The Marty Kanetsky-coached Girard baseball team put up a good battle before succumbing.
By GREG GULAS
STRUTHERS -- Senior James Moorhead pitched six strong innings and the defending state champion Ursuline High School baseball team downed Girard 5-4 in a Division III district championship game Tuesday at Cene Park.
The Irish (16-9) advanced for the second straight year to next week's regional action at Massillon.
"We knew Girard was a good team," Ursuline coach Sean Durkin said. "We got some clutch two-out hitting and excellent pitching from both James Moorhead and John Angelo tonight. That was a key to our victory."
Five-run lead: The Irish took a 5-0 lead after four innings of play. All five runs came after two outs and resulted after players had reached base either by a walk or having been hit by a pitch.
Justin Adams scored the first run of the game for Ursuline as he led off the game being hit by a Steve Procner pitch.
Adams advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Scott Adair, then scored on a double by John Angelo.
In the second inning, Josh Conkey and Chuck Pregibon were walked and Adams' single gave Ursuline a 3-0 lead.
"Take nothing away from Ursuline as they played well defensively," Girard coach Marty Kanetsky said. "Looking back, it took us a half a game to get going and you just can't do that against the defending state champs and expect to win."
The Irish built their lead to 5-0 when Pregibon and Adair both walked in the fourth inning, coming home on a single by Erin Satterlee.
Girard cut the lead to 5-4 in the fifth inning by sending eight batters to the plate. Three of the four runs came on an RBI single by Greg Cook and a two-run single off the bat of Mike Williams. Cook also scored on a passed ball.
Moorhead's relief: Moorhead struck out seven. All four of Girard's runs were unearned as he gave way to John Angelo in the seventh inning.
Angelo, the winning pitcher Monday against Crestview, gained the save as he struck out two of three batters he faced in the final inning.
Angelo allowed an infield single to leadoff hitter Paul Ragozine, but relaxed after catcher Brad Hochendoner picked off pinch runner Tim Breeze.
"We know as the defending state champs, there is a target on our back," Durkin said. "In a way that has benefited us because despite our youth, we've had to match the intensity of our opponents."