DAVISVILLE - It was not to be - again - for Parkersburg Catholic to reach the state high school baseball tournament.
Visiting Charleston Catholic scored the first eight runs of the Class A, Region IV championship game en route to a 10-3 win over the Crusaders at Marshall Field Wednesday evening as PC finished one victory short of a state-tourney berth for the second straight season.
For the Irish, now 27-9, senior first baseman Nelson McKown was the hitting hero, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with five RBIs to drive in half of his team's runs. He doubled in a run in the first inning, singled in two more in a five-run second, had a sacrifice fly in the third and concluded his day by slugging a solo homer in the fifth frame for Charleston Catholic's final tally.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Charleston Catholic's Russell Miller looks to first for a possible play after forcing out Parkersburg Catholic's Mike Hinton at second during their Class A regional final game.
The Irish advance to next Friday's Class A state-tournament semifinals at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. But for the Crusaders, ending their season at 20-13, it was a case of "us just not getting it done today," said PC head coach Tom Harvey.
"We had a few too many mistakes and gave them too many unearned runs, probably six or seven."
Key to the game was Charleston Catholic's second inning when "we had two outs, a runner on first (base) and they end up getting five runs," said Harvey. "You just can't do that against a team of that quality. Every mistake we made, they pounced on. And when you get in a hole like that against a kid pitching like that and a team like that - solid everywhere - it's hard to dig out of it."
Kiefer Hovorka struck out nine and walked only one for the Irish in hurling a complete game, while Crusader starter Mitch Davis lasted just 1 2/3 innings.
Three of Charleston Catholic's runs in the second came home on a pair of bases-loaded walks and an error, Connor Golden had an RBI single in the third and another run came across on an error in the fourth.
Down 8-0 in the bottom of the third, the Crusaders got an offensive spark lit for a while to score three times to close the gap to 8-3 on successive hits, run-scoring singles by Austin Luther and Jake Boice sandwiched around Jake Ullman's RBI triple. But PC would have only four singles and just five baserunners the rest of the way against Hovorka.
Luther led the Crusaders with four singles in four at-bats while Andrew Cinalli hurled the last 5 1/3 innings in relief of Davis and gave up just one earned run on McKown's solo shot to center in the fifth.
"We fought, but it just wasn't our day," said Harvey. "I'm proud on my guys; there was no quit in them. It's hard getting here (to the regional finals), but it certainly wasn't our best effort out there today."