St. Clairsville wins two in Cambridge Tourney

• Post 159 defeats Parkersburg, Cambridge; now 13-3

CAMBRIDGE — When Mike Muklewicz found out his St. Clairsville Post 159 American Legion baseball team was not registered for the Edgar Martin Beast of the East Tournament, he quickly got on the telephone seeking somewhere else to play. He reached out to Cambridge Post 84 to see if it had room in its 27th annual Don Coss 4th of July Tournament. It did.

St. Clairsville (13-3) ran its winning streak to nine straight with a pair of wins in Guernsey County Thursday. Post 159 defeated Parkersburg Post 15 by a 7-4 count in the first game before holding off host Cambridge Post 84, 3-2, in the nightcap.

“We had a good day,” Muklewicz noted. “We pitched really well and got some timely hits when we needed them.”

In the opener, Will Balgo, making his second consecutive start, pitched into the seventh inning. The righthander finished with a trio of strikeouts and three walks. He allowed five hits and all four runs.

“That was a bulldog effort by Will. Once again, we didn’t know what we were going to get from him today,” Muklewicz admitted. “We liked what we saw from him in his last start (last Sunday), so we decided to throw him out there again today.”

After giving up a pair of single runs in the first and second innings — the second tally was unearned — Balgo retired 10 of the 12 batters he faced from the third through the sixth innings before he encountered trouble in the seventh.

“He battled and battled,” Muklewicz noted.

Trailing 1-0 after half-an-inning, Post 159 had runners on second and third with two outs when Dylan Gregorcic, who wasn’t in the starting lineup, fouled off a handful of pitches before slapping a single to right-center that scored Cole Porter and Jacob Probst.

“That was a huge hit for a kid who wasn’t even in the lineup to start the game,” Muklewicz noted. “He replaced (Jakob) Jarvis in the bottom of the first and came up big.”

Jarvis sustained a cut to his upper lip while warming up Balgo in the bullpen prior to the start of the game. Jarvis was taken to the hospital for medical attention and returned before the game ended. He did not need stitches.

After Post 15 (13-12) evened the count at 2-all in the top of the second, St. Clairsville tallied two in the bottom of the inning to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Drake Dobson and Isaac Jozwiak both reached on throwing errors to start the inning. With runners on second and third, Matthew Busby dribbled a ball towards short that he legged out for an infield single as Dobson scored. The ball got away at first as Jozwiak took third. With one out, Porter sent a flyball deep enough to left that plated Jozwiak to make it 4-2.

Dobson added a sacrifice fly in the third and probst laced a run-scoring single an inning later as the margin increased to 6-2. Mason Ramsay’s double to deep left-center in the sixth chased in Busby with the final Post 159 tally.

“We scored in every inning except one. That’s a good sign,” Muklewicz added. “We just couldn’t get that one big inning to bust it open.”

In the second game, Ramsay sent a laser over the left field fence with a runner aboard in the top of the third to stake Post 159 to a 2-0 lead. It became 3-0 in the fourth when Gregorcic singled with one out to plate Probst with what turned out to be the game-winner.

Cambridge, which knocked off Parkersburg 9-3 in the first game Thursday, scored twice in the seventh before Dobson got out of trouble. He earned the win in relief of Kyle Storer.

Probst doubled twice and singled.

St. Clairsville is scheduled to play Coshocton today at 5 and Findlay tonight at 7:30. There are no games set for Saturday, with the pairings for Championship Sunday to be determined in the one-pool event.

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