Andrew Cousins/MetroNews

Charleston Catholic’s Connor Golden (arm raised) earned the save in last year’s 9-8 Class A state championship win over Magnolia.

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.”

More: After dramatic Class AA baseball title, Hoover eyes another in 2014

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.

Andrew Cousins/MetroNews

Charleston Catholic’s Connor Golden is the lone senior on this year’s Irish team – he’s committed to play at the next level for Marietta College.

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.

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“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.”

CHARLESTON CATHOLIC
2014 Baseball Schedule

canceled  A  SCOTT  
03/26/14 06:00PM  H  WAHAMA 12W
03/28/14 05:00PM  A  SAINT JOSEPH CENTRAL 16W
canceled  A  MAN  
03/31/14 06:00PM  A  WAYNE 2 1 L
04/01/14 06:00PM  H  BUFFALO 5 4W
04/02/14 06:00PM  A  GEORGE WASHINGTON 9 4L
04/04/14 06:00PM  H  PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC  
04/05/14 01:00PM  A  POINT PLEASANT 71
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  
15  04/15/14 04:30PM  A  WILLIAMSTOWN  
16  04/16/14 06:00PM  H  VALLEY (FAYETTE)  
17  04/17/14 06:00PM  A  HERBERT HOOVER  
18  04/19/14 01:00PM  A  WAHAMA  
19  04/21/14 05:00PM  A  PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC  
20  04/23/14 05:30PM  A  FAYETTEVILLE  
21  04/24/14 06:00PM  H  SCOTT  
22  04/25/14 06:00PM  H  POINT PLEASANT  
23  04/26/14 12:00PM  A  CLAY COUNTY  
24  04/29/14 06:00PM  A  BUFFALO  
25  04/30/14 06:00PM  H  SAINT JOSEPH CENTRAL  
26  05/01/14 05:30PM  A  VALLEY (FAYETTE)  
27  05/02/14 06:00PM  H  WILLIAMSTOWN  
28  05/03/14 12:00PM  A  GILMER COUNTY  
29  05/06/14 06:00PM  H  FAYETTEVILLE  
30  05/07/14 06:00PM  H  HERBERT HOOVER  
31  05/08/14 04:30PM  A  CAPITAL  
32  05/09/14 06:00PM  H  MAN  
 wins: 3   lost: 3   ties: 0

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