Nelson McKown, who had three hits and drove in three runs, said the early patience was a big part of Catholic's game plan.
"That's what we came in saying, 'The hits are going to come, but you've got to be patient,'" McKown said. "They get wild out there. They've got good pitchers but we watched them do that [Friday] against Notre Dame. They had  walks, and we thought we'd use that to our advantage today."
That plate discipline helped ignite the Catholic offense until the bats arrived later.
Thad Jameson went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs from the No. 9 spot for Catholic as the Irish plated two runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings.
Even up several runs in the late innings, Mehle was still putting on bunt signs and trying to move runners over to score, feeling that even a big lead might not quite be enough.
It's hard to believe even he knew how right his instincts were.
"We knew that [veteran Magnolia coach Dave Cisar's] team was going to be ready to play for a state championship," Mehle said. "Even when we had that seven-run cushion, we knew that wasn't going to be enough. If you notice, we had [a lead of] seven runs and we were still trying to bunt our way across to get another run in, and that's just smart baseball. When you get into the postseason, you don't take anything for granted."
Magnolia (31-5), which held a 12-7 advantage in hits, came up barely short of its first state championship since a Class AA crown in 2006.
"It's great, great, great to play in the state championship and it's great to play a great game," Cisar said. "I'm real proud of my kids. Congratulations to Charleston Catholic. I hope to see you next year - and that's it."
Drew Keller went 3 for 4 with two doubles and drove in three runs for Magnolia and Ryan Walton also had three hits with two doubles. Walton and Zach Willhoite each drove in a pair of runs for the Blue Eagles.
Catholic did not register an extra-base hit.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.