CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 2013 baseball season was expected to finally be the year for Charleston Catholic. The Irish had gone just 1-7 in their seven previous trips to the state tournament – but last year’s group gave them their best chance to finally claim their first state championship.
And with those expectations certainly came more more pressure for Catholic and head coach Bill Mehle.
“There was definitely a level of frustration (losing in the tournament), but also a deep sense of pride having made it to the state tournament that often,” he said. “It just showed that we had a consistently competitive program. There was definitely a deep sense of relief though, to finally break through – that would be the overwhelming emotion that I experienced.”
Ultimately, it would prove to be the year for the Irish as Catholic edged Valley (Fayette) in the semifinals 6-5 and then claimed the championship with a 9-8 victory over Magnolia.
The Irish had nine seniors overall on that team a year ago, including six starters – four of those players went on to sign and play at the next level.
“There was more pressure because I knew we had one of the more competitive teams last year given our senior leadership and abilities we had on the field – I thought that was probably the year we needed to put the package together if at all possible,” Mehle said. “We were able to come through, so it was a deep sense of relief.”
From all of those seniors a year ago, the Irish have just one this year in Connor Golden who has committed to play at Marietta College in Ohio. Golden hit .382 last year with 39 RBIs – he also went 9-1 on the mound as well for the Irish.
Along with Golden, a group of juniors – center fielder Sam McKown, infielder Thad Jameson and second baseman Jordan Covelli – make up the core of Mehle’s club this season.
“We’ve been emphasizing that all of our regular season games are designed to help get everybody playing time and work towards improving defensively and offensively so that we can compete when mid-May rolls around once again,” he said.
The Irish have an early season win over regional rival Wahama 12-8. Difficult games also loom against Madonna, Wheeling Central, Notre Dame, Valley (Fayette), Herbert Hoover, Parkersburg Catholic, Pt. Pleasant, Buffalo and Williamstown – to name a few.
“We try to play a challenging regular season schedule, because there’s no sense going easy on yourself during the regular season and then having to face the toughest teams in Class A in order to compete for a state championship in the postseason,” Mehle said.
“We have a very challenging region,” he continued. “Wahama has a great baseball tradition, along with Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic in our region. Strong competition also starts in our section with Buffalo and St. Joe.”
2014 Baseball Schedule
|3||03/28/14 05:00PM||A||SAINT JOSEPH CENTRAL||16||–||0||W|
|7||04/02/14 06:00PM||A||GEORGE WASHINGTON||9||–||4||L|
|8||04/04/14 06:00PM||H||PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC||–|
|9||04/05/14 01:00PM||A||POINT PLEASANT||7||–||1||L|
|10||04/08/14 06:00PM||H||CLAY COUNTY||–|
|11||04/09/14 06:00PM||H||GILMER COUNTY||–|
|12||04/11/14 06:00PM||A||CATHOLIC TOURNAMENT – MADONNA||–|
|13||04/12/14 12:00PM||A||CATHOLIC TOURNAMENT – WHEELING CENTRAL||–|
|14||04/12/14 02:00PM||A||CATHOLIC TOURNAMENT – NOTRE DAME||–|
|16||04/16/14 06:00PM||H||VALLEY (FAYETTE)||–|
|17||04/17/14 06:00PM||A||HERBERT HOOVER||–|
|19||04/21/14 05:00PM||A||PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC||–|
|22||04/25/14 06:00PM||H||POINT PLEASANT||–|
|23||04/26/14 12:00PM||A||CLAY COUNTY||–|
|25||04/30/14 06:00PM||H||SAINT JOSEPH CENTRAL||–|
|26||05/01/14 05:30PM||A||VALLEY (FAYETTE)||–|
|28||05/03/14 12:00PM||A||GILMER COUNTY||–|
|30||05/07/14 06:00PM||H||HERBERT HOOVER||–|
|wins: 3 lost: 3 ties: 0|