WEIRTON - Madonna rode the strong left arm of Tory Fuscardo Saturday afternoon to capture a 3-0 win over Conotton Valley in one OVAC Class 1A semifinal at sunny Bowman Field.
The victory catapulted the No. 2 Blue Dons into the final at 4 p.m. Saturday at Vaccaro Field against No. 1 Bishop Donahue.
Fuscardo limited the Rockets to five hits while striking out four and yielding just one walk.
WINNER — Madonna’s Tory Fuscardo, shown in a game earlier in the season, led the Blue Dons to a 3-0 win over Conotton Valley Saturday in an OVAC?Class 1A semifinal.
"Tory has been doing that all year," Madonna coach T. J. Brancazio said of his senior lefty. "We played good defense behind him and indications are that we're starting to play better defensively. We didn't have an error in the last game and only one today off of a tipped ball, so overall, I'm very happy about our defense."
Offensively, the Blue Dons struggled early against junior right hander Trevor Shunk. Madonna broke through for four hits and two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to seal the victory.
"We have to do a better job of getting guys in with one out and runners on third or clutch hits with two outs and runners in scoring position," Brancazio continued. "We finally did get that in the sixth with a one-out sac fly and a two-out hit by Kaleb (Baire)."
Madonna 3, Conotton Valley 0
Conotton Valley 000 000 0 - 0 5 0
Madonna 001 002 x - 3 8 1
CONOTTON VALLEY (9-9): Shunk (LP, 4K, 4BB) and Yosick. B. Bailey 2B; Galigher S; Johnson S; Vaughan S; Chilton S.
MADONNA (10-8): T. Fuscardo (WP, 5K, 1BB) and Ossman. Baire 2S, 2B, RBI; Rogers RBI; L. Fuscardo S; Ossman 3B, R; Bowser S, RBI; Retton S; Camerlango S, R; T. Fuscardo 2B, RBI, R.
Baire was the hitting star, going 3 for 4 with the RBI single in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Conotton Valley kept putting the ball in play forcing Fuscardo to work out of jams in the second, fourth and seventh innings.
"We couldn't get the hits to fall in when we needed them," said Conotton Valley coach, Jan Yosick. "It was a good ballgame. Shunk pitched a nice ball game for us. He's a junior and our ace."
Until the Madonna bats woke up in the bottom of the sixth inning, Shunk had scattered five hits. He wound up striking out three and walking four.
"He does an excellent job for us," Yosick continued. "It's too bad we had to play this good game so early in the tournament. Hopefully, we'll be back again next year."
Madonna scored a run in the bottom of the third inning in quick fashion for what proved to be enough for the win.
Junior catcher Nick Ossman blasted a 2-0 pitch off the right field fence and legged out a triple. His junior classmate, Will Bowser, first-pitch swinging, followed with a single to right to drive him home.
Then the Blue Don bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, second baseman Fargo Camerlango started the rally with a hit. Fuscardo helped his own cause when he doubled to right sending Camerlango to third.
Camerlango then trotted home when Mike Rogers lifted a fly ball to right field and Fuscardo scored when Baire ripped a single to right field.
"Kaleb has done a good job for us all year," said Brancazio. "He got that clutch two-out RBI hit and started a double play that was key for us defensively. Only a sophomore, he has become a leader on the field for us."
The Blue Dons will play a doubleheader Monday at Trinity Christian in Morgantown and will play for the city championship at 7 p.m. Thursday against Weir High at Ed Bowman Field.