Post 159 ‘Zuke’s’ Post 34

CADIZ – St Clairsville took round one of its American Legion baseball regular-season series with Cadiz with an 8-1 decision Thursday night at Mazeroski Field.

Post 159 played well in all three facets of the 1-hour, 53 minute contest as it banged out 10 hits, received a complete-game effort on the mound from Michael “Zuke” Jacob and played errorless ball.

“We’ve got some veteran guys in our lineup and today they put the bat on the ball,” St. Clairsville manager Michael “Chop” Jacob said. “Michael pitched a good game again today, but we also made some plays behind him.

“We’ve got a pretty solid defense with our infield and a lot of speed in our outfield,” he added.

“That was a huge play by Parker (Dyson) in the sixth.”

With St. Clairsville (8-3) ahead 8-1, Cadiz had runners on second and third with two outs. Matt Dunfee sent a shot that appeared headed for rightfield and two runs, but the 6-5 Dyson – Post 159s’ first baseman – stuck out his right hand and snagged the screamer to end the threat.

“That was a really big play,” Zuke Jacob said of Dyson’s gem. “Those guys really play good defense behind me.”

Post 159 made it 1-0 with an unearned run in the second as Zuke Jacob scored on the first of six Post 34 errors on the night. Malik Gummer made it 2-0 with a two-out single.

Cadiz got one of those tallies back in the bottom of the inning. Nick Staten tripled to right-center with one out Austin Marshall’s liner to right-center was off the glove of Daulton Freeman as Staten scored. Marshall was thrown out attempting for two bases on an alert play by Gummer.

That would be all the damage Zuke Jacob would allow. The crafty southpaw scattered five hits, three over the final five innings, while striking out nine and walking three. He threw 110 pitches, with 71 being strikes. He threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the 28 batters he faced.

“I felt good today,” Zuke Jacob allowed. “(Pitching) Coach (Mike) Muklewicz came out and settled me down after I walked the first two batters in the sixth. I was able to work my way out of that jam.”

While the St. Clairsville graduate was having his way with the opposing hitters, his teammates were padding their lead with five runs in the fourth inning before an out was recorded to bump the count to 7-1.

Dyson led off with a double to left-center and Freeman singled to center as Dyson stopped at third. Gummer’s grounder was misplayed as Dyson came across the plate, making it 3-1. After Bailey McGrath was hit-by-a-pitch, Eric Banal belted a two-run double to right-center as the margin grew to 5-1. Hunter Westlake reached on another error as Dustin Redish’s night on the hill was over. Brendan Graves relieved and was promptly greeted by Dillon Curtin with a single up the middle.

Westlake’s RBI single in the fifth concluded the scoring as McGrath touched the plate.

The meat of St. Clairsville’s batting order (3-4-5) combined for six hits and four runs batted in. Banal (single, double, 2RBI) led the way, while Westlake (single, double, RBI) and Curtin (two singles, RBI) also enjoyed fine games at the plate.

St. Clairsville gets a well-deserved two days off before hosting St. Mary’s for two games Sunday at Memorial Park. Post 159 had played six games in as many days.

Cadiz first-year manager Jerry Graham was unavailable for comment following the game. He had to leave the contest midway through to attend an Edgar Martin Beats of the East meeting in Wheeling.

Dustin Rath led Post 34 with a single and double. Eric Williams also doubled. The top four batters were a combined 0-for-10 with three walks.

St. Clairsville 8, Cadiz 1

St. Clairsville 020 510 0 – 8 10 0

Cadiz 010 000 0 – 1 5 6

STC-Jacob wp (9K, 3W) and Curtin; Gummer 2S, rbi; Banal S, D, 2rbi; Westlake S, D, rbi; Curtin 2S, rbi; Dyson D

C-Redish lp (3K, 2W), Graves (4), (2K, 2W), M. Dunfee (6), (1K, 1W) and Staten, Williams (5); Staten T; Williams D; Rath S, D; Marshall S, rbi

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com