A pair of Eastern Ohio baseball players are getting an extended summer of action as their respective American Legion teams have enjoyed successful seasons.
Monroe Central's Kordell Antill pitches for the highly regarded Russell Chadwick Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 squad, while former Buckeye Local diamond standout Josh Malesky pitches for Steubenville Teramana Argonne Post 33.
Both squads will be entered in next week's American Legion state tournament in Lancaster. The pairings will be announced Sunday night following a blind draw.
FORMER BUCKEYE Local pitcher Josh Malesky gets set to fire plateward while pitching for Steubenville Teramana Argonne Post 33 this summer. Malesky and his teammates won the District 10 Tournament and advanced to the state tournament.
Antill has turned out to be the ace-in-the-hole for Beverly/Lowell, the District 11 champions. The Monroe Central senior-to-be is unbeaten in 11 trips to the mound. His ERA is a microscopic 1.54. In 60 innings of work, he has allowed 35 hits and just 16 walks.
"My teammates have really given me a lot of run support in each of my starts," Antill said earlier in the week via telephone from his Monroe County home outside of Woodsfield. "That's really important because it allows me to be more relaxed, and not nervous."
When asked what it feels like to be part of a team that will take a modest 36-4 record into the state event, Antill really couldn't come up with many words.
"It feels good because I'm not used to winning like this," he admitted. "I can't wait (for the state tournament). I'm kind of speechless."
So, how does a kid that didn't have an exceptional junior season for the Seminoles end up on a team that could be favored to win the state title?
"I saw an advertisement in the (Marietta) paper. I went down and tried out and made the team."
The season didn't get off on the right foot for Beverly/Lowell as it dropped a season-opening doubleheader to Pickerington. However, it's been lights-out the rest of the way, with the other two setbacks coming at the hands of a pair of Michigan Travel Teams in a Troy, Ohio, Tournament in early June.
Since then, Post 389/750 has reeled off 27 consecutive victories.
However, when speaking of the state tournament, Beverly/Lowell hasn't had much success in recent years, going a meager 1-6 in its last three trips, which were all to Athens. It did capture a state title in 2006.
Malesky, meanwhile, hasn't enjoyed quite the success that Antill has, but Post 33 head coach Mark Stacy is quick to point out that the former Panthers' righthander always faces the best.
"Josh is a workhorse and has been in his three years with us. He's pitched a lot of innings for us. He might be 4-4 this year, but that is deceiving because he always faces the best teams we play."
Post 33 is 25-16 on the year and captured the crowded District 10 Tournament last week in Toronto, defeating Wayne County 12-11 in the title tilt.
In that contest, Malesky entered in the top of the fourth with the score deadlocked at 7-all. He didn't allow a run through four frames. He allowed two runs in the ninth before giving way to JoJo Pierro. He finished with five strikeouts and four walks.
Stacy was proud of Malesky's efforts.
"I can't tell you how happy I am for Josh. He has had his struggles this year, but he came in and did the job when we needed him to."
When not on the hill, the Grove City College recruit is Post 33s top pinch-hitter. He has compiled a .353 average.
"He's our No. 1 pinch-hitter and he has delivered some big hits for us."
Stacy said Malesky will definitely pitch in the state tournament, he's just not sure when.
"JoJo is our No. 1 and Jimmy Panella is our No. 2," he explained. "But Josh is our No. 3."
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