STEUBENVILLE - Clutch hitting proved to be the deciding factor when the Catholic Central baseball team defeated Beaver Local 4-1 Friday at Vaccarro Field.
"It's the one areas we've need to improve upon," Catholic Central head coach Donnie Young said about his team's ability to get timely hits. "I thought we did in this game. We've had a lot of poor at-bats at times. We've been continually working on having better at-bats in situations where we can score runs."
The Beavers actually opened the scoring with their only run in the top of the first inning. Kevin Sevey drew a base on balls. Ryan Smith blooped a double into left field just past the outstretched arms of the Catholic Central outfielder.
WHEELING?AND?DEALING — Steubenville Central pitcher Steven Mihalyo throws a pitch during the Crusaders 4-1 win over Beaver Local Friday at Vaccaro Field.
Catholic Central responded in the bottom of the second inning.
David Bertoia singled after one out had already been registered. Adam Lyons then drove the baseball into an outfield gap. Bertoia raced around the base towards home. Beaver Local's pitcher cut off the relay throw. The Crusaders tied the score 1-1.
Both pitchers were dealing throughout the contest. Beaver Local's Jared Brinn pitched a complete game and only surrendered four hits. Catholic Central's Steve Mihalyo matched Brinn pitch for pitch. The Crusader dealt six strikeouts while going the distance.
"Every time we had Steve the ball, we're confident," Young said. "I believe he can get anybody out in any lineup - if he's on that day."
Catholic Central was able to take the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Neither of the first two batters were able to get on base. David Bertoia was then hit by a pitch with two outs in the inning. Bertoia stole second base. Lyons again came to the plate and hit a long single in which Bertoia scored. Lyons found himself on second place due to a play at the plate.
Aleks Porreca followed with a base on balls. With Lyons on second base and Porreco on first, Kyle Laukert hit a grounder to Beaver Local's first baseman. The ball was bobbled, and Laukert was able to reach first base due to the error. But, the two base runners were stranded in limbo as they overran the next bag. Beaver Local quickly whipped the ball around the infield and caught both in rundowns. Indecision overcame the infielders as Lyons quickly raced home. A wide throw to the plate allowed Lyons to score the second run of the inning.
"We made mistakes," Beaver Local head coach Bill Sattler stated. "We made errors that contributed to three of their four runs. And when you're not hitting the ball, you can't make mistakes like those. You have to make plays. Unfortunately we made three or four mistakes. It cost us. It's a big difference when you're down 2-1 instead of 4-1."
Catholic Central actually led 3-1 at this juncture.
The Crusaders started another two-out rally and added the team's fourth run in the fifth inning. Jimmy Panella belted a shot off the bottom of the center field fence, and Brenton Colabella lumbered past the plate.
Thanks to Mihalyo's effort, the score held 4-1.
"We still working towards consistency," Young said. "We want to establish an identity. When we play like we did in this game, we've been very successful. We just have lapses at times. It feels like the first year with this team even with the older guys, because everything is new to them.
"The one thing we have not lacked is effort. Our effort is tremendous every night. There are nights when we make mistakes that we can't overcome them. Even on those nights, the effort is there. And on good nights, we're successful.
"We've pitched and play great defense. Now we're finally starting to get the timely hitting."
Catholic Central travels to Bishop Donahue at 1 p.m. today to play a double dip.
Catholic Central 4, Beaver Local 1
Beaver Local 100 000 0 - 1 4 1
Catholic Central 010 210 x - 4 4 2
BEAVER LOCAL (6-6): Britt (LP, 4K, 2BB) and McLaughlin. Sevey 1B; Smith 2B, RBI; Frank 2B; Dawson 1B.
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (9-3): Mihalyo (WP, 6K, 2BB) and Laukert. Panella 2B, RBI: Bertoia 1B; Lyons 2-1B, 2RBI.