"If we come out and do the things we think we can do, then who knows? But we'll sure take it. It's better than the alternative.''
A pair of state-ranked Class A teams battle at 5 p.m. today in the Region 4 finals at Marshall Field in Parkersburg.
Charleston Catholic (26-9), the No. 4 team in the Gazette state ratings, takes on No. 10 Parkersburg Catholic (20-12).
In the teams' only meeting in the regular season, the Irish won 10-5 on April 16 at the University of Charleston's Triana Field.
"They were a little depleted then,'' Charleston Catholic coach Bill Mehle said of the Crusaders. "It was the end of the week. We know they're a very good baseball club and it's going to be a really competitive game. We have to play them on their field. We have a day to get ready for them, and we'll be ready.''
The Crusaders began the season in high gear, winning their first eight games and rising as high as No. 5 in the state rankings. A midseason lull, however, has been followed by a late-season rush, and they toppled two ranked teams in the postseason - Williamstown in the sectionals and No. 2 Gilmer County in the regional semifinals.
"We scouted the Parkersburg Catholic-Williamstown [sectional final game],'' Mehle said, "and out of 21 outs, I believe Williamstown hit 15 fly balls. We've been practicing how to hit line drives, hit the ball down. You hit the ball down and hard, good things can happen. You've got to keep the ball out of the air.
"We're going to get good pitching, we're going to play good defense. It's a question of whether we're going to execute at the plate.''
Doug Smock and Ryan Pritt contributed to this report. Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.