PARKERSBURG COACH Alan Burns is looking for that right chemistry and quality innings to piece together a winning streak for his .500 team.
The Big Reds are 8-9 with only one two-game winning streak and actually have a higher team batting average (.329) than 12-5 St. Albans (.314).
"We've been too inconsistent," said Burns, whose first season as head coach was 1999, the senior year for current Cleveland Indians right fielder Nick Swisher. "We go to Riverside, we get 17 hits. Then, we play South, we get 18 hits on them and we turn around and get five or six hits."
Parkersburg averages only 2.6 errors per game - not an inordinate number of miscues for a high school baseball team.
However, they seem to come at the wrong time, Burns said.
"What's been killing us is the defense," he said. "Against Warren, we had nine errors. You can't win a ballgame like that. Then, you have one error the next game and you win.
"We have the tendency to take a mistake and compound it into two or three."
Parkersburg's offense is led by junior No. 3 batter Levi Casto with a .514, and junior No. 6 batter Logan Dudley (.422).
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SHORTHANDED Parkersburg Catholic, Parkersburg's Wood County neighbor, could be considered an overachiever considering the program has just 13 players and no junior varsity team.
The Crusaders (11-6) took Charleston Catholic to the wire - trailing by only two in the sixth inning before falling 10-5. Seventh-year Coach Tom Harvey's team opened the season on a nine-game winning streak, losing six of eight since.
Parkersburg Catholic is spearheaded by the duo of senior centerfielder Mitch Davis and junior shortstop Jake Ullman. Davis, the team's leadoff hitter and centerfielder, is batting .500 with two home runs, and 16 RBI, while Ullman leads the team in RBI with 24.
Davis also showed off his arm against Charleston Catholic, keeping an Irish runner from scoring from second base on a single to center field. His throw one-hopped to catcher Jake Boice to the right of home plate at the third-base line.
"We have a lot of respect for Mitch," said Catholic Coach Bill Mehle on his decision to not send the runner home. "Mitch is great. He covers a lot of ground out there."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.