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by Frank Tate
(June 24) BRIDGEPORT --Justin Belcastro's two-run single to right-center in the bottom of the ninth inning completed a four-run comeback as Bridgeport Post 68 downed rival Clarksburg Post 13, 6-5, Tuesday evening.
With a 5-2 lead, Clarksburg appeared to have the game in hand as reliever Ryan Dean retired the first batter in the ninth.
Chris Cunanan followed with a walk but Dean struck out the next batter for the second out.
Bridgeport loaded the bases as pinch-hitter Chris Turner walked and Matt Buffington singled.
Jeremy Mayle followed with a single to right to plate Cunanan to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Michael Stumpo walked to force in a run, setting up Belcastro's heroics.
The third baseman delivered with a hard liner in the gap to plate Buffington and Mayle, snapping Post 68's five-game losing streak.
"I just wasn't hitting the ball well all day, so I guess I was due," Belcastro said.
"It was a little more satisfying by beating Clarksburg because they are such a big rival ... hopefully this win can get things turned around for us."
Belcastro's hit made a winner out of Post 68 pitcher Jeremy Steenstra, who pitched nine solid innings, striking out nine.
"Jeremy Steenstra pitched a heck of a ball game for us," Bridgeport assistant coach Bryan Randolph said.
"He's the ace of our staff and showed a lot of guts out there."
"If we would have lost this game, it would have been a big blow to our confidence so hopefully this win is the start of something good."
Bridgeport's win overshadowed a gutsy performance by Clarksburg starter Aaron Byrd.
Byrd used an assortment of off-speed pitches and a deceiving fastball to strike out seven in seven innings.
"Aaron Byrd did a fabulous job on the mound for us tonight," Clarksburg head coach Pat Secret said. "We hit the ball well today, but Bridgeport battled back like they always do, and they won the ball game."
"Overall, we played well but in the end Bridgeport just wanted the win a little more than we did."