WHEELING - There was a strong feeling of deja vu Monday night at the J.B. Chambers Youth Athletic Complex.
Phillip Smith, whose sixth-inning RBI single provided the winning run for Bishop Donahue last week against Wheeling Central in Moundsville, turned the trick again - this time in the seventh.
With two outs, Smith knocked in Bryce Jones from third and the Bishops rallied for a 4-3 triumph and a regular-season sweep of their sectional rivals.
PHOTO BY RICK THORP
Bishop Donahue’s Phillip Smith looks toward home plate as Wheeling Central third baseman Patrick Biega moves in on the play during their prep baseball game Monday in Wheeling.
''We just battled and battled,'' Bishop Donahue coach Bob Kleeh said. ''Bryce got the leadoff hit and then Phillip came through with the line drive.
''He's been doing that all season from the No. 3 spot.''
Central didn't go down without a fight, though.
Derek Yocke reached first to start the bottom of the seventh after being hit by a Hunter Kaschke pitch. Brandon Gast then singled, sending C.J. Burch - pinch running for Yocke - to second.
Following a John McFarland strikeout, Kaschke got leadoff batter Ian Yahnke to hit into a fielder's choice. Thomas Stanley - pinch running for Gast - was forced out at second. Yahnke was safe at first and Burch moved to third.
Anthony Tighe flied out to left to end it.
''We're just not executing when we have to,'' Wheeling Central coach Jim Wodusky said. ''We're getting baserunners on and we're just not getting the clutch hits. That's been our M.O. all season.
''When a pitcher is pounding the strike zone like their kid was (Monday) we need to be aggressive.''
With the game scoreless, the Bishops loaded the bases to start the third. Cleanup hitter Wylie Koontz took advantage, slapping a single that scored Garrett Yurisko and Kyle Gillis.
Central's bats finally came alive in the fourth after registering three singles in the first three innings.
Mic Keys' infield single, Patrick Biega's single and Nick Naumann's bunt single loaded the bases with no outs.
Nate Bakaitis then slapped a shot to short. Austin Ghaphery forced out Naumann at second, but his throw to first was offline. Keys and Biega scored on the play to knot the game at 2-2.
Two batters later with two outs, Burch stole second. Catcher Alex Riedel tried to make the play, but his throw went into the outfield allowing Burch to score giving Central a 3-2 lead.
Riedel atoned for his miscue in the sixth, sending a sacrifice fly to right that scored Koontz from third to tie the game at 3-3.
''We earned it. We earned it,'' Kleeh said. ''They battled and we battled. It was just one of those games.''
The Bishops are 3-0 against sectional foes, but Kleeh was quick to say he doesn't think his team is in the same class as Central and Madonna just yet.
''This was certainly a big win for us, though. But I want to keep the kids on an even keel like I said before.
''We'll see how everything plays out, but (my team) has a lot of heart and I'm proud of them.''
Kaschke, a sophomore, picked up a victory. His nemesis on the hill, Keys, played well, too, allowing one extra-base hit.
''We're continuing to work to get better at-bats,'' Wodusky said of his young squad.
''I'd like to see us get a little more aggressive at the plate. We just have to play better. We have pretty solid pitching. Mic struggled early, but it didn't hurt us.
''If we can't score more than three runs then we're not executing.''