Chuck Pregibon's two-run single in the fourth inning was the big hit for the Irish.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
STRUTHERS -- As members of the defending Division III state championship team, the Ursuline High baseball players know they are walking around in everyone's gun sights.
Challenged all season by underdogs who want a piece of the champions, the Irish understand they must take advantage of every opportunity if they want to stay alive in this year's tournament.
Monday, in the sectional opener at Cene Park, the Irish (13-9) broke a scoreless tie with two walks, an infield single, a hit batsman with the bases loaded and a two-run single on a full-count pitch that triggered a 5-0 victory over Campbell Memorial.
"We have a target on our backs and everyone is coming to get us," said senior pitcher Jim Moorhead (4-2), who threw a three-hitter and struck out 10.
First run: Steve Stroney forced in the first run of the game in the fourth inning, when Campbell Memorial pitcher Fred Ramos hit him on a 1-2 pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Scott Adair.
Senior Chuck Pregibon followed with the key hit of the game, a two-out single that eluded Red Devils third baseman Rick Quinn to bring home Erin Satterlee and John Angelo.
Pregibon, who said he has been playing baseball with Ramos since Little League, said the showdown "was more of a personal battle. I knew I couldn't go down to him again" after striking out in the third inning.
"I saw it go to the left of the third baseman, so I knew it had a shot to go through," said Pregibon, who added that scoring first was a boost. "Either way, you tuck your head down and run as fast as you can.
"We've been battling back a lot in our games, so to have the lead [first] was phenomenal," said Pregibon, who was a backup catcher on the championship team.
Ursuline manager Sean Durkin said, "Chuck just came through with a big swing on a full count and that seemed to get the ball rolling in our direction.
"They were one strike away from getting out of it and that could have been a huge momentum [swing]," Durkin said. "We've told the kids all year that every game we play, we are the biggest game on a lot of people's schedule.
No hit bid ends: Campbell's Juan Torres broke up Moorhead's no-hitter with a lead-off double in the fourth inning. But Torres was left stranded as the next three batters were retired.
Aaron Dobich singled to open Campbell's fifth inning and reached third base before Moorhead struck out Chris Melnik and Erik Bonilla to end the threat.
Moorhead retired the side in order in the final two innings.
"Jimmy deserves a lot of credit and we made some nice plays behind him," Durkin said.
Kevin Barry's two-out double scored Stroney in the sixth inning for Ursuline's fourth run. Pat Sipusic's checked-swing single brought in Barry.
Ursuline advanced to play Crestview in a district semifinal next Monday at Cene Park. The winner will play the winner of the Springfield-Girard game May 14 at 6:30 p.m.