after some early struggles - maybe it's because he's gotten a feel for things out there. The last two times he's been on the mound he's thrown well."
Early runs from the Big Red offense may have put him more at ease.
Steubenville plated three in the bottom of the first as Anthony Zorne, Brandon Jones and Kai McClurg each collected an RBI.
Four more came across in the second as Kyle Peterson led off on a hit by pitch. Anthony Pierro then singled and Dimitrios Collaros reached on an error before Zorne tallied his second RBI, scoring Peterson.
Petrides drove in a pair with the next at-bat on a single up the middle.
"Putting up some runs early really helped," Heatherington said. "We got on the board early and played an all-around good game."
For Union Local (5-15), Travis James singled in the first inning, Eric Dunfee and Shane Smolenak reached in the third and Cody Burnett had a hit in the fifth.
The Jets committed three errors all in the second inning.
"(Runkel) threw good offspeed stuff for them," said Union Local coach Christopher Schmitt. "He threw strikes and we hit the ball, they made plays behind him. We couldn't do that behind our pitchers.
Isaac Hearn started for the Jets, lasting just 1 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on four hits with one walk and no strikeouts. Griffey Girty came on in the second and struck out three.
"There was no effort," Schmitt said. "We were completely dead out there. That's the story of the day."
Peterson, Lucas Herrington and Pierro reached base in order to start the bottom of the third inning. Paul Defrances drew a walk that scored Peterson before Zorne drove in Herrington and Pierro for his third and fourth RBI.
"Our kids are playing well and that's what we like at the end of the season," Heatherington said.
Steubenville's next game is today against St. Clairsville, back at Vaccaro Field.
Union Local takes on Bellaire Saturday.
"They have to be motivated," Schmitt said. "We know Bellaire is going to throw mid-80s and we have to be able to hit.
"That's what we're going to be practicing the next two days."
Steubenville 10, Union Local 0
Union Local 000 00 0 4 3
Steubenville 343 0x 10 9 0
UNION LOCAL: Hearn (LP 0K, 1BB), Girty (2, 3K, 3BB) and Burnett. Smolneck S; James S; Dunfee S; Burnett S.
STEUBENVILLE: Runkel (WP 2K, 3BB) and McClurg. Pierro 2S; Zorne 2S, 4RBI; DeFrances RBI; Petrides 2S, 2RBI; Wolfe S; Jones D, RBI; Peterson S; Herrington RBI.