WHEELING - Madonna softball coach Chris Conti had been waiting for Amanda Paul to have a break out game.
The center fielder came through on Tuesday.
Paul went 3-for-3 with a grand slam in the bottom of the second as Madonna rolled to a 11-2, five-inning victory against Bishop Donahue in a Class A, Region I, Section I opener.
GRAND SLAM — Weirton Madonna teammates prepare to welcome Amanda Paul at home plate after she smashed a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning to lead the Blue Dons to an 11-2 victory over Bishop Donahue Tuesday as the West Virginia Region 1, Section 1 sectional tournament began at the I-470 Complex.
The senior's shot over the left field fence broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Bishops (7-14) into a win-or-go-home scenario with top seeded Wheeling Central tonight at 5.
''Amanda's been hitting for me all year,'' Conti said. ''She's a very good athlete and it was just her day. She came out and played the way I know she knows how to play. She made some great plays on defense, too.''
Overshadowed by the Blue Don's offense, which produced nine hits, was winning pitcher Amanda Pulice, who allowed only four hits.
''She pitched well,'' Conti said. ''She hit her spots good and kept them a little off-balanced. She kept the ball down and we made the routine plays for her.''
While the Blue Dons (13-8), who will play tonight's winner in the sectional championship, ran off the field celebrating, Bishop coach Curt Mele was left baffled. Donahue seemed to be hitting its stride as it forced St. John into extra innings in an OVAC quarterfinal and came up one run shy of knocking off the eventual OVAC champions in its previous outing.
''After the way we've been playing, our last three or four games, I felt good coming into the game,'' Mele said. ''I thought we would build on that momentum. We were just not the same team (Tuesday). Madonna hit the ball, but nothing that we don't practice at everyday.
''We just didn't make the routine play. You have to make those routine plays especially in tournament time and Madonna took advantage of our errors.''
Following two Donahue errors to start the second, Annie Magnone singled in Aubrey Platek to tie it 2-2. A Becca Holt hit and an error at third left the bases loaded to set up Paul's slam.
Madonna's offense kept rolling in the third as Thompson scored on a groundout and Magnone singled in Platek before Paul plated Magnone and then stole home.
Platek doubled in Thompson for the last run in the fourth.
''This is probably the best game we've played all year,'' Conti said. ''Hitting wise, defensively wise, I thought we played really well. The girls played good all around. It just wasn't one person. It was a total team effort.''
Taylor Koontz had a two run hit in the second to give the Bishops its only lead, 2-1.
W.Va. Class A
Region I, Section I
Madonna 11, Bishop Donahue 2
Bishop Donahue 020 00 - 2 4 4
Madonna 154 1x - 11 9 1
BISHOP DONAHUE: Mele (LP, 3K, 1W) and South; Bonar S, D; Koontz S, 2RBI.
MADONNA: Pulice (WP, 1K, 0W) and Magnone; Holt 2S; Paul D, HR, S, 4RBI; Pietranton S, RBI; Kaczmarek T; Fierro RBI; Magnone 2S, 2RBI.