STEUBENVILLE -East Liverpool jumped out to 4-0 lead in the first inning on their way to a 6-1 triumph over Beaver Local in Division II sectional play Monday at Vaccaro Field.
Winners of 10 of their last 14 games, the Potters will take their 10-10 record into Wednesday's second-round sectional play against top-seeded Steubenville. The first pitch will be at 6 p.m. at Vaccaro Field.
East Liverpool jumped out front with a first inning that included two doubles, two wild pitches and two walks.
"We knew that we had to get to (Beaver Local pitcher) Dominic Muscari early," East Liverpool coach Ryan Willis said. "He's the real deal and fortunately we jumped out early. That enabled us to feel a little more at ease when we took the field in the bottom of the first."
East Liverpool's Tyler Recktenwald opened the game with a bunt single. He eventually scored on a wild pitch. Briar Meek and Ryian Burson reached base on walks. Meek scored on a double by winning pitcher Hunter Maze. Burson scampered home on a wild pitch. Austyn Dozier's ringing double brought Maze home with East Liverpool's fourth run of the inning.
"The first inning has been a killer for us the last three games, which have all been losses to East Liverpool," Beaver Local coach Steve Dawson said. "We didn't the field the leadoff bunt in front of the plate and that just kind of set the tone for the game."
Beaver Local got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning when Maze walked Zach Bonie and Bryan McKenzie to lead off the inning. Chase Wilcox followed with a single to center field, which scored Trey Trucksis who was running in place of Bonie.
At that point, the game was stopped for 30 minutes due to lightning in the area When play resumed, the Potter defense quickly got Maze out of the inning.
"The rain took the little bit of momentum that we were building and just stopped us," Dawson said. "When we came back, we topped a ball in front of the plate which resulted in a forceout at third on a throw by their catcher. Then we hit a groundball to shortstop for a double play.
"It's been like that all year. We haven't come up with the big hit when we needed it. It seems like we've have been just one or two hits away from staging a big inning in almost every game this year."
In the top of the sixth, Parker Bowers' infield hit scored Shane Talbott home to give the Potters a 5-1 lead. Moments later, Ryan Bombich raced home on a wild pitch for the Potters' sixth and final run.
Both pitchers went the distance with Maze scattering six Beaver Local hits and striking out seven. Muscari, who had missed the last three weeks due to a high ankle sprain, struck out 11 Potter batters.
Maze hit two doubles and Recktenwald also had two hits to pace East Liverpool's attack.
"We have a group of guys who don't get too high, or too low," Willis said. "That's important in sport like baseball, where you play so many times in a week."
Ethan Campbell had Beaver Local's lone extra-base hit with a double.
The Beavers conclude their season with a 6-12 mark, including three losses to East Liverpool in six days. The Potters won 12-0 and 21-8 last week.
It was the final high school baseball game for the three Beaver Local seniors - Ethan Campbell, Chandler Cornell and Caleb Jackson.
EL-Hunter Maze wp (7 IP, 7 K, 4BB) and Briar Meek
BL-Dominic Muscari lp (7 IP, 11 K, 5 BB) and Zach Bonie