STEUBENVILLE - There was plenty of solid pitching and defense to go along with a few timely hits.
Just what you'd expect in an all-star baseball game.
The senior standouts of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference got one final go-around on the baseball diamond in their high school uniforms as the annual George Kovalick All-Star Classic was held on the pristine Vacarro Field diamond Monday evening.
SHADYSIDE’S Adam Stupak tries to field an errant throw at second base during Monday’s George Kovalick OVAC?All-Star Classic at Steubenville’s Vacarro Field. West Virginia rallied for a 6-5 victory. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
MONROE CENTRAL pitcher Kordell Antill makes an over-the-shoulder catch of a pop-up during Monday’s OVAC?All-Star Baseball Game at Vacarro Field.
West Virginia rallied from as many as three runs down in the middle of the contest to post a 6-5 victory against its cross-river rivals.
"This was so much fun, it was unbelievable," said Magnolia and West Virginia skipper Dave Cisar, who just 48 hours prior had his team playing in the Class A state title game. "Anybody and everybody should have the opportunity to coach an all-star game."
West Virginia, which had rarely threatened after it pushed across three runs in the bottom of the first, got to Ohio's third pitcher of the afternoon, Matt Petrella of Steubenville, in the sixth for a run.
Zach Winland drove in Cameron's Mark Walker, who had drawn a walk to begin the frame, with a single, making it a 5-4 reading.
Petrella worked out of a jam in the seventh when he stranded a West Virginia runner at second base in the seventh.
He wasn't as fortunate in the eighth, however.
After inducing a routine fly to Indian Creek's Alex Young, who had two base hits as he took a break from his training for the state track meet to suit up one last time in the Redskins' baseball uniform.
Oak Glen's Troy Smith singled and moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. The next Mountaineer hitter rolled out to short. Trevor Stewart laced a RBI triple into the gap that scored Smith and knotted the game.
Joey Myers drove in the game-winning run with a single.
That proved to be enough for John Marshall's Jeremiah Fromhart, who worked the final two innings to earn the victory. He recorded the first two outs of the ninth and then Buckeye Trail's Zach Roe hit looper into shallow leftcenter and hustled it into a double, but Fromhart buckled down and thwarted the threat with a strikeout to end the game.
"Fromhart did a great job out there on the mound," Cisar said. "We had a little fun with him throwing that change-up and then throwing that heater. That was a huge hit by Myers and this was just a whole lot of fun."
Ohio's offense, which pounded out 13 hits, received a double and RBI from Steubenville Central's Joe DeFallo, Petrella had a RBI and a single. SCC's Kyle Laukert had two singles. Alex Jones of Edison had a RBI triple. Young had two singles.
Monroe Central's Kordell Antil played and pitched well. He had a single at the plate and worked three scoreless innings. He fanned three and didn't allow a hit during his time on the bump.
The game's best defensive play was provided by Bridgeport's Jonathan Kreither, who made a heck of a diving catch on a ball slicing away from him down the right field line.
All told, the defense was outstanding, not counting the three errors committed. The teams combined to turn four double plays in the game that lasted 1 hour, 55 minutes.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org