Fayette Patriots ‘unofficial’ Beast 19U winners

• Jefferson County Post 33 falls to Armstrong Grizzlies in semifinal at Vaccaro Field in Steubenville

STEUBENVILLE — Even good teams have bad days. Such was the case for the No. 2 seed Jefferson County Post 33 Legion baseball team in an unofficial semifinal of the 31st annual Edgar Martin Beast of the East tournament Monday afternoon at Vaccaro Field.

Trailing by one run, the No. 6 seed Armstrong Grizzlies tallied five runs in the top of the fifth inning en route to a 7-4 victory against Jefferson County in the first game of a doubleheader.

“We stunk,” Jefferson County (31-7) head coach Anthony Pierro said. “We didn’t do anything well. We didn’t play with any energy. We thought all we had to do was show up and we were going to win. If we continue to do that, we are going to lose every game we play. We did not play together as a team. We played as individuals.”

The loss snaps Post 33’s nine-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Armstrong Grizzlies advanced to the unofficial tournament final to take on the No. 4 seed Fayette Patriots in the nightcap. The Patriots won, 3-2.

Anthony Sinicropi started on the mound and took the loss for Jefferson County. He struck out three, walked one and allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. Matt Bell replaced him with two outs in the fifth. Bell struck out three, walked two and did not allow a run while giving up two hits in his 2 1/3 innings of relief work.

The Grizzlies also used multiple pitchers. Brian Layton started, did not record a strikeout or a walk and allowed one run on three hits in three innings of work on the mound. Caleb Harriger came on to start the fourth inning, and he picked up the win. Harriger struck out one, walked one and allowed two runs on three hits in his one inning on the mound. Guy Deleonardis came on to start the bottom of the fifth and pitched the rest of the game. Deleonardis did not record a strikeout or a walk, while allowing one run on four hits.

Though Post 33 produced 10 hits, it had a bit of a rough day at the plate. Alec McBane belted a double and a solo home run. Noah Fayak collected three singles, and Luke Zorne and George Ash each recorded two singles and an RBI. Andrew Kinney delivered a triple, and Klay Cottis tallied an RBI.

“We had a couple hard-hit balls, but we had a lot of pop-ups today,” Pierro said. “One of our strengths is our team speed, but we had a lot of pop-ups and, as a result, we could not utilize our advantage.”

Thirteen of Post 33’s 21 outs came on balls hit in the air.

The Grizzlies tallied 13 hits, two of which went for extra bases, in the victory. Deleonardis delivered two singles and two RBIs. Noah Gillette collected a two-run triple, and Corey Cavalier recorded three singles. Steve O’Donnell and Harriger each produced an RBI single. Tanner Bordick contributed two singles and Eli Wiles doubled.

The hosts tied the score with a run in the bottom of the third. Fayak singled, stole second and base and scored on a base hit by Zorne to tie the score at 1.

Armstrong answered right back with a run in the fourth to regain the lead. The run scored on a groundout off of the bat of Deleonardis.

Post 33 produced a pair of runs in the home half of the inning to take the lead.

Kinney collected a triple to start the inning, and he scored on a fielder’s choice to knot the score at 2-all. Cottis ended up on second after the throw home got away from the catcher.

Then with one out, Ash singled home Cottis to give Jefferson County a 3-2 advantage.

Unfortunately, the lead did not last long as the Grizzlies scored five runs in the fifth to take a 7-3 lead.

Gillette tallied a two-run triple, while Harriger and Deleonardis each singled home a run. The other run in the inning was scored on a wild pitch.

McBane pulled Jefferson County to within 7-4 with one out in the sixth when he belted a solo home run over the fence in right. Ash followed with a base hit, but a 6-4-3 double play ended the inning.

Post 33 will look to get back on track as Jefferson County hits the road to play Brilliant Post 573 at 6 p.m. at Bill Mazeroski Field.

“We have to get back after it tomorrow,” Pierro said. “We have to play with energy. We will see if the guys bring any energy to the field tomorrow.”

Even with the loss to the Grizzlies, Jefferson County remains the official 19U Beast of the East champion as a result of being the highest seed remaining after the final two games of the official tournament were rained out Sunday at Vaccaro Field. The officials of the Beast of the East would not let the teams play the final two games of the tournament Monday, but the head coaches of the three remaining teams got together and decided they would play the games themselves, with the winner taking home the trophy.