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Balgo powers Post 159 win

Slugger records 6 RBI in 10-0 victory

ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Will Balgo (7) is congratulated by Post 159 teammate Braylen Blomquist after Balgo hit a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning Thursday against visiting Jefferson County Teramana Post 33 on the Memorial Park diamond in St. Clairsville. Balgo had three hits and six RBI in a 10-0 mercy-rule win in five innings.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — When a batter is seeing the baseball like Will Balgo is, it looks like a beach ball coming off the pitcher’s hand.

The former St. Clairsville High standout collected three hits — a single and two doubles — while driving in six runs Thursday night as St. Clairsville Post 159 (7-2) cruised to a 10-0 American Legion victory over visiting Jefferson County Teramana Post 33 (10-6) on the sun-baked Memorial Park diamond. The contest was stopped in the bottom of the fifth due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” Balgo said when asked if he had ever driven in six runs in a game. “It’s always great when you’re hitting the ball. It’s even better when your teammates are behind you.

“It’s great to be playing. I really love baseball,” the 2021 St. C. graduate said. “This is a fun team to be on.”

Balgo’s performance, which included a two-run single in the first; a two-run double in the fourth; and another two-bagger in the fifth that plated the ninth and 10th runs, had Post 159 manager Mike Muklewicz beaming.

“I’ve seen a lot of baseball in my days, but the ball coming off Will Balgo’s bat right now, I wouldn’t want to be in front of the it or anywhere near them,” he said. “We’re really riding him right now. He’s one of those guys that came back for his return year after he graduated. He is a high-quality kid.”

Balgo’s three hits paced a potent 12-hit attack that featured three other players with multi-hit outings. They were Chance Maffe, Braylen Blomquist and Dylan Gregorcic who all singled twice. Maffe and Gregorcic picked up an RBI each. Drew Sefsick and Evan White had the other ribbies.

“You put all of those hits and RBI behind a quality start like Hunter Hoffman had and we’re playing really well right now,” Muklewicz said of the second consecutive win after returning from Myrtle Beach where Post 159 dropped a pair of one-run decisions to close out a four-game trip.

Hoffman, who will be a junior next fall for St. Clairsville, struck out six, allowed just two hits — one an infield single — and walked only one. He threw 62 pitches, of which 44 were strikes. He only faced three batters over the minimum and served up one double-play ball. His no-hit bid was broken up by a David Ferroni single to center with two outs in the fourth. Cooper Blackburn had an infield single leading off the fifth.

“He’s a bulldog out there on the mound,” Muklewicz said of his crafty southpaw. “He has a good sequence with his pitches and he does exactly what I tell him too. He, too, is another high-quality kid.”

After Balgo made it 2-0 in the first, Evan White, a Union Local product, reached on an error leading off the second and went to second when the throw went into the visitors’ dugout. A groundball to the right side advanced him to third where he scored on a Maffe single to right, making it 3-0.

White’s ground out in the third brought home Drew Sefsick wwith the fourth run. A four-run fourth was highlighted by a two-run rocket to the gap in left-center by Balgo. Sefsick followed with a run-scoring double to the right-center gap. Gregorcic singled home Sefsick as the margin ballooned to 8-0.

Balgo ended things when he once again ripped a double to the gap in left-center that plated Blomquist and Colin Snedeker.

St. Clairsville once again played lights-out on defense, something that had Muklewicz smiling.

“No errors. Braylen made an outstanding play diving to his left, getting up and throwing the runner out,” Muklewicz praised. “That was a major league play right there.

“You, as a manager, always want your team peaking at the end of the season when tournament time rolls around, but if we can peak all season, that’s even better.”

As happy as Muklewicz was, Post 33 manager Anthony Pierro wasn’t.

“We had five errors. We didn’t play very well and we didn’t have any energy,” he said. “That’s been the story of our season so far, so we’ve got about nine games in 13 days to see if we can start putting something together.”

The same two teams meet Sunday at Edison’s Multi-Sport Complex in Richmond for a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

St. Clairsville 10, Jefferson Co. 0

Jefferson Co. 000 00 — 0 2 5

St. Clairsville 211 42 — 10 12 0

JC–Fernandez lp (0K, 3BB), Edwards (4), (1K, 1BB) and Ferroni

STC–Hoffman wp (6K, 1BB) and White; Maffe 2S, rbi; Blomquist 2S; Balgo S, 2D, 6rbi; Sefsick D, rbi; Gregorcic 2S, rbi; White S, rbi

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