DAVISVILLE - A sixth-run first inning to start the game by Clarksburg Notre Dame put host Parkersburg Catholic in an early hole that the Crusaders weren't able to overcome in dropping a 10-7 baseball decision to the Fighting Irish Wednesday afternoon at Marshall Field.
PC, now 9-10, also yielded a six-run inning to visiting Williamstown Tuesday afternoon, but battled back to win 7-6.
Even though the Crusaders did put seven runs up Wednesday, they never caught up with Notre Dame, now 12-4 on the season.
The Irish sent 12 men to the plate in the top of the first, but only got one hit - Jordan Miller's two-run single - as Catholic issued four walks and also plunked three Notre Dame batters. Two other runs scored on bases-loaded walks, an error plated another ND tally and run No. 6 came on a hit by pitch with the sacks full.
But the Crusaders halved the 6-0 deficit in the bottom of the first, beginning immediately with Jake Ullman belting a leadoff inside-the-park home run. Ullman ripped a scorcher past the Irish third baseman down into the left-field corner and sped around the bases as the left fielder got tangled up in the outfield fence trying to field the ball.
"He slid to try and get the ball, but got his foot caught underneath the fence and he couldn't get out," explained Catholic head coach Tom Harvey. "That was bad luck for him. It's only a double, maybe a triple if his foot doesn't get caught. He was hustling, slid and his foot got caught. It wasn't a ground-rule double because the ball didn't go under the fence. It stayed in the park, but his foot went under and got stuck."
Then later in the PC first, a pickoff try at first by the Notre Dame catcher bounced past the first baseman down the right-field line for an error as a run scored. And the return throw to the plate was way wide for a second miscue on the play to let another run come home.
But the Irish tacked on two more runs in the fourth on a bases-loaded hit-by pitch and an RBI groundout to up their lead to 8-3.
Catholic, though, got two back in the fifth on an outfield fielding error and Kyle Bronski's RBI single to narrow the gap to 8-5.
However, Notre Dame added single tallies to its total in the sixth and seventh on a delayed double-steal steal of home and Marietta College-bound baseball recruit Chris Petrucci's RBI double respectively.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Crusaders' last-ditch effort loaded the bases with only one out, but just two runs eventually scored on Bronski's RBI groundout and an infield fielding error.
For the game, PC outhit Notre Dame 10-7, led by catcher Jake Boice's 3-for-3 day at the plate, and committed two less errors than the Irish, 5-3, but still fell three runs short in the end.
Harvey thought the six-run Notre Dame first was the key. "We didn't do a very good job in the first inning throwing strikes or making a play (with three errors)," said Harvey. "And when a really good team gets up on you like that, it's tough to come back against them.
"Our kids did battle though - you've got to love their effort. But we just have to execute better, figure out how to throw strikes somehow and field the ball. It's as simple as that."