St. Clairsville maintains tourney mastery, 12-2
BETHANY — St. Clairsville Post 159 might’ve endured some ups and downs so far this season, but when it comes to playing in the Beast of the East Classic, it seems as though the summer staple is a cure-all for the club.
Manager Mike Muklewicz’s squad batted around twice Saturday afternoon and came up a homer short of the cycle in the first inning en route to a 12-2, 5-inning victory against Tri-Valley Baseball in the first of two games at Bethany Park, home of the Bethany College baseball team.
With nary a cloud in the sky above it, Post 159 moved to 4-0 in the tournament — its second game was rained out Thursday — and another step closer to moving into the championship bracket today in the 19U division.
“I don’t know what it is,” Muklewicz said after St. C. improved to 19-2 in the Beast since 2016 when it won the 19U championship.
“We just love playing in this tournament. It’s a good one and we’ve put ourselves in a position to be playing at Patterson Field (today).
“We have a lot of arms and, hopefully, we can do some damage.”
It’s true. And because of only playing five innings against Tri-Valley, Muklewicz said his rotation will benefit.
“I think we have the pitching thing figured out,” he said. “And that’s the biggest thing. The kids have battled through a lot the last few weeks. I think we’re finally hitting our stride. They’re doing a great job.”
Post 159 cranked out four hits in the first, including a double from Mason Ramsay and an RBI triple by Dustin Carrothers that made the score 3-0. A double steal led to Carrothers racing home moments later, capping the inning.
St. Clairsville almost batted around in the second, too. With one away, Ramsay and Kaden Blomquist reached on singles before Billy Johnson drove them home on his homer to left that made the score 7-0.
“Billy’s homer really got us going there,” Muklewicz said. “That was huge.”
The 7-run cushion was plenty for Ramsay, who started for St. C. and only hit a batter in his two innings on the hill. Tri-Valley was limited to two hits — singles in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.
Hunter McCort worked the third and fourth innings for St. Clairsville, striking out a pair, while Matt Busby also fanned two in his one inning of pitching.
Jakob Jarvis laced an RBI double in the fourth making the score 8-0. Jake Probst’s groundout drove in Carrothers before Jake Johnson plated Jarvis with Post 159’s 10th run.
Jarvis and Probst knocked in runs in the fifth to end things.