STEUBENVILLE - It wasn't a 15-inning classic, but the Edison Wildcats and Steubenville Big Red put on another tight Ohio Division II Sectional tournament game Monday at Vaccaro Field.
A year after the Wildcats claimed a marathon 6-4 sectional final win, the teams locked horns in another down-to-the-wire battle. Not until Edison pitcher Ryan Kramarich induced Big Red's Pat Pizzoferrato to ground out - to third baseman Austin Horan with runners on second and third and two outs - did the Wildcats secure the 2-0 sectional semifinal victory. Kramarich went the distance for the Wildcats, picking up three strikeouts and three walks. He gave up six hits on his way to the shutout. Kramarich pitched out of multiple jams, and received a strong defensive effort behind him as the Wildcats committed only one error.
"Ryan pitched well," said Edison head coach Mike Collopy. "He pitched himself out of jams through most of the game, which is the sign of a mentally tough person. Defensively we made some good plays behind him. Nolan (Marcus) and Austin Horan in that last inning.
WINNING PITCHER — Edison’s Ryan Kramarich delivers a pitch during the Wildcats’ 2-0 win over Steubenville in sectional tournament play at Vaccaro Field Monday.
-- Fred Younce
"We were able to scratch out a few runs, and, like I've said, anytime you're able to do that in the tournament and move on you're happy."
Edison picked up its first run in the game's opening frame with some help from Big Red miscues. Josh Pasek drew a one-out walk. Nolan Marcus reached on an error and Pasek was allowed to move to the third on another error. Pasek then scored on an Alec Jones fielder's choice to make the score 1-0 Wildcats.
The Wildcats produced their second run with some small ball. Austin Horan led the fourth off with a single, and reached second on a passed ball. Dylan Jones moved Horan to third with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt. Pasek plated Horan when he beat out an one-out infield single.
"The second run was good situational baseball," said Collopy. "You just have to take it anyway you can get it. We didn't have our best offensive game today, but we thought our bats were fairly good. We're just happy to move on."
Big Red had its opportunities, but couldn't crack the scoring column. Steubenville had at least one runner in scoring position in four of the seven innings with a runner reaching third in the first, third and seventh frames. Each time Kramarich and company made plays to quell the Big Red momentum, including the game-ending groundball to Horan.
"We probably left 10 or 11 guys on base the whole game," said Big Red head coach Fred Heatherington. "The first inning we leave the bases loaded, can't get a hit. I think we only hit three or four balls out of the infield. He pitched a good game, but he's not the best pitcher we've seen.
"We just couldn't get a timely hit, and our defense gave them one run in the first for sure. We just didn't play."
Anthony Zorne and Justin Corsi combined for a solid performance on the hill for Big Red. Zorne went three and a third, striking out and walking three. Corsi finished the game, giving up no runs, striking out three and walking none.
"Anthony kept us in the game," said Heatherington. "He kept us in the game, and that's all he had to do. It came down to the at bats at the plate, and we didn't get the job done."
Pasek was the lone batter from either team to have more than one hit with a two single performance. He was involved in both runs scored, crossing the plate in the first and driving in the fourth inning tally.
With the loss Big Red's season ends with a 17-9 record. Edison moves to 21-3 and advances to the sectional co-final Friday to meet the winner of today's game between Cambridge and Beaver Local. A win by the favored Bobcats sets up a rematch of the OVAC Class 5A final that saw the Wildcats take a 3-1 win.
"Cambridge is a good team," said Collopy. "They're aggressive. They swing the bats well. We know they have two good pitchers.
"We'll be ready for whoever advances. We'll have a couple good days of practice and get back out here on Friday."
Edison 2, Steubenville 0
Steubenville 000 000 0 - 0 6 3
Edison 100 100 x - 2 6 1
STEUBENVILLE (17-9): Zorne (LP, 3K, 3BB), Corsi (4th, 3K, 0BB) and McClurg. Westlake S; Linn S; Petrella S; Pizzoferrato S; Herrington S; Pierro S.
EDISON (21-3): Kramarich (WP, 3K, 3BB) and Glasure. D. Jones S; Pasek 2S, RBI, R; Glasure S; Horan S, R; Straka S; A. Jones RBI.