’Cats Come Up Short
One of Paden City baseball team’s goals at the beginning of the season was to play in the OVAC championship game. Of course, along with that, came the idea of winning, but Madonna took advantage of an injury to a Wildcat key player and a big third inning to leave Steubenville’s Vaccaro field with a 9-4 win as OVAC champs.
The Wildcats started the first inning in fine fashion when Ryan Cross cracked a double to the fence in left field, bringing home Matt Saxon; however, that’s when trouble started. Trey Slider, the ace on the mound for the Wildcats and slated to start, was rounding third behind Saxon for what looked to be an easy run when he fell, grabbing his leg and never returning to the game. Paden City coach Brent Croasmun knew the loss was big as Slider is the team’s top pitcher and best hitter.
Saxon took to the mound, but the Blue Dons scored two in the bottom of the first and never lost the lead, enroute to the win. Madonna used a big third inning to get six runs and go up 5-1.
The Wildcats have made a habit all year of living off that one big inning, but on Saturday it was the other way around.
“Without that big third and without the injury to Slider, we have a good close ball game which I believe we could have won,” said Coach Croasmun.
“That was a huge loss when Slider went down; I am very proud of my team for playing hard though. Adversity was the key word of the day, and I am proud of the way we played.”
In the big third inning for the Dons, the first six batters got on base with two walks, an error, a hit pitch, a bunt single and a two run single. Paden City Coach Croasmun said that was the difference in the ball game.
“Madonna has a good baseball team, and you can’t give them a lot of opportunities like that,” Croasmun added. “We fought back best we could and added runs in the fifth and seventh; however, the 8-1 lead proved to be to much to overcome.”
Paden City has made it to the Title game for the fourth straight year and has not been able to grab the Championship.
The loss dropped the Wildcats’ record to 10-6 on the year with the sectional tournament coming up soon.
Saxon took the loss for Paden City with two strikeouts and five walks, while giving up six hits in three innings. Clayton Thomas worked the mound for the final three innings, getting two strikeouts and walking three while allowing three hits. Ryan Cross doubled and singled, driving in a run, while Saxon added two singles and an RBI to lead the Wildcats, who finished with five hits.
The Wildcats committed three errors to one for the Blue Dons.