Prep baseball: PCHS edges Jackets

DAVISVILLE, W.Va. – Jake Ullman capped a Parkersburg Catholic comeback from a third-inning 6-1 deficit with a clutch two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh to lift the host Crusaders to a 7-6 baseball triumph over Williamstown Tuesday afternoon at Marshall Field.

Catholic, evening its record at 9-9, entered the home half of the seventh still down a run after rallying with two runs each in the fourth and fifth frames to pull within one tally of the Yellowjackets at 6-5.

Williamstown (3-10) starter Josh Daniell gave up a leadoff ground-rule double as Kyle Bronski hammered a pitch down into the left-field-corner before being replaced on the mound by Dakota Watson, who proceeded strike out two, but then walk two to load the bases,

Jake Tracewell relieved Watson and Ullman, batting in the leadoff spot for injured second baseman Austin Luther instead of his usual third position in the batting order, greeted him by driving a double into the left-center field gap, splitting the outfielders who chased the ball to the base of the outfield fence as the tying and winning runs crossed the plate to give PC the win.

“I knew he (Tracewell) was going to give me a fastball, so I was sitting on it,” said Ullman.

Southpaw Payton Sturm earned the win in relief, working the last three innings of scoreless ball after taking over for starter Grant Weyer to open the fifth

Catholic got the game’s initial run in the first on an RBI single by Bronski, who went 3-for-4 on the day, as did Josh Stephens of Williamstown.

But the ‘Jackets broke through with six runs in the third, aided by a gusty wind and three Crusader errors in the inning.

A dropped ball on a fielder’s choice try at second base let in the tying tally, and Kody Rhyne’s pop-fly in the blustery wind eluded both the PC second baseman and right fielder, falling in for a two-run single. A throwing error followed for another run. Brye Mullenix’s wind-blown single on another pop-fly to right made the count 5-1 and finally an infield pop-up wasn’t caught as run No. 6 of the inning came home.

But the Crusaders were able to almost climb out of their five-run hole with two runs in the fourth on a pair of Williamstown errors and then two more in the fifth on RBI singles by Sturm and Cary Casto. In between, PC left fielder Andrew Cinalli threw out a runner at the plate in the top of the fifth on a one-hop peg home that catcher Jake Boice jumped up to snag, then brought down to apply the tag.

“The wind got us there in the third inning,” said Catholic head coach Tom Harvey. “But you’ve still got take care of the ball. They were putting it up in the air and we weren’t catching it, and we got ourselves in a big hole we almost didn’t get out of. All that happened with two outs: we make one play, we’re out of the inning and not in such a big hole.”

Williamstown head coach Terry Smith was a little frustrated too by his team’s defensive lapses in the fourth and fifth innings when Catholic began to rally back. “We have to make the simple plays when they’re right there in front of you to make,” he said. “After getting up like we were, we shouldn’t have let them back in it like we did.”