Roman gets over hump with win over Ryan

A CASE OF THE Mondays can be quite common, but Roman Catholic had a case of the Wednesdays this season.

Roman sports a gaudy 3-0 record at the beginning of the week, but was winless in two hump-day tries. The third Wednesday of the year was the charm, as Roman Catholic upended the host Archbishop Ryan, 4-2.

"We talked a lot after Monday. We talked a lot about putting together a good week, going 2-0," head coach Anthony Valucci said. "We did a good job today."

Roman manufactured a run in the first inning after leadoff man Bill Dougherty was hit by the first pitch of the game. After a stolen base and a groundout, No. 3 hitter Marquise Woods hit a towering fly ball down the leftfield line, scoring Dougherty on the tag-up.

Roman would increase its lead to 3-0 in the third courtesy of RBI singles from freshman catcher Blaise Faiola and junior first baseman John Kelly.

The rest was up to righthander Aidan Welch.

Welch went the distance, surrendering just two hits, and striking out six.

"My fastball was really on today," Welch said. "My slider was doing the job later in the count and keeping them off-balance."

"For my money, Aiden is one of the best around," Valucci coach said. "He's just a competitor. When he gets on that mound, you just let him go and he gets the job done more times than not."

Welch would face the minimum the first time through Ryan's order. The senior would get into some trouble in the fourth. After a walk and an error, Ryan senior Brian Yost tagged Welch with a two-run single, cutting Roman's lead to 3-2.

That's as close as the Raiders would get.

Roman would add an insurance run in the fifth inning and Welch took it from there. He tossed just nine pitches in the final frame and was the catalyst of a game-ending 1-6-3 doubleplay, putting the exclamation point on the win.

The Cahillites' improved to 4-2 with the victory and moved into a second-place tie with Ryan and four other teams in the competitive Catholic League.

"It's the best league around," Valucci said. "It's strong, everyone is so close. So, anytime you can get a win against a team that's ahead of you, it's important to do so."

Welch will play for Millersville University in the fall. He said competing in the Catholic League will help the transition to college ball.

"The competition, obviously. Every game in the Catholic League is going to be a tight one," Welch said. "It's probably going to be like that in the (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) next year."

Until then, Welch has unfinished business to take care of for his Roman squad. After exiting in last year's quarterfinals, Welch believes this year can be different.

"If we play like we did today and other games that we won, we can go all the way," he said.