STEUBENVILLE - Jimmy Panella played the role of Mr. Clutch perfectly for Post 33 in Wednesday's 10-9 victory over Richmond Post 740 at Vacarro Field.
The West Liberty University sophomore-to-be delivered a two-out, two-run seeing-eye single to left in the home half of the seventh as Don Young's club rallied for the victory, its 23rd against eight defeats. Richmond had scored three times in the top of the frame to grab a 9-8 advantage.
Cole Yeater got things going for Post 33, which came from behind three times, when he came off Young's bench and delivered a base hit. He moved to second when John Linn was clipped by a pitch and to third as Alex Young walked. Richmond's Tyler Krantz recorded the second out, setting the stage for Panella's heroics.
Kai McClurg scores during Steubenville Post 33s 10-9 victory over Richmond Post 740 Wednesday at Vaccaro Field.
His single somehow found its way past the Richmond shortstop allowing Yeater and Linn to hustle home with the game winners.
"Jimmy wasn't having the best of nights at the plate, but he got that big hit there at the end," Young said. "When we needed him, he really came through.
"We did just enough tonight. It seems like every time we play Richmond, the games are like this. They're a solid club. Both teams get after each other and today, we just happened to score one more than they did."
Post 33 10, Post 740 9
Post 740 200 400 3 - 9 10 1
Post 33 311 111 2 - 10 16 2
POST 740 (7-22): Scott (0BB, 1K, 1HB), Krantz (LP, 2, 2BB, 3K, 1HB) and Mohn. Woodward HR, S, RBI; Wise D, 2RBI; Pasek S, RBI; Orr S, RBI; Krantz 2S; Horan 2S, Mohn S, RBI.
POST 33 (23-8): Jones (1BB, 1K, 4HB), Porreca (WP, 5, 1BB, 1K) and McClurg. Colabella 2S, D, 2RBI; Linn S, D, RBI; Panella 2S, 2RBI; Young T, S, 2RBI; Corsi D, S, RBI; Pizzoferrato S; Herrington S, RBI; Bolyog D; McClurg D; Yeater S.
Richmond, now 7-22, got a couple of clutch hits of its own in the top of the seventh. Tanner Wise's double to left-center scored Clay Woodward and Austin Horan to knot the score at eight. Josh Pasek then singled to right, plating Wise and giving Sam Davis's squad the lead.
"The kids played hard tonight and left it all on the field, which is all I ever ask of them," Davis noted. "You have to give Steubenville some credit, they don't quit. The battled back and it was another typical game between us (the two American Legion teams have played three one-run games this season).
"In baseball, when you walk guys and let guys on base without hits, they're going to come back and bite you. That's what happened to us in the seventh. We played hard but we didn't always play smart."
Sam Orr delivered an RBI single for Post 740 in the first, then scored thanks to a couple of Post 33 errors, giving Richmond an early 2-0 lead. Steubenville came right back in its half of the inning, scoring three times. Alex Young ripped a two-run triple to left-center and Brenton Colabella delivered a sacrifice fly.
Post 33 scored single runs in the second (John Linn driving home Kai McClurg) and the third (Justin Corsi recording an RBI double).
Post 740 exploded for four runs in the fourth to regain the upper hand at 6-5.
Woodward got things rolling when he drove a Branden Jones pitch over the fence in deep left. Horan, Wise and Pasek were all hit by pitches to load the sacks. Jones recorded the second out of the inning before Storm Mohn made him pay with a two-run single. Pasek then raced home on a pass ball.
Post 33 tied things up thanks to another Colabella RBI. The hosts went ahead 7-6 an inning later as Linn delivered an RBI double, plating Jimmy Bolyog who also connected for a two-bagger. Lucas Herrington made it 8-6 in the sixth when his base hit scored Colabella, who started the frame with a double.
Jones started on the hill for Post 33, giving way to Aleks Porreca in the fifth.
"Branden pitched well," Young stated. "He ran into trouble in one inning, but overall I was pleased with his performance. Aleks came in and did a real nice job for us. We know we can always count on Aleks."
The two-out rally in the seventh allowed Porreca to collect the pitching victory.
Collin Scott started for Richmond. Tyler Krantz came on in the second and was tagged with the defeat.
"I thought T.K. pitched his heart out for us," Davis added. "I'm real happy with the way he performed."
Colabella paced the 16-hit Post 33 attack with two singles and a double. Panella, Linn, Young and Corsi had two safeties each. Young also delivered a web gem from his shortstop position in the fifth. The Indian Creek product went deep in the hole to snag a hard grounder and made a perfect throw to first, just beating the Richmond runner.
Woodward, Krantz and Horan recorded two safeties apiece for Richmond, which is idle until Monday when it hosts Coshocton.
Post 33, which dropped a tough 9-8 verdict to Wheeling on Tuesday, is back in action Saturday against St. Clairsville. The twin bill was originally scheduled for Vacarro Field but has been moved to St. Clairsville due to a conflict with the Beast of the East tournament.