The St. C. Red Devils boys roll over Wheeling Park

Photo by Nick Henthorn St. Clairsville’s Hunter Hoffman celebrates a double during the Red Devils’ 9-2 win against the Wheeling Park Patriots on Wednesday on Patriot Field.

WHEELING — St. Clairsville entered Wednesday afternoon’s game at chilly Patriot Field on the heels of its initial loss of the season. The Red Devils had no intentions of absorbing a second successive defeat.

St. Clairsville, which fell to Cambridge 3-1 in the Buckeye 8 championship game 24 hours prior, took out its frustrations on Wheeling Park, rolling to a 9-2 triumph. The Red Devils did so by excelling in all three phases.

Coach Tom Sliva’s crew, in improving to a sparkling 15-1, pounded out 15 hits, fielded superbly while receiving an impressive mound effort from Brody Saunders. The junior right-hander was brilliant in a 96-pitch route-going effort. He yielded just five hits while fanning 10 and issuing only two walks.

“It was a nice bounce back game for us,” Sliva offered. “The kids were a little down after losing yesterday (Monday). “I like how they responded today.

“Fifteen hits is a good day’s work, and I thought we were solid in the field,” added the Hall of Fame coach. “Brody pitched a whale of a game. He shut down a very good team today.”

St. Clairsville gave Saunders all the runs he needed in the first frame, breaking through for a three spot.

Wright State recruit Braylen Blomquist walked and quickly stole second. Walsh University recruit Hunter Hoffman singled before junior Mikey Balgo, who had a big day at the plate, singled in the pair. Balgo eventually scored on Saunders’ ground out.

Park plated a run in the first. Jared Marsh launched a double and scored on a Nate Simon sac fly.

The Red Devils wasted no time adding to their lead, pushing across two more runs in the second.

Sophomore Rowen Mellott and Blomquist opened the inning with back-to-back singles. A wild pitch allowed a run before Balgo delivered an RBI single.

St. Clairsville upped its lead to 7-1 in the fourth. Marcus Bush and Hoffman both singled with Bush scoring on another Balgo single. Hoffman came home on a groundout.

The count grew to 8-1 in the fifth. Colton Florence singled and scored on a Bush single. The winners added their final run in the sixth. After Caleb Keenan and Florence singled, Ryan Ivey lofted a sac fly, bringing in Keenan.

Park managed a run in the seventh. Starting pitcher Ryland Robb singled and was plated on a Marsh single.

“When we execute in all three phases, we are a very good ball club. We did that tonight,” Sliva noted. ” We have some big games coming up so we need to stay focused and keep working to improve.”

Balgo, Bush and Florence paced the Red Devil attack with three singles each. Hoffman reached base four times with two hits, a walk and a beaning.

Robb, the first of four Patriot pitchers, worked three innings. He struck out two and walked three while being saddled with the loss.

“We lost to a very good team today,” Park head coach Steve Myers said. “Saunders was excellent on the mound and they also got 15 hits. We tip our hat to them.

“We are sitting in fourth place in the OVAC and the playoff cutoff is Friday. So every game is key for us,” he added. “We have to regroup and get ready to play Bridgeport (WV).”

Park is now 14-9.

Marsh and Robb each had two hits for the Patriots.


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