Toronto stops Blue Dons in 10

TORONTO – It was over some 3 hours later and both baseball coaches had different messages for their respective teams.

“We competed the entire game,” said Toronto head coach Brian Perkins. “We had some miscues in that last inning, but, if you’re going to be a championship-type team, you have to battle through adversity, compete and let the chips fall where they may.

“I talked to the kids about getting out there and you have to believe and get after it and tonight, fortunately for us, it happened.”

The Red Knights battled back three times, the final one being a three-run bottom of the 10th inning for a 5-4 victory over Weirton Madonna at the Knight Baseball Complex.

“I hope our kids learned that the small plays during a game, when you have to get a bunt down, matter,” said Blue Dons coach T.J. Brancazio. “Toronto made those plays tonight. Toronto made the small plays and scored runs. We didn’t make the plays that we had to make in the field and at bat.

“When you have a chance to win a game like this one, to beat a really good Toronto team, you have to take advantage of that opportunity and we didn’t at all.”

After Madonna plated two in the top of the 10th inning, including striking out twice with the bases loaded, the Red Knights came back for the third time.

Tyler Owens singled and Brad Melville walked with one out. Austin Lucas reached on an error to load the sacks. One out later, Owens came in when a balk was called.

That put runners at second and third and a routine ground ball by John Marriner was thrown away, scoring Melville and Lucas for the win.

“John Marriner had a tough inning in the top of the 10th, but he came back in the bottom and put the ball in play to make them make a play,” said Perkins. “He could have hung his head and sulked because of what happened in the top of the inning, but he didn’t. He didn’t strike out to make it easy for Madonna. He put the ball in play.

“We were down three times in this game and we came back each time. Early on we had runners on and chances to win, but it didn’t work out for us.

“Our kids continued to compete and keep battling and we were fortunate enough to get the win.”

Tory Fuscardo pitched a gem for Madonna before being lifted for Will Bowser in seventh.

Fuscardo first allowed a hit in the fourth, a bloop single by John Romey that scored Owens, who started the inning with an infield single and moved to second on a wild throw to first. Romey singled two outs later.

Owens walked to start the eighth. He was sacrificed to second and, one out later, stole third when Romey walked. Romey then intentionally got in a rundown. The ball was thrown away by the Blue Dons defense to score Owens for a 2-2 count.

“We felt we should have won in seven, in eight and in 10,” said Brancazio. “We didn’t make plays. We missed signs. We ran the bases poorly. It’s hard to win a baseball game any time you do those things. It’s really hard to win a game against a quality opponent.”

Madonna scored in the top of the first on a Baire double and Luca Fuscardo’s single.

The Blue Dons scored in the eighth when Tory Fuscardo singled, moved to third on Michael Rogers’ double down the line and scored on Baire’s sacrifice fly.

They made it 4-2 in the 10th.

Bairn and Luca Fuscardo singled with one out. Bowser walked to load the sacks and Ossman reached on an error to score Bairn. Vinnie Merico blooped a single to center to plate Fuscardo. The next two batters struck out looking.

“We can’t do that in that situation,” explained Brancazio. “We have to put the ball in play and make their defense make a play – kind of like what they did to us in the bottom of the inning.”

Madonna hosts Wheeling Central and Toronto welcomes Wheeling Central Saturday.

Tyler Owens, in relief of Nate Stewart, picked up the win.

“Our kids did a great job tonight against a very good opponent,” said Perkins. “Madonna has a very good baseball team. We played well tonight, as they did.

“It was a heck of a high school baseball game.”

Toronto 5, Madonna 4

Madonna 100 000 010 2 – 4 10 4

Toronto 000 100 010 3 – 5 5 4

MADONNA: T. Fuscardo (5K, 2BB), Bowser (LP, 7, 5K, 6BB), Mazur (10, 0K, 0BB) and Ossman; Rogers S, D; Bairn D, S, RBI; L. Fuscardo 3S, RBI; Bowser RBI; Merico S, RBI; Antinone S; Fuscardo S.

TORONTO: Stewart (2K, 0BB), Owens (WP, 5, 4K, 5BB) and Solomon; Owens 2S; Melville S; Romey S, RBI; Antinone S.