PCHS suffers second straight setback

DAVISVILLE – Sophomore southpaw Michael Stout spun a five-hitter and Robbie Harper led a St. Marys hitting barrage, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs, as the visiting Blue Devils belted Parkersburg Catholic 14-3 at Marshall Field Thursday afternoon, handing the Crusaders their second straight setback after reeling off nine wins in a row to start the season.

The LKC North contest was close until the final three frames when St. Marys (10-3) tallied 12 runs, including five each in the fifth and seventh. In that three-inning outburst, Harper drove in all his runs with an RBI single and a two-run triple.

Stout struck out nine and walked just three. Although allowing three Catholic runs in the third, after that the lefty settled down for the duration, surrendering only one hit over the last four innings with five strikeouts and just one walk.

The Blue Devils, now 6-1 in the LKC North, play at Frontier at 5 p.m. today, while the Crusaders (4-1 LKC North) face Steubenville Central at 5 p.m. today in the first round of the state Catholic baseball tournament.

St. Marys grabbed a 2-0 lead Thursday with single runs in the second on Matt Houser’s solo homer and then in the third on Jarrod Lough’s RBI infield single.

Catholic, though, came back with a three-spot in the last of the third to take the lead. Mitch Davis singled in a run, Jake Ullman followed with an RBI double and then the speedy Davis beat the throw to the plate on a fielder’s choice play at home.

But after that, the game belonged to the Blue Devils. They sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth, scoring on Lough’s double, Harper’s single, designated hitter Tyler Davis’ two-run two-bagger and Stout’s double for five tallies to move ahead for good at 7-3.

Two more St. Marys runs crossed the plate in the sixth on singles by Harper and Davis, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and another five in the seventh on Aaron Tice’s sacrifice fly, an error, Harper’s two-run triple and a balk.

”It seems we hit better pitching, not the slower-pitching and junk stuff,” said St. Marys head coach Ed Wilson. ”A lot of our kids would rather hit off somebody who throws hard and has some speed. Our weakness is defense, booting the ball around, but our offense carries us.”

For Catholic head coach Tom Harvey, Thursday’s downfall was ”we let a good team get on a roll and when that happens, it’s hard to stop ’em. It was just their night.”

PC third baseman Evan Dexter left the game in the fourth inning after being hit in the mouth trying to field an infield single that knocked out some teeth. Bleeding, he was immediately taken to the dentist.