Crusaders, Charleston Catholic in final

DAVISVILLE – Parkersburg Catholic baseball has practiced what’s been preached and moved within one victory of advancing to the Class A state tournament.

Two days ago in a 4-2 win against Gilmer County, the Crusaders forced the Titans to make plays. When that didn’t happen, PCHS manufactured enough runs in the first two innings to advance into today’s Region IV final against fourth-ranked Charleston Catholic. Game time is set for 5 p.m. at Marshall Field.

“(PCHS coach Tom Harvey) preaches all year put the ball in play and good things will happen,” said sophomore catcher Jake Boice, who went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in against Gilmer County. “We did exactly what he told us and we came out on the winning end.”

Charleston Catholic enters the contest with a 26-9 record, while the Crusaders reached the 20-win plateau by virtue of their victory in the regional semifinals to go with 12 losses. The Irish won the only meeting between the two teams during the regular season.

“They are fundamentally sound and senior heavy -they have five or six kids who are going to play in college,” Harvey said. “Their coach does a great job . They don’t make many mistakes.”

The Irish followed a similar path as the Crusaders in reaching today’s regional final. All six of their runs occurred in the first two innings due in part to three Wahama errors in a 6-2 win Monday over the White Falcons. Against Gilmer County, the Crusaders struck for all four of their runs in the first two innings due in part to two Titan errors.

Charleston Catholic’s Andy Hoyer allowed just two runs in six innings of work against Wahama and Kiefer Hovorka retired the side in order in the seventh inning. Coach Harvey figures his club might see Irish hurler Rocco Wilcox.

PCHS has the option of throwing either ace Mitch Davis or Tony Borrelli. Starting pitching for the Crusaders has been responsible for throwing all but one inning in their last four games.

“Parkersburg Catholic has a couple of guys who just want to be in that moment, and want to be there when it’s crunch time,” Gilmer County coach Joe Frashure said. “Now they are sitting in great shape with their pitching. Coach Harvey made a great move starting (Andrew) Cinalli against us and it worked out for them.”

One issue PCHS needs to shore up is the depth of its batting order. Against Gilmer County, the top four hitters combined to go 5-for-11 at the plate, while the bottom five in the lineup were hitless in 14 at-bats.

“We’re just going to put the ball in play and play some defense,” Boice said. “We got to the regional final last year and it feels great to do it again, but you just want to keep going. I want one more (win) than last year.”