GLEN DALE - John Marshall baseball coach Bob Montgomery said his pitcher, Shane Wellman, didn't have his best stuff Thursday. His counterpart, Bishop Donahue's Bob Kleeh, said the same about his starter, Hunter Kaschke.
Both battled it out, but it came down to the Monarchs coming through with a few more hits and winning by a 9-5 count at Monarch Field.
''From our end of it, we're not bringing in a cupcake like a college football team does,'' Montgomery said. ''It was a nice setting and it's good for our communities.
''Bishop Donahue has a good team and I liked the game.''
There was an awful lot to like on each side.
From the Monarchs' perspective, Wellman went five-plus innings and struck out four before giving way to Todd Schmidt, the team's defacto closer. Led by Jeremiah Fromhart (three singles, RBI) and Zach Winland (two singles, double and two RBI), John Marshall (14-11) banged out 12 hits.
''Shane has been real good for us. I thought a couple plays we didn't make behind him,'' Montgomery said of his team's three errors. ''Jeremiah has been playing a little more regularly. He can hit the ball hard.''
For the Bishops, who suffered their fourth loss in 20 outings, the light shone especially bright on Kaschke, who struck out six and walked two while throwing 117 pitches - 75 for strikes - in a complete-game effort.
''I've got him for two more years,'' Kleeh said of Kaschke. ''He's like that every time he takes the ball. I could give it to him (today) and he'd go out and throw again. He's just got one of those rubber-band arms. He'll take the ball every time I give it to him and he will battle.''
The Bishops jumped in front with a run off Wellman in the second inning. Marshall Reager singled and eventually came all the way around to score on a pair of errors.
The Monarchs took control in the third with a five-run outburst that included six hits (RBI from Jake Lucas, Fromhart, Josh McKown and Aaron Fonner) and a pair of Bishops errors.
''We were there (but) defensively we made a couple boo-boos out there,'' Kleeh said.
Bishop Donahue cut the lead back to three by manufacturing a run in the top of the fourth. Alex Riedel beat out an infield single and gave way to pinch-runner Ollie Parker who promptly stole second base. Reager then knocked him in with a single.
''We're not loaded,'' Montgomery said. ''We play pretty good and more than good enough a couple times.
''We're not going to win 20-0 and we don't think we will.''
John Marshall bounced right back with two runs. Fromhart singled and Schmidt reached on an error before Winland brought them home with a ringing, opposite-field double off the wall in right.
It seemed as though that would be the dagger, but the Bishops had other ideas.They sent eight batters to the plate and scored three runs while chasing Wellman with one out.
Austin Ghaphery and Bryce Jones singled and Garrett Yurisko walked ahead of a two-run Kyle Gillis single that cut it to 7-4. Philip Smith followed with an RBI single before Schmidt retired the side with a strikeout and flyout to right.
The Bishops left two of their nine runners on base in the inning.
''One little break here or there. If we could have just found a gap ... .'' Kleeh said. ''Baseball is a funny game and it bounces all different ways. It didn't bounce for us here.''
John Marshall put it away in the bottom of the inning when Mitch Whorton, who began the game on the bench, laced a two-run, two-strike single up the middle to score Fromhart and Schmidt who had each singled.
''This doesn't derail our game plan,'' Kleeh said. ''We still want to be good at the middle of May. We're working to be able to compete in that (sectional) tournament, which we haven't been able to do.
''We go to the OVACs on Saturday and we're going to keep moving forward.''