St. Marys tops Catholic to stay unbeaten

DAVISVILLE – St. Marys came into its Thursday game versus host Parkersburg Catholic with an undefeated record and seven innings later left the same way with a 10-0 mark.

Despite getting just six hits, the Blue Devils took advantage of 13 walks by Crusader pitchers as well as a third-inning grand slam from cleanup hitter Matthew Houser en route to a 12-3 LKC North victory over PC at Marshall Field.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders were no-hit until the fifth, when they scored on a one-out triple by Jake Ullman and run-scoring double by Kyle Bronski. But PC had no other hits in the game, although getting its first two runs on a pair of bases-loaded walks in the third.

St. Marys went up 1-0 in the second on a Catholic error, one of four in the game, then boosted that to 5-0 an inning later when Houser hammered his four-run, 330-foot bomb over the right-field fence.

In the final three frames, the Blue Devils tacked on seven tallies. In the fifth, Michael Fox singled in a run and another scored on a Catholic error. In the sixth, St. Marys recorded four runs without the benefit of a hit, scoring on a bases-loaded walk and Fox’s RBI fielder’s choice ground-ball out before a Crusader throwing error let two more cross the plate. In the seventh, Jarrod Lough singled in run No. 12 for St. Marys.

Robbie Harper notched the win in relief of starter Michael Stout, hurling the last 4 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and only one walk, while for Catholic, now 7-4 after its third setback in the last four games, starter Payton Sturm took the loss with no strikeouts and six walks in the three innings he worked.

Although Stout had a no-hitter going in the third, St. Marys head coach Ed Wilson replaced him on the mound with Harper after back-to-back bases-loaded walks cut the Blue Devil lead to 5-2. “He (Stout) was getting frustrated,” said Wilson. “He thought he wasn’t getting a whole lot of calls, so I thought it was time to get him out of there. And I knew Robbie would probably throw strikes.”

Of the 10-0 start, Wilson said it’s basically “because everybody we’ve put out there has thrown strikes, and we’ve got a lot of guys who can hit the ball. And our defense is starting to pick up a little bit too (no errors versus Catholic Thursday). You get that combination, it can hopefully take you a long way.”

For Catholic head coach Tom Harvey, he acknowledged that “right now, we’re in a rough stretch. It’s just the way it’s been going for us lately. St. Marys is a good team; they’ve got good pitching. When you get down, it’s hard to come back on a team like that.

“We had some opportunities, not too many, but didn’t capitalize enough on the ones we had. Their pitchers had something to do with that, but we have to execute better and maintain our focus on what we’re doing out there.”