Crusaders rally past Irish in 8 innings, 5-4

DAVISVILLE – Parkersburg Catholic came through twice in the clutch with two outs Saturday afternoon to notch a comeback 5-4 eight-inning victory over visiting Clarksburg Notre Dame at Marshall Field.

Behind 4-0 after 2 1/2 innings, the Crusaders rallied for a single run in each of their last four at-bats, including tying the Fighting Irish with two outs in the bottom of the seventh before Jake Ullman drove in the winning run with two outs in the last of the eighth to lift PC to a win in the first game of a doubleheader.

Catholic improved to 12-6 with the stirring triumph while Notre Dame dropped to 10-6 with the extra-inning setback.

For the Crusaders, after they closed to within 4-3 on Jake Boice’s sacrifice fly in the fifth frame and Mike Hinton’s pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth, the outcome came down the final two innings,

First, PC sent the game into extra innings when with runners at first and second and two outs in the seventh, Cary Casto hit a ball to the first baseman that got through him for an error and down the right-field line to plate the tying tally.

Then after staving off a one-out, bases-loaded Notre Dame threat in the top of the eighth, Catholic won it in the bottom of the inning.

Nick Roedersheimer walked with one out and Mitch Davis, who hurled all eight innings for the win, followed with a sacrifice that went for an infield single when the throw to first base was both late and wide. An out later, Ullman ripped a ball up the middle that handcuffed the shortstop, who went to his knees to try and make the stop, but it got by him as the winning run came home.

Notre Dame built its 4-0 lead with two runs in the first and two more in the top of the third, but Ullman singled in a run in the PC’s half of the third.

With the game knotted at 4-4 in the top of the eighth, the Crusaders pulled off the biggest defensive play of the game to hold the Fighting Irish at bay and set the stage for their heroics in the climatic bottom of the inning.

A single, stolen base, throwing error, passed ball and intentional walk to fill the bases preceded a one-out suicide-squeeze attempt by Notre Dame. But the ball was bunted fair right down in front to the plate and it stuck there. Alert Catholic catcher Boice grabbed it, stepped on the plate for a force out and then fired the ball to first baseman Casto for the out there to complete a double play to thwart the Fighting Irish ploy.

”It was a very fortunate break for us,” said Catholic head coach Tom Harvey. ”If the ball doesn’t get stuck right there in the mud, it probably rolls out a little bit in the grass, they score and have another hitter coming up.”

Harvey was happy to see his team ”battle to come all the way back from not playing real-smart baseball the first three innings.

”But we were able to string some things together over the last four innings, while Mitch held them in check from the third inning on.”

In the second game of Saturday’s twinbill, Notre Dame (11-6) nudged past the Crusaders 8-7, despite Davis socking a solo homer and collecting three RBIs. Boice went 3-for-3 and Ullman 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.

Catholic, 12-7 after Saturday’s split, next plays on Monday, hosting Doddridge County.