DAVISVILLE, W.Va. — With Parkersburg Catholic having picked up its two best wins of the season in the last week, Crusaders’ coach Tom Harvey felt good about Wednesday’s matchup against Class A No. 8 St. Marys.
While the Crusaders were held scoreless until the fifth inning, they delivered late and maintained their momentum with a 5-2 victory over the Blue Devils at Marshall Field.
“They’re a quality team and they’ve won a lot of ball games. It shows our team that they can play with people and we’re on a little bit of a roll,” Harvey said. “We’ve won three of our last four and we’d like to keep it going.”
Parkersburg Catholic (8-11) erased a two-run deficit in the fifth inning, capitalizing on several St. Marys (14-5) mistakes to go on top for good.
Ty Sturm reached second on an error to lead off the frame and after Joel Stophel walked and stole second, the Crusaders had a pair of runners in scoring position.
Bryce Moore drew a walk to load the bases and Andrew Gill followed with a bunt single to the pitcher to plate Sturm for PC’s first run.
Stephen Garvin then grounded out to second, allowing Stophel to score the tying run.
Clayton Dexter followed with the key hit of the contest, connecting for a single to center that scored Moore and Gill to give the Crusaders their first lead.
“He’s up there as the number nine hitter, we have ducks on the pond and he comes through with a base hit,” Harvey said.
Stophel drew a bases loaded walk in the sixth to plate Boice for an insurance run.
St. Marys threatened in the seventh after a leadoff double from Eric Illar, and the Blue Devils brought the tying run to the plate when Jacob Hoyt was hit by a pitch with two outs.
But Garvin got William Norman to groundout to short for the game’s final out, giving the Crusaders their third victory over a ranked team in six days (Parkersburg Catholic has two wins over No. 4 Williamstown since April 12).
“We had a chance there at the end of the game,” St. Marys coach Ed Wilson said. “We’ve come back several times being down like that, but sooner or later you’re not going to be able to do it.”
Illar scored the game’s first run in the first inning after drawing a leadoff walk, and the score stayed that way until the Blue Devils doubled their lead in the fourth.
Brayden Wilson led off with a single and advanced to second on an error that allowed Brendan Fox to reach. Another Crusaders’ error on a bunt by Jason Clayton enabled Wilson to score his team’s second run.
But with two runners in scoring position and nobody out, St. Marys was unable to add to its lead as Copen recorded a strikeout and then induced a double play ball back to the mound.
“We’re playing pretty good defense, getting pretty good pitching and if we can get the hitting to come around a little bit better, I like our team,” Harvey said.
Copen tossed a scoreless fifth and struck out a pair to give him eight strikeouts in the game. He recorded the win and allowed two runs on four hits with three walks, before giving way to Garvin in the sixth.
Garvin threw a pair of scoreless frames with three strikeouts to preserve the win for PC.
Clayton allowed four runs over five innings while suffering the loss. He allowed six hits and four walks.
The two runs was a season low scoring output for St. Marys.
“We left too many guys in scoring position,” Wilson said. “We had nine guys left on base. We couldn’t get them in. We had chances to get some runs and we didn’t produce.”