Central tops the Tigers

BROOKSIDE – It may have only taken 1-hour and 34-minutes of actual game time to play, but the two-day wait was worth it for Steubenville Central.

Chris Murphy and Tony Barber combined on a five-hitter as the Crusaders finally defeated Shadyside in the completion of their Division IV co-sectional baseball championship contest, 6-0, Friday on the Niekro Diamond at Perkins Field.

“We really need to get outside,” said Central coach Don Young. “We had a big hit from our leadoff guy (Kutch Clark) scoring our extra run and that was really good for us. Tony pitched well for us. We made some nice defensive plays. I thought we looked pretty good.

“We did enough offensively to win it. We’ve had some really good games with Shadyside the last few years. I think there is a mutual respect from both teams.”

The game began on Wednesday and was delayed for 30 minutes due to lightning in the second inning. It was then suspended with the winners at bat in the bottom of the fifth, a runner on first and one out. It took a mere 28 minutes to complete Friday.

“We had our chances. We had the bases loaded in the third inning with our No. 3 and No. 4 hitters and couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it,” Shadyside head coach Mike Meintel said. “Then we had the bases loaded in the sixth and couldn’t get it done.”

Trailing 5-0 entering Friday’s action, Meintel said his team’s mindset was to come out swinging.

“We told the kids to just swing the bat,” he noted. “We got the bases loaded in the sixth … we tried to make a little run there, but just couldn’t get the hit we needed.”

The top-seeded Crusaders (18-5) tacked on a sixth tally once the game resumed. Clark’s single up the middle scored pinch-runner Nick Ivkovich.

Zach Frizzi took the mound Friday for the Tigers (9-9) in relief of Austin Dorris. The lefthander struck out two, didn’t walk a batter and allowed just one hit.

Barber fanned three and walked two in relief of Murphy, who struck out half-a-dozen with no free passes.

“Steubenville Catholic is a fantastic team,” Meintel added. “Their coach (Young) is one of the better coaches around, and he is one that I respect. We wish them all the luck in the district.”

The Crusaders advance to district tournament action Monday at Don Coss Field in Cambridge. The first pitch is set for 5 p.m.

“We need to play better Monday,” said Young.