The other side of the coin is that the Irish aren't exactly losing to chopped liver. Their last four setbacks have come to ranked teams - AAA Logan, AA No.1 Hoover and single-A Madonna and Valley Fayette.
That fact hasn't been lost on Catholic coach Bill Mehle.
"That's what we keep talking about - and what we talked about at batting practice [Saturday],'' Mehle said. "If you look at our schedule, I'd match our schedule with any single-A team. Going to the beach, the Catholic schools tournament, then rolling through Hoover and Logan.
"It's a very, very competitive schedule, and the reason why we do that is to focus on what we need to do to win in the postseason. We told them there's two weeks left [in the regular season] to practice and now it's all about executing - learning how to execute in pressure situations. We've got to keep learning and keep our heads up and hope we plan on being hot at the right time two weeks from now.''
No Hoover hangover
Hoover coach Brian Young doesn't think his team will suffer a hangover following its first loss of the season.
"I don't think so,'' Young said following the setback at Poca. "We put the ball in play. We hit the ball right at them, and they made several nice plays. They got after it and made plays when they needed to. We helped them out by making errors on their side.''
The Huskies committed five errors that led to nine unearned runs for the Dots. On offense, Hoover outhit Poca 13-8, but was held to its lowest run total of the season. Twelve times in its first 16 games, Hoover scored 10-plus runs.
Young didn't want to pin all the blame on his team's fielding, even though the hitting and pitching were above average.
"It didn't let us down, I don't think,'' he said. "We didn't put timely hits together. We had 13 hits, but we never seemed to get hits with runners in scoring position the last two innings. We've got to put the ball in play and get one to fall for us.''
Hoover bounced back nicely Saturday with a 20-7 win at AAA Point Pleasant, bunching 15 runs into its final two at-bats to break a 5-all tie and snap the Big Blacks' 10-game win streak.
Tide rolls with Hunter
Hoover, which had six players hitting better than .450 to start last week, isn't the only team putting up some big offensive numbers this season.
Sherman junior John Hunter ended the week hitting a solid .567 through 18 games with 24 runs, 22 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. Included in his barrage are 18 extra-base hits - eight doubles, eight triples and two homers.
Hunter also contributes on the mound with 37 strikeouts in 33 innings and fields at a .980 clip as a pitcher-first baseman.
"He's a great kid and a role model for the younger players,'' said Tide coach Jeremiah Pettry. "He works hard on the field as well as in the classroom. He has aspirations of playing college baseball.''
The Tide (6-12) started the season 2-9, but is playing better lately.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.