STEUBENVILLE - Solid pitching mixed with the right amount of clutch hitting powered Big Red to a 3-1 victory over East Liverpool in sectional baseball semifinal action at Vacarro Field Friday.
Justin Corsi no-hit the Potters in going the route on the hill. The senior righty fanned 10 and allowed just two free passes.
East Liverpool's lone run came in the sixth. Tyler Recktenwald reached on a wild pitch following one of Corsi's punch outs. He swiped second and third then touched the dish on Jay Lane's grounder to second.
Justin Corsi -- Mike Mathison
"Justin pitched a great game for us," said Fred Heatherington, whose club now stands at 21-4 and has won 11 straight. "He was in control all the way and threw a no-hitter. You can't expect much more than that."
Corsi walked Recktenwald to start the game but then picked the Potter off first. Hunter Maze led off the Potter second by reaching via an error. Corsi whiffed the next two hitters. The third out came when shortstop Bryan Pierro made an outstanding over the shoulder catch of a Ryan Bombich pop up.
After leaving the sacks full in the first, Big Red loaded them again in the second. This time sophomore Anthony Zorne sent a two-out single up the middle, scoring Kasey Peterson and Lucas Herrington, who both recorded base knocks. Dimitri Collaros collected the other hit of the frame, a sharp single to right.
Steubenville 3, East Liverpool 1
East Liverpool 000 001 0 - 1 0 1
Steubenville 021 000 x - 3 8 4
EAST LIVERPOOL (10-11): Maze (LP, 2BB, 3K, 3 HBP) and Meek. Lane RBI.
STEUBENVILLE (21-4): Corsi (WP, 2BB, 10K) and McClurg. Pierro S; Collaros S; Zorne S, 2 RBI; McClurg D; Corsi S, RBI; Peterson 2S; Herrington S.
Big Red's final tally came in the third. Senior catcher Kai McClurg got things going with a first pitch double to the left-center gap. Corsi's soft liner to right allowed McClurg to scamper home.
"We played pretty well for not having played for a week," Heatherington added. "When you are in the gym and not on the field, things might not go the way you want. But, we hung in there and put the play in ball when we had to."
Heatherington's top-seeded squad (which stranded 10 runners during the contest) nicked losing pitcher Maze for eight hits. Peterson led the attack with a pair of singles.
"He (Maze) did everything we asked of him," stated East Liverpool skipper Ryan Willis. "Big Red is a great hitting team and he held them to three runs. We couldn't have asked for much more out of Hunter."
The Potters finished their campaign at 10-11 but Willis was extremely happy with the strides his team made.
"They're a battling crew," he pointed out. "Where we were at the beginning of the season compared to where we are not is a testament to the kids, how tough they are and what they are willing to do in order to build the program up and try to become winners.
"They (Big Red) beat us 10-0 the first time we played. They are a great baseball team and we knew that coming in. We knew we had to play a solid game and not make any mistakes in order to compete with them. For the most part, we were able to do that."
Big Red will go for its 31st sectional championship today when it battles Buckeye Local in the upper bracket finals. Weather permitting, the title tilt will begin at 1 p.m. The winner advances to the district at Warsaw River View.
"We're moving on and that's all we want do," Heatherington commented. "We play at 1 p.m. and our kids have to come ready to go."