STEUBENVILLE - One inning changed the game.
The Catholic Central softball team erupted to score six runs in the top of the third inning against Big Red and held on for a 6-4 victory Monday afternoon at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the first game in a split doubleheader.
"You have to give Big Red credit," Catholic Central (7-3) head coach Jim DiCarlo said. "Big Red is a good offensive team. We did not play exceptionally well defensively. We have not played in a few days.
CITY RIVALS — Catholic Central’s Micca Mirabella, left, and Carmie Biasi of Big Red react during a play on Monday. The Crusaders won the game at Franciscan University of Steubenville, 6-4.
-- Mike Mathison
"We started off slow. We had the one good inning. They battled back, but we persevered in the end."
Big Red led 1-0 heading into the third inning.
"You can say one bad inning, but they hit the ball hard," Big Red (10-7) head coach Gus DiMarzio said. "They put it in play hard. That is part of the game.
"Catholic Central is a good team. They are well coached. They have good kids. It was one bad inning or one good inning depending on what side you're on. That is often the difference in a softball game."
Five players had RBIs for the Crusaders in their six-run inning.
"We are still trying to get into a rhythm of playing games," DiCarlo said. "This was only our 10th game. I am glad we are able to play two games today.
"We were able to get some clutch hits in that inning."
Alex McComb picked up the win. The sophomore struck out four and walked two.
Offensively, the Blue-and-Gold produced 10 hits. Individually, Ashlynne Daley delivered two singles, a double and two RBIs, Micca Mirabella tallied a single, a double and an RBI and Fran Capaldi and McComb each collected a run-scoring single. Also, Megan Lloyd, Shayna Mirabella and Maddy Gulan all ended up with singles.
Freshman Hayley Stamps took the loss. Stamps struck out five and walked one.
"She did fine," DiMarzio said. "She is a freshman. She is as good of a freshman pitcher as there is. She did a good job. She is a fighter."
Big Red totaled seven hits. Tenia Barker recorded two singles and two RBIs, Sierra Fields and Nauja Banks each finished with a single and an RBI and Mytia Barker, Casey Gentile, Keasha Barz, Rhiannon Petrisko and Abby Taylor all tallied a base hit.
"It didn't help that we made mistakes," DiCarlo said. "They had their leadoff batter on in almost every inning. That put us in a hole.
"Alex made pitches when she needed to to get out of the trouble. I would rather her not be in trouble, but she made good pitches when she was in trouble.
"One through nine, Big Red has a good group of hitters. They are all hard outs. They have no easy outs."
Big Red took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a base hit by Fields.
In the top of the third for Catholic Central, Daley collected a two-run double, Micca Mirabella tallied an RBI double and Capaldi and McComb plated runs with singles. Micca Mirabella also scored a run when she stole home.
Big Red closed the gap to two runs with a three-run fifth inning. Banks plated a run with a groundout, and Tenia Barker ripped a two-run single to make the score 6-4, but that was close as Big Red got in the game.
Big Red left 11 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the third.
"That is the story of the week. We have probably left 30 runners on in our last seven games. It is hard to win when you do that," said DiMarzio.
"We are trying to scratch some runs out. If we got one timely hit we could have busted the game open, but we didn't get the clutch hit."
McComb was able to pitch herself out of trouble multiple times in the game.
"Big Red puts pressure on you," DiCarlo said. "They are good running the bases. They are a good-hitting team. This game is always tough. They are our big rival.
"We made plays too. We had some clutch hits in the third too. We put pressure on them in the third.
"It is tough. I knew today was going to be a tough doubleheader, but I am glad we are playing two. If we keep hitting the ball, we will be fine."
The Crusaders defeated the Golden Bears, 4-1, in their nightcap.
Big Red had to put the loss behind them before making the trip across the river to Weirton, a 14-2 win.
"I tip my hat to Jimmy," DiMarzio said. "He has good kids. They have good character. They fought. We fought. Someone has to win, and someone has to lose. When you lose a close game, you have to blame the coach. It is my fault."
Catholic Central is scheduled to play today at Madonna. Big Red is scheduled to play again Wednesday at home against Beaver Local.
Catholic Central 6, Big Red 4
Catholic Central 006 000 0 - 6 10 3
Big Red 100 030 0 - 4 7 2
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (7-3): McComb (WP, 4K, 2BB) and Daley; Daley 2S, D, 2 RBI; Lloyd S; S. Mirabella S; M. Mirabella S, D, RBI; F. Capaldi S, RBI; Gulan S; McComb S, RBI.
BIG RED (10-7): Stamps (LP, 5K, 1BB) and M. Barker; Taylor S; M. Barker S; Banks S, RBI; Gentile S; T. Barker 2S, 2 RBI; Barz S, Fields S, RBI Petrisko S.