CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One might think that Charleston Catholic would be dejected after giving up two runs in the top of the seventh inning, helping Valley tie the game in their Class A semifinal showdown at the State Tournament Friday afternoon.
However, that clearly wasn't the case as it could have much worse had the Irish not thrown two Greyhound batters out at the plate to help preserve the tie.
Catholic wasted no time in plating the winning run without the Greyhounds recording an out, as Connor Golden's RBI single over a drawn in infield with no outs gave the Irish a dramatic 6-5 victory over Valley at Appalachian Power Park.
With the win, Catholic (29-9) advances to play Magnolia (31-4) in the Class A Championship game on Saturday afternoon, 45 minutes after the Class AA title tilt to be played at 10 a.m.
"They had all the momentum in the world but we came in the huddle and were real focused," Golden said. "We just knew we were going to find a way to win this ballgame. It didnt matter how we were going to do it or when we were going to do it."
With the game tied at five in the bottom of the seventh, Irish No. 9 batter Thad Jameson singled to lead off the inning, and Rocco Wilcox followed with a walk.
Having two runners on and nobody out, Kiefer Hovorka attempted a sacrifice bunt, but Valley first baseman Joe Eckert and pitcher Arik McGinnis couldn't field the ball cleanly, with Eckert being charged with an error.
With the bases loaded, Golden laced a 1-1 McGinnis offering into left field over the drawn in Valley infield, scoring Jameson with the winning run, setting off a mob scene by the Catholic players.
"I was just happy we were able to get the win," Golden said. "Anybody one through nine could have been in my spot that we would have won it in the bottom of the 7th. I didnt expect to be in that situation and be a hero."
Catholic Coach Bill Mehle indicated there was no panic on the Irish players despite giving up the lead.
"We got everyone in the huddle and calmed everyone down," Mehle said. "Obviously the job as the home team in a tie game is you have to get that first guy on base. Then get him in scoring position.
"We were able to do that with some quality walks and a bunt. Then Connor comes up big with the chopper. He had a great appearance at the plate. We knew it would be a battle right down to the wire, and fortunately we made one more play than they did."