St. Clairsville edged at Coss Invite

CAMBRIDGE — It’s a well-known fact that beating a team three times during a summer in American Legion baseball is hard to do. Doing it four times is even rarer.

St. Clairsville Post 159 found that out the hard way Sunday at steamy Don Coss Field inside the Cambridge City Parks as Cambridge Post 84 scored four times in the top of the seventh inning and then held on for an 8-7 triumph in the championship game of the 27th annual Don Coss Invitational.

Post 159 had won the previous three meetings this summer, all coming in Guernsey County. The fourth wasn’t to be.

Trailing 8-4 heading to the bottom of the seventh, St. Clairsville displayed a never-say-die attitude as Kyle Storer led off with a single off Post 84 lefty Trent Valentine. Two outs and a pitching change later, Cole Porter recorded his fourth single of the game and Dylan Gregorcic reached on an infield single as Storer scored. Drake Dobson sent a rope to dead center that one-hopped the fence. Porter and Gregorcic scored, but Dobson was called out trying for a triple in a bang-bang play to end the game.

“The kids battled both games. I’ve been stressing our pitch selection and in the first game (a 7-5 win over Findlay) we drew 12 walks because of it,” St. Clairsville (14-5) manager Mike Muklewicz said. “I was saying it more from the hitting aspect, but we had a lot of good at-bats to draw 12 walks.

“It was a good weekend. Every game this group is growing a little bit and everyone is understanding their roles,” he continued. “I’m proud of them for the way they battled today. I hate to see a game end on a call like that, but it is what it is.”

Post 159 trailed 2-0 after giving up a pair of runs in the first inning, but Kyle Storer evened things in the third with a two-run double to deep right that plated Isaac Jozwiak and Mason Ramsay. The Belmont Countians took a 3-2 lead an inning later when Jakob Jarvis raced home on a fielder’s choice.

Cambridge re-gained the lead in the fifth, 4-3, as a key error and a run-scoring single off the bat of Clark Jennings, but St. Clairsville drew even again in the sixth as Dobson’s sacrifice fly to right knocked in Porter.

Dobson finished with a trio of runs batted in while Storer added a single to his two-run double. Jarvis also smacked a double.

Mason Ramsay, the second of three Post 159 hurlers, suffered the loss. The three — Storer and Porter — teamed for five strikeouts and a pair of walks. However, they surrendered 15 hits.

In the opener, St. Clairsville trailed Findlay 5-4 entering the bottom of the sixth before scoring three times for the repeat victory. The same two teams met Saturday morning with the same result.

Jarvis, Porter and Gregorcic drew consecutive base-on-balls with the bases-loaded to spark the rally.

Post 159 managed just four hits. Busby had an RBI double in the second and Jacob Probst singled home a run in the fourth.

Porter picked up the win in relief of Dobson.

St. Clairsville hosts Wheeling Post 1 Tuesday at Memorial Park in St. Clairsville before entertaining Jefferson County Post 33 on Thursday. In between, Post 159 visits Marietta on Wednesday. All three contests have 6 p.m. first pitches.