Post 33 ready for state test today

FIRING — Jefferson County Teramana Post 33 catcher David Ferroni throws to second base during the Region 7 tournament last Monday against Coshocton Post 65. -- Joe Catullo

LANCASTER — The Legion baseball scene slowly has been going away for the past few years, especially this season.

The likes of Weirton Post 10 and Toronto Post 86 did not exist. Jefferson County Teramana Post 33, however, bursted through the uncertainty and now are back in the state tournament for the first time since 2018, with the ultimate goal of winning it all for the first time since 2007.

“What I’ve told the kids and myself is that we never won a state championship in high school. This (Legion tournament) is something to be proud of,” head coach Anthony Pierro said. “These are the memories that can last for a lifetime, and they know we have a really good shot.

“Because we didn’t have a state tournament last year (due to COVID-19), I believe all but like one kid are in their first state tournament for Legion. This is something new and hopefully something that they’ll cherish and want to come back.”

What makes Pierro and the rest of Post 33 very confident is their pitching. George Ash and Aiden Fernandez lead the charge, while others such as Caesen Sutton and Ty Householder are reliable if called upon.

Pierro said he plans on taking it game by game to see who toes the rubber. That could start as early as the first game at 2 p.m. today against Napoleon.

“We will go with George in the first game, then we’ll most likely go with Aiden,” he said. “After that, we’ll just go with it. You may have to bring guys in because you can’t throw more than 30 pitches and pitch the next game. If (Game 1 today) gets tight, we’ll bring Aiden in, and that could change up the rest of the week.

“Everybody just has to be ready defensively. We have to prepare to use everybody.”

Ash was one single away from tossing a five-inning perfect game against Brilliant Post 573 in the Region 7 tournament last weekend. Fernandez picked up the win in the clincher last Monday against Coshocton.

If Jefferson County wins its Game 1, then the second will occur at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. If it falls, it will play later on today in the double-elimination bracket.

“We have 16 guys on the roster. Like I told them (Sunday), ‘If you’re not starting, then you have to be ready to pinch hit, pinch run, be a defensive replacement.’ They have to be ready at all costs,” Pierro said.

“We played like 30, 40 games with two older teams and a 16U team (in 2020). Most of the kids played on one of the three teams. That’s actually why we did that because we didn’t want to lose kids. We wanted to keep the program going, and I think it helped out for this year’s team.”

Post 33 checked into its hotels on Monday before heading out for a banquet for all of the state qualifiers. A good night sleep will only be beneficial for a squad that ended the regular season on a roll, including capturing a tournament in Wheeling and falling just short in the always-tough Beast of the East.

Pierro said he plans on using the same lineup that was featured in the Region 7 tourney, or at the very least ones similar to that. No matter who he chooses to play and where they play in the field or bat in the starting lineup, Pierro has confidence in all of his players, whether they hail from Steubenville, Catholic Central, Edison, Harrison Central or anywhere else.

“What I think makes this year’s team special is, from the first guy to the 16th guy, everybody contributed whether it was hitting or pitching. And, not just contributing but also being X factors,” he said. “I really, really believe with these 16 guys and the pitching we have, I think it makes us really special.

“If we get to the third game, it’ll really test your pitching. I really believe that if we can get to the third and fourth games, our pitching will help us prevail. We just have to do our job at the plate and find a way to score four or five runs.”


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