RICHMOND - When two aces are on the hill, this is the kind of game one would expect.
Edison's Greg Stagani and Harrison Central's Rasheen Mitchell went pitch-for-pitch Tuesday at the Richmond/Edison Athletic Complex at Jefferson Lake State Park in an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A semifinal, and it was a bloop single by the Wildcats' Alec Jones that was the difference in a 1-0 victory.
Edison is 17-2 and will meet Steubenville Big Red, a 9-5 winner over St. Clairsville, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Vaccaro Field for the championship.
ON THE MOUND — Edison’s Greg Stagani struck out 11 in the Wildcats’ 1-0 win Tuesday.
-- Mike Mathison
Stagani threw a four-hitter and Mitchell a two-hitter.
"Their pitcher pitched a heck of a game," said Edison coach Mike Collopy. "He kept us off balance. We didn't help ourselves, but a lot of credit goes to him.
"Greg pitched an outstanding game. We made the plays defensively when we needed to. We punched a run home when we needed to, as well.
"We expect him to go out and give his best effort every day. He had good stuff and battled. He was mentally tough. We're happy any time we can get an effort like that, and, like I said, we made the plays behind him when we had to, which is all you can ask for."
Edison scored the lone run in the bottom of the third inning when Josh Pasek walked, stole second, reached third on an error and came home on the blooper.
"I thought we were prepared for today," said Huskies coach Justin Clifford. "It's a tough one when you give up two hits and you lose. Walks hurt us a little bit. He's improved. He competed. He has competed in every game, but you could see a difference in him today. He wanted the ball in a big game."
Stagani struck out 11 and walked one. He allowed one baserunner to reach third and one to reach second, both in the third inning.
"I go out there and pitch and just have fun with it," said Stagani. "When you give up a couple of hits, you can't let it get into your head. You just have to make pitches and do what the coaches tell you to do."
Harrison Central's Garrit Sproull singled to start the top of the third inning and was erased on a fielder's choice by Kalub Mitchell. Dalton Rutter singled to put runners on first and second and a wild pitch moved them up 90 feet.
Stagani got out of the inning by recording his fifth and sixth strikeouts.
After a one-out single the next inning by Rhett Kuryn, Stagani sat down 11 of the next 12 batters he faced, five by strikeout, and he threw nothing but strikes in a 1-2-3 seventh.
"In the seventh inning I knew I was in control of my command, did my thing, and we got out of there with a W," said Stagani. "It's fun - especially when you're making pitches, getting outs, not giving up very many hits and coach (Jim Marcus) is doing a great job calling pitches."
Mitchell was also superb.
He recorded the last two outs of the first, second and third innings by strikeout when Edison had runners on second and third. Mitchell fanned two in each of the six innings.
"I can't complain about anything with the way he threw the ball," said Clifford. "You give up two hits and get beat. You shake their hands and you go home.
"We can take some steps from here. Obviously, we're not happy with just being here, but we took a step in the right direction today as a program, even though we were on the losing end."
Collopy, on the other hand, was lamenting missed opportunities.
"The bottom line is that we did not execute offensively," said Collopy. "There were some situations where we did not execute and I felt we could have created some opportunities to score, but we didn't give ourselves that chance."
Stagani said he loves pitching in games like this and feels not added pressure in making sure he doesn't make a mistake.
"Not at all," he said. "I've been playing with these guys forever and I know they are going to come through when they have to. And, they did. We got one run and that's all we needed today.
Edison 1, Harrison Central 0
Harrison Central 000 000 0 - 0 4 2
Edison 001 000 x - 1 2 0
HARRISON CENTRAL: Mitchell (LP, 12K, 6BB) and Staten; Rutter 2S; Kuryn S; Sproull S.
EDISON (17-2): Stagani (WP, 11K, 1BB) and Bertha; Stagani D; Jones S, rbi.