POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. - Charleston Catholic entered Monday evening's Class A Region 4 semifinal baseball matchup against Wahama with a well-versed strategy in place.
"We knew that Hunter Bradley is a very good pitcher for Wahama so we knew he'd be settling in after a couple of innings," Catholic Coach Bill Mehle said. "Coming into the game we emphasized to the kids to play the first inning like it's the seventh and just try to find a way to win that inning."
Fortunately for the Irish, they were able to do just that in jumping to a six run lead after two innings and holding off a late rally en route to a 6-2 at Point Pleasant High.
Catholic (26-9), which bested Wahama for the third time this season, will play at Parkersburg Catholic at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with its third straight State Tournament berth on the line.
Wahama's season ended at 18-12. It was the third straight season in which the Irish have eliminated the White Falcons from postseason play.
Catholic jumped on Bradley with a pair of runs in the first inning when Rocco Wilcox scored on an infield error and Connor Golden crossed the plate on a two-out RBI single by Hoyer.
The Irish plated four in the second inning on RBI singles by Nelson McKown, Hovorka and Wilcox.
Wilcox and Sam McKown paced Catholic with two hits apiece.
"We were able to get on him (Bradley) in the first and second innings," Mehle said. "He did settle down, hit his spots and kept our guys off balance. We just emphasized getting some runs early and then just trusting out pitching and defense to keep us in the game."