By RICK THORP
Times Leader Sports Writer
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Patrick Buchanan drove in Zuke Jacob with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday and St. Clairsville edged Buckeye Local, 3-2, in the first game of a twinbill at Memorial Park.
BUCKEYE LOCAL’S Eric Williams delivers a pitch during the Panthers’ game against St. Clairsville at Memorial Park Saturday afternoon.
''Zuke did a nice job,'' Red Devils head coach Tom Sliva said. ''He's been on the shelf a bit, we've been working him through some things. He laced one, stole second, and then Buchanan came through with a big hit.''
Buckeye Local starter Eric Williams had retired 10 straight before Jacob pinch hit for Luke Slavik in the eight hole. He immediately sliced a single to left.
Moments later, Jacob stole second with Branden Ducker at the plate. Ducker popped out to second for out No. 2.
That left things up to Buchanan, who had already singled twice and grounded out to short. The sophomore sent a Williams pitch into the gap in right centerfield, prompting Jacobs to race home into the arms of his cheering teammates.
''We're really struggling at the plate right now,'' Sliva lamented. ''But, we're trying to battle through it. We're pitching well and playing good defense.''
Pitching was certainly a strong suit for the Red Devils. Cody Goletz worked six strong innings, allowing three hits, striking out 10 and walking one. He gave way to Ben Coleman, who worked a perfect seventh.
All told, the Red Devils retired the final 13 Panthers batters.
''We hit the ball hard, we just have to get more guys on,'' Buckeye Local head coach Rick DeLuca said.
The final Buckeye Local baserunner was Jonathan Borkoski, who was walked in the third. He followed Eric Banal, whose mammouth two-run homer to left scored Chase Hopkins and provided the Panthers with their only offense of the game, giving Buckeye Local a 2-0 lead.
''Sometimes it just comes down to hitting and you just have to hit it more than you are,'' DeLuca said.
The Panthers got a baserunner on in the first innings, but weren't able to get anything going. St. Clairsville, too, had rnners on during the first innings, but, like it's opponent, wasn't able to score until the third.
Dylan Busby led off with a single then stole second. Buchanan followed with a single to right, setting up runners at the corners with no outs.
Malik Gummer grounded out to second, but Busby scored, making the score 2-1..
Goletz led off the fourth by ripping a double down the leftfield line. After Ryan Busby grounded out to second, sending Goletz to third, Luke Slavik grounded out to short, scoring the pitcher and knotting the game at 2-2.
From there, both pitchers stood steadfast until St. Clairsville broke through in the seventh.
''All three pitchers really did an outstanding job,'' DeLuca said.
IN GAME 2, Buckeye Local scored five runs in the seventh to rally from an 8-2 deficit to post a stunning 10-9 victory.
Borkoski's three-run double highlighted the frame for the Panthers (6-7). Chase Hopkins added two singles and a double.
Joel Giffin paced the St. Clairsville with two singles and two RBI, while Lewis Mitchell had three singles.
Monday, St. Clairsville visits a suddenly hot Martins Ferry club, while Buckeye Local welcomes Bellaire