CHILLICOTHE - Nobody said this was going to be easy. Although St. Clairsville's Sammy Vincenzo certainly made it look that way.
Facing a formidable 24-5 Frankfort Adena combine, Vincenzo rose to the occasion. So what else is new?
St. C.'s savvy southpaw fired a three-hit shutout and the Red Devils recorded a 4-0 Thursday D-III Regional semifinal victory at VA Memorial Stadium.
A happy group of St. Clairsville Red Devils, including skipper Tom Sliva, celebrate Thursday’s Division III Regional semifinal win over Frankfort Adena.
"This game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent skill," Vincenzo reported moments after mowing down 15 Warrior hitters on strikes. "I felt very confident out there and threw most pitches where I wanted to."
A majority of which blew past one Adena batter after another. "No one had shut us out this season. Vincenzo did a great job...especially keeping us off balance," admitted Warriors' skipper' Ed Yates.
Vincenzo's second consecutive 15-strikeout performance in the postseason drew high accolades from his coach. "Just another amazing job out there by Sammy," St. C. skipper Tom Sliva related. "I thought he was in control the entire game."
Vincenzo allowed no more than three hits and four baserunners. "He's really great to catch," beamed St. C. junior Riley Carlton. "Sammy had command of most all his pitches."
The 20-6 Red Devils were back at it this afternoon (12:30) vying against defending regional champion Wheelerburg for a berth in next weekend's state event at Columbus.
St. C. compiled single runs in its first four at-bats while the Warriors staged only one major threat.
"I thought we came out very aggressive and that's what we talked about," Sliva indicated. "We told the kids to get off the bus excited and they were."
In the Devils' first frame, leadoff man Ben Evick worked a walk and moved up a base when Vincenzo drilled a base hit. One out later, shortstop D.J. Busby delivered a run-scoring hit with Evick beating the throw home.
An inning later, Evick sent an opposite-field hit to left, swiped second base, then raced home when Vincenzo delivered again with a ribbie hit.
Busby singled leading off the third and scored on a close play at home moments later when third baseman Luke Smith clouted a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
St. C. scored once more in the fourth. Rightfielder Chris Milhoan reached on an error. After designated hitter Greyson Loweecy socked a single to center, Vincenzo delivered again at the plate, this time drilling a run-scoring double down the right field line.
Vincenzo's three hits and two RBIs paced the win. Busby also produced a multi-hit outing. Evick scored two runs. Adena's all-district performer Kirk Yates, delivered a double.
Yates, Warriors' starter Griffen Bowdle and reliever Auston Hottinger teamed for four Ks and three walks.
Frankfort Adena 000 000 0 - 0 3 2
St. Clairsville 111 100 x - 4 7 0
Batteries: Bowdle, Yates (1), Hottinger (5) and Harper. Vincenzo and Carlton.
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