CADIZ - Each hit and run were earned at Mazeroski Memorial Field Tuesday as the Catholic Central baseball team defeated Harrison Central 6-3 despite multiple unearned runs crossing the plate. The winter-like climate and windy conditions made for an uncomfortable afternoon on the diamond, but both teams overcame the blustery temperatures to provide a little drama before the contest came to a close.
"It's always chilly out here," Harrison Central skipper Justin Clifford said. "The wind whips around. But, both teams had to play in it. I don't think it had a major effect. Maybe, the ball didn't carry as far and there was probably a sting in the hands for the batter. I thought it was a well-played game for the most part."
Catholic Central established a 6-2 advantage as the team's entered the bottom of the final frame.
Harrison Central senior Gabe Hyndman was the first to the plate for the Huskies. He ripped a single into the gap between third base and Catholic Central's short stop. Kalub Mitchell then drew a walk on four pitches. Dalton Rutter also singled. The bases were loaded with no outs for the heart of Harrison Central's lineup.
A short fly out kept the bases loaded with one out. Nick Pelegreen, Harrison Central's No. 3 hitter, was next to the plate. He squibbed an infield grounder. A run did score, but Pelegreen was out at first base. Rasheen Mitchell walked, and the bases were loaded once again as Harrison Central trailed 6-3.
Catholic Central freshman Chris Murphy shut the door on the rally with a strikeout, thus earning the save for the Crusaders.
Catholic Central wasn't able to post any crooked innings during the game, but the Crusaders were able to receive a few clutch hits to establish their lead.
"We swung the bat a little better today," Catholic Central head coach Donnie Young said. "You could see the confidence growing with the team as the game progressed. Hopefully, it will carry over."
Harrison Central had an early 1-0 lead after a throwing error allowed the Huskies' first base runner, and Rasheen Mitchell belted a standing triple.
The Crusaders responded in the top of the third inning. Murphy singled to open the frame. An error allowed B.J. Grandinetti to reach first base safely after a bunt attempt and Murphy took third base. Grandinetti then stole second base. Murphy scored on a wild pitch, while Grandinetti was plated by a Brenton Collabella sacrifice fly.
"They were timely errors," Clifford said. "We didn't have a lot of them, but they were key. And it cost us the game."
Aleks Porreca added another run in favor of the Crusaders when he sliced a line drive into right center field. Rasheen Mitchell couldn't quite track down the ball, and it rolled all 383 feet to the fence. Porreca trucked around the bases and nearly stopped at third base, before he realized an in-the-park home run was attainable. Catholic Central led 4-1.
Porreca also pitched six solid innings. He allowed two earned runs and struck out four.
"Aleks is only a sophomore, and he's really been coming on as of late," Young said. "He's grown up a lot, and he's been throwing well for us."
Mitchell added a RBI single in the fifth inning for Harrison Central.
Catholic Central's insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings came courtesy of wild pitches.
"I'm proud of our kids' effort," Young said. "Harrison Central is a good team. We hung in there, even when it got tough in the seventh inning. I thought our best effort was in the last couple innings. It's a process, and we're building on that."
Harrison Central will play Buckeye Local today, while Catholic Central visits Easter Liverpool Thursday.
Catholic Central 6, Harrison Central 3
Catholic Central 002 101 2 - 6 8 2
Harrison Central 100 010 1 - 3 7 3
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (8-2): Porreca (WP, 4K, 2BB); Murphy (1IP, K, BB) and Merriman. Bertoia S; Colabella 2S, rbi; Lyons T; Porreca HR, rbi; Merriman 2S; Murphy S.
HARRISON CENTRAL (6-6): Rose (LP, 3K) and Hyndman. Rutter S; Sproull 2-S; Pelegreen S; R.Mitchell T, S, rbi: Hyndman S.