Golden then followed with his high chopper over the infield.
"We knew we could find a way to execute and push one across,'' Mehle said, "and we did it textbook - single, walk, bunt to get him in scoring position, then Connor came up and put the ball in play.''
Valley, which lost in the state semifinals for a third straight year, certainly helped the Irish cause at times, committing three infield errors, issuing six walks and freezing on back-to-back fielder's choices in the fourth that led to a Catholic run.
Grounders were fielded at second and short, but hesitation by the fielders resulted in no plays at any base.
"You can't fault the effort,'' said Valley coach Joe Craffey. "Sometimes it just happens. We're still talking about high school kids playing on this stage.''
Craffey, however, was also quick to point out the fight in his players, who got a two-run single from John Riddle in the fourth to make it 4-3, then the two runs to tie it during desperation time in the seventh.
"They very easily could have thrown in the towel,'' Craffey said, "down two and facing their two best pitchers. But they played like they have all year - played up until the end of the game, and that's all we can ask.''
Craffey acknowledged that after McGinnis was involved in a big collision at the plate in the top of the seventh, he had trouble locating his pitches the next time on the mound, though his fastball was still being clocked at 85 mph.
"He just couldn't find the strike zone in the seventh inning,'' Craffey said. "At this point, you don't look [to say] this happened because of this. He'd be the first one to tell you he didn't find the strike zone. He's man enough about it to man up to what happened. That's why we put him out there, because he gave us the best chance to win out there today.''
McGinnis entered the game with 94 strikeouts in 48 innings, but the Irish did a good job of making contact, fanning only three times and getting nine hits.
"We expected a dogfight,'' Golden said of the Greyhounds, "because they're a real competitive bunch. I don't think we put it on cruise control. They came through with some timely hits and they hit our best pitching. So tip the hat to them. We fought, and I was real proud of us.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.