ELM GROVE - Bob Montgomery has seen enough baseball games during the past four decades to know that what's on the scoreboard doesn't necessarily tell the entire story about a game or the direction a team is headed.
Sure, the veteran coach was happy with John Marshall's 7-5 victory against Wheeling Central on Monday afternoon at the J.B. Chambers Youth Sports Complex. But he was far from satisfied.
''We came out with the 'W,' we did that,'' he said. ''But we just can't seem to put an entire game together.
John Marshall’s Matt Zelic dives back to first as Wheeling Central’s Brian Shaw applies a late tag.
''We had a nice opener against (Wheeling) Central and a nice game (Monday) until the last inning.
''We came away with the win, but where we've been and where we'd like to be ... we still have a long way to go.''
The Monarchs (9-8) jumped out to a 7-1 lead before watching the Maroon Knights (4-10) claw their way back in their final at-bat.
Wheeling Central scored four runs to draw to within two and had the winning run at the plate before JM got the final out.
''I like the life we showed there,'' Wheeling Central coach Jim Wodusky said about the last inning. ''We had a little pep in the dugout and maybe this is contagious.
''Hopefully, they can see what a little excitement can do for your teammates.''
However, like Montgomery, Wodusky said his team is a work in progress.
''We're still putting too many guys on base for free,'' he said. ''Against teams like JM, you're not going to put guys on base like that and not pay for it eventually.''
The Maroon Knights committed an error and walked two batters to help fill the bases with Monarchs with two out in the third.
Jeremiah Fromhart took advantage, lacing a single to left scoring Chris Minder and Shane Wellman to give JM a 2-1 lead.
Jeremy Betras followed with a single to right scoring pinch runner Jerreck Waldrum to make the score 3-1.
The Monarchs scored again with two outs, this time in the fourth, when Mitch Whorton snuck a hit past second base scoring Matt Zelic and increasing the lead to 4-1.
''Fromhart had a big hit and then Whorton had another one that really pumped us up,'' Montgomery said.
While JM was coming up with timely hits, Wheeling Central struggled. The Maroon Knights stranded nine baserunners the first five innings.
Much of that had to do with the work of JM pitcher Wellman. While shaky at times, Wellman stayed steady, striking out six in working into the seventh.
In the sixth, the Monarchs got runners on third and second with nobody out.
After Tanner Filben popped out, Minder brought both runners home with a double to left that made the score 6-1. Whorton plated Minder moments later.
Nick Bakaitis singled to start the bottom of the seventh. Nick Naumann singled two batters later. Justin Hammers followed with another single scoring Bakaitis making the score 7-2.
J.D. Griffith laced another single scoring Bakaitis trimming the deficit to four.
Two batters later, Joe Minor singled to plate Hammers and Griffith and make the score 7-5.
After leadoff batter C.J. Burch was hit by a pitch putting runners at first and second. Joe Gwynn flew out to center to end the threat.