Zak Kutsulis' two-run homer in the sixth inning was the difference in a defensive battle between crosstown rivals and on April 10.
The Celtics won 2-0 in a great pitchers' duel between Providence's David Hearne and Central's Grant Bartell. Hits were hard to come by, even with the wind blowing out, but the lefty Kutsulis pulled one out of the park to decide the game.
"It was just a very good baseball game on both sides, and we got the one big hit and that was the difference," Providence coach Mark Smith said.
The Knights (10-4) were coming off a 21-run performance over Thornton on Monday, but the level of competition was much higher in this game. Providence (11-3) was the state runner-up last year and reloaded this season to sit ranked at No. 3 in state by the Chicago Tribune.
So the merit of "moral victories" can be debated, but this game was certainly evenly matched between two teams that could meet again down the road.
"You want to play teams like this to get better," Central coach Sean Bieterman said. "Playing people of Providence's quality, you get better. We're a very, very good team. I think we're a team that could be dangerous at the end of the year."
Still, both coaches said the key is getting the offense going against tight competition like it was Tuesday. That was tough against the stellar pitching. Hearne had five innings pitched with eight strikeouts and just four hits. Christian Ochoa closed out the final two innings for Providence with just one hit allowed.
For the Knights, Bartell gave up just six hits in seven innings, missing only on the game-deciding home run ball.