STEUBENVILLE - What a difference a day makes.
That was Fred Heatherington's initial observation after watching his Big Red baseball team roll to an 11-1 victory over Catholic Central Thursday at Vacarro Field.
The five-inning mercy win came less than 24 hours after the Red squandered a 9-4 lead and fell to Brooke, 15-11.
NOT THIS TIME — Central catcher Kyle Laukert tags out Big Red’s Brian Pierro at home plate just moments after Big Red’s John Linn scored on a Lucky McClurg single during Big Red’s 11-1 win over the Crusaders Thursday.
-- Fred Younce
"We came ready to play," Heatherington noted. "We were aggressive at the plate, aggressive on the bases, pitched a great game and made some real good defensive plays. We played the way we should be playing, we played the way we did last week. We got over yesterday this morning and came ready to play."
Big Red got after the Crusaders right away, scoring three times in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Bryan Pierro worked Central starter Jimmy Panella for a walk. After Lucky McClurg went down swinging, Bryan's big brother, JoJo, also drew a free pass. Pat Pizzoferrato's single loaded the bases.
Ryan Vojvodich then laced a triple to left to clear the bases and stake Heatherington's club to a 3-0 lead.
John Linn ripped a double to deep center to get Big Red going again in the second. He would score on Bryan Pierro's base knock.
Michael Camilletti led-off the Big Red with a single, advancing to second on Vojvodich's base hit. Both scored as Matt Petrella stroked a double up the alley in right center. He swiped second and reached third on a foiled pick-off play. Petrella scored when Bryan Pierro reached via a fielder's choice. McClurg's single allowed Linn to cross home with Big Red's eighth run.
The score moved to 11-0 in the fourth as Linn's single scored two runs and Mason Heatherington got a RBI via his base hit.
"We talk to our kids about not feeling the pressure but creating the pressure," Heatherington explained. "That is what we have been doing. When we are successful, we create pressure. When we don't create pressure, we struggle. If you can put pressure on the defense in high school baseball, you are going to be successful."
While the Big Red bats were wreaking havoc (the winners finished with 13 hits), JoJo Pierro was having an efficient and effective evening on the mound. The senior allowed just four hits, fanned five and issued just a single free pass. Central's lone run came in the fourth. Josh Merriman drew the walk and scored on Aleks Porreca's double.
"JoJo only threw 69 pitches in five innings," Heatherington said. "He was able to get ahead in the count, was locating pitches real well and he didn't get behind. He only gave up one walk, and walks have been hurting us lately. He got into his rhythm and they couldn't get him out of it."
Camilletti paced the Big Red offense with three singles. Vojvodich, Pizzoferrato and Linn all had multi-hit games for the winners, now 6-2.
Porreca had two of Central's four hits along with his RBI. Brannt Pieniazek and B.J. Grandinetti both had singles.
"Jimmy had been pitching well, but he made some mistakes in the first inning," Central's Donnie Young said. "That cost us and we had a lot of balls hit where we weren't. We made some mistakes and JoJo really pitched well.
"We still have a ways to go. This is just one game and we will come back."
Big Red returns to action Saturday, hosting Streetsboro for a twin bill starting at 11 a.m. Chris Scisicani, a graduate of SHS, is the Streetsboro head coach.
The Crusaders, now 7-2, are off until Monday when they travel to Oak Glen.
Big Red 11, Central 1
Big Red 314 30 - 11 13 0
Central 000 10 - 1 4 3
BIG RED (6-2): J. Pierro (WP, 5K 1BB) and Vojvodich; Camilletti 3S; Vojvodich T, S, 3RBI; Linn D, S, 2RBI; Pizzoferrato 2S; Petrella D, 2RBI; B. Pierro S, 2RBI; McClurg S, RBI; Heatherington S, RBI.
CENTRAL (7-2): Panella (LP, 3K, 2BB), Mihalyo (3, 3K, 1BB) and Laukert; Porecca D, S, RBI; Grandinetti S, Pieniazek S.