Dover ousts Steubenville

ZANESVILLE – Dover pitcher Nick Lung gave Steubenville few, if any, chances in Thursday’s Division II, Region 7 semifinal. The 6-foot left-hander gave up just three hits, walked three and struck out four in the Tornadoes’ 7-1 win over Big Red at Gant Memorial Stadium in Zanesville.

The quality, complete game start was nothing new for the senior. According to Dover coach David DiDonato, it wasn’t even Lung’s best outing.

“I’ve seen him sharper,” DiDonato said. “There’s been times when he hasn’t walked anybody. He’s a great kid and a good pitcher.”

DiDonato had the choice of throwing Lung or sophomore Keaton Lahmers. The pair split starts throughout the season, but the veteran manager opted for Lung’s experience and correlation with the Steubenville lineup.

“We knew Steubenville was a good team with those five lefty hitters, that’s why Nick was so important,” DiDonato said. “We needed that lefty in there and Nick was the guy. He’s been pitching well.

“The match up was favorable to us.”

The loss ends Big Red’s season with a record of 23-5, while snapping a 13-game winning streak.

“The kids battled all year,” said Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington. “We have nothing to be ashamed about. We played sophomores and juniors and had a great group of seniors. We had a great year, we just didn’t get where we wanted to get – only four teams do.”

Dover (22-8) surged in the top of the first inning and maintained a lead for the remainder. Big Red starting pitcher Justin Corsi walked the game’s first batter, Cory Contini, and allowed him to advance to third on a pair of wild pitches while throwing to Justin Crone. Corsi walked Crone before Kyle Abel drove in the first run on a hard single up the middle.

Two batters later, Derek Monroe brought in Crone on a sacrifice fly to left field.

Corsi threw 32 pitches in the first inning, alone. The senior had one strikeout and three walks. He was charged with six of the seven Dover runs.

Abel added an RBI double in the second inning to put the Tornadoes up, 3-0.

“The key of the game was the first two innings,” Heatherington said. “Mentally, we gave up too many opportunities. It’s just too tough to battle back in a game like that. We booted the ball in the field and didn’t throw strikes early in the game. It all just snowballed from there.”

Bryan Pierro singled to right field to lead off the bottom of the first inning, followed by a walk to Dimitrios Collaros. They were stranded, though, as the next three batters were retired.

Big Red responded in the bottom of the second with its only run. Kai McClurg led off with a single. He advanced two bases on a throwing error after Kasey Peterson flied out to centerfield. He scored on a wild pitch as Lucas Herrington walked.

Steubenville was sent down in order in the third and fourth innings. Niko Petrides wouldn’t record its next hit until the sixth inning. Big Red did put the ball in play, mostly as weak pop flies or ground balls in the infield. Lung threw 17 first-pitch strikes.

“He kept us off-balance,” Heatherington said.

Dover added two runs in both the third and fifth innings. Corsi was lifted for Devin Ferguson with two outs in the fifth. Ferguson, a sophomore, allowed three hits, no walks and no runs as he finished off the game.

“He came in, threw strikes and kept us in the game,” Heatherington said. “Devin gave us a chance to get back in it. We just couldn’t get the key hit with guys on base.”

Mason Graselli ripped a pair of singles, while Abel and Ashton Hall each had a single, double and two RBIs for Dover.

The Tornadoes will face Bloom-Carroll in today’s regional final. The Bulldogs beat Jackon, 12-0, to advance to their fourth-straight regional final.

Bloom-Carroll played in last year’s Division III state title game. It lost to Wheelersburg, 5-4. Dover, coincidentally, also ended Big Red’s basketball season with a 54-52 overtime win in the Division II district championship game at Ohio Univesity Eastern.