Big Red answers the Call, defeats Beavers 12-0

STEUBENVILLE — Steubenville Big Red tuned up for today’s OVAC tournament by blanking Beaver Local 12-0 in four and a half innings Friday at Vaccaro Field.

Steubenville, the top Class 4A seed, will entertain fourth-seeded Harrison Central in the conference semifinals. The first pitch is set for 2 p.m.

Ryan Neely limited Beaver Local to four hits (all singles) in posting the pitching victory. The junior righty, making his first Big Red start, fanned three and allowed just one walk. Neely worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the second by recording a strikeout and inducing a routine pop fly.

After walking Logan Bouscher to load the sacks, he retired the next 11 Beaver Local batters he faced.

“Neely threw a good game for us,” Fred Heatherington said after watching his Big Red improve to 15-3. “He did well and hopefully he can help us out down the road.

“He threw a lot of strikes, which is good because he hasn’t pitched. He’s been a hurt a little but we finally were able to get him out there.”

Big Red scored four times in the first before adding eight more in the third. Steubenville finished with nine hits, drew eight walks and had three batters clipped by pitches.

Michael Pierro paced the plate attack with two doubles and a single. He knocked home four runs. His two-bagger to deep right keyed Big Red’s opening inning uprising. Gino Pierro had a two-run double in the third. He also singled.

Johnny Agresta singled twice, his first inning hit bringing home a run. Ryan Bernard and Ethan Duggan also had RBI for Big Red, which rebounded from a 3-2 defeat at Boardman on Thursday.

“We hit the ball well and ran the bases well,” Heatherington noted. “Overall, it was a good game and we were able to bounce back from a tough loss. Now we have to be ready to play on Saturday.”

Big Red, which captured the OVAC 5A championship in 2016, will be gunning for its 23rd conference crown.

Luke Call, Noah West, Dean McPeek and Zach Boni recorded hits for the Beavers, now 3-10.

“We would have liked to have scored some runs and at least make a game of it,” Beaver Local coach Mike Agnew stated. “We had some chances early but couldn’t get that key hit (the Beavers stranded five runners in the first two innings). We knew coming in it was going to be tough but it’s good to face competition like Big Red.

“We’re coming around and still have a lot of games to play. Hopefully, every game is a learning experience for our guys and we’ll keep working to get better.”

The Beavers host Salem today for a doubleheader.

BL: 0-0-0-0-0–0-4-3

ST: 4-0-8-0-x–12-9-0

ST–Neely, wp (3K, 1W) and Gulan.

BL–Luke Call, lp (2K, 4BB, 2HBP), Dean McPeek (1IP, 4BB, 1HBP) Ryan Zywiec (1IP) and Zach Boni.