St. C. remains alive with win

Plays Cambridge today at 3

CAMBRIDGE — St. Clairsville’s backs are firmly planted against the wall.

Post 159 knows that its next loss spells the end of its season after it fell into the loser’s bracket of the American Legion Region 8 Tournament being held at Cambridge City Park.

Sunday afternoon, it’s backs got a little closer to the wall when it spotted Zanesville a 6-0 lead. However, the two-time defending Region 8 champions responded like you would have expected.

St. Clairsville — which was limited to just two hits in the opening four innings — exploded with 15 hits and 14 runs in its next five trips to the bat rack en route to a 14-7 victory and a return trip to Don Coss Field today at 3 against Cambridge, which ousted Tusky County in the middle game of the tripleheader.

“Ice cold would be an understatement to describe (the offense) during the first four innings,” St. C. head coach Mike Muklewicz said. “I can’t explain it. We’ve gone through this a few times this season. The kids battled, never gave up and lived to fight another day.”

It was in the fifth inning where St. Clairsville (17-10) started to establish the momentum. It sent nine to the plate and scored five runs. Mason Ramsay, who earned the pitching win in relief, delivered a big, two-run double off the left-field fence. Nick Bilyeu posted a RBI triple and Zach Greene also had a RBI double in the inning.

After Zanesville scored an unearned run in the home half of the fifth, Post 159 took control for good. The offense kept producing.

Jayden Starks led off the sixth with a double and Zac Clark reached on an error, which set the tables for Kyle Storer, who delivered a run-scoring hit. Matthew Busby also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, which gave St. C. its first lead.

Post 159 tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth with two coming from catcher Jakob Jarvis’ lined single. Bilyeu capped the scoring by driving in two runs in the ninth with a base hit.

Meanwhile, Ramsay gave a solid performance on the mound in his three-plus innings of work. He turned it over to Greene, who got the final six outs.

After taking Saturday off and facing the possibility of a doubleheader today, Muklewicz believes the continuity of playing will allow his club to continue its hitting momentum.

“The days off hurt you because there’s nothing like being out (on the field) seeing the live pitching,” Muklewicz said. “You can’t replace being in a game every single day. The kids hit great late in the game, and I don’t have an answer as to what the difference was from early in the game, but our pitching kept us in it long enough for our offense to get going. We just have to continue to build off of this.”