Donball downs Donahue
WEIRTON – What a difference a couple of days can make.
Saturday at the Knight Baseball Complex, Bishop Donahue beat Madonna 2-1 to win the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 1A championship in a baseball game that was completed in an hour and 25 minutes.
Monday night, Madonna exacted revenge, but it took two hours and thirty minutes to win a wild 11-10 decision in the opening game of the West Virginia Class A Region 1, Section 1 tournament at Ed Bowman Field.
The walkoff victory by Madonna in the bottom of the seventh propels the Blue Dons into a 6:30 p.m. game today against Wheeling Central at Bowman Field.
“This certainly was a lot different game than Saturday,” exclaimed Blue Don coach T.J. Brancazio. “They came out hitting the ball early and our bats finally woke up late. We were behind early, but my players didn’t quit. We kept telling them to get on base one batter at a time.
“They did the job. Everyone did the job from the top of the order to the bottom. Tory Fuscardo didn’t pitch as well as he has been doing all season, but we were able to pick him up.”
One player who sparked the Blue Dons was junior Will Bowser, who is on fire the past few games. He slugged two home runs and a double and drove in three runs. The left fielder has 11 hits in his last 12 trips to the plate.
But Bowser’s bat wasn’t the whole story. Down 8-2 in the sixth inning, the Blue Dons scored six runs, and then when the Bishops scored two in the top of the seventh, Madonna retaliated with three.
“We kind of lost it a little bit there in the sixth inning,” said Bishop Donahue coach Bob Kleeh. “We threw the ball around a little bit and panicked a little bit. We have some young kids in some spots, but that’s no excuse because at this time of the season freshmen are sophomores and sophomores are juniors.
“We started a freshman pitcher (Andrew Rush) and I thought he did a fantastic job. He hung a couple of pitches to the wrong kid. Bowser is a strong kid. When you hang one to him, he’s going to hit it a long way and that’s exactly what happened.
“I wanted to see what he could do with the two lefties in the sixth.”
The young lefthander didn’t do well in that situation as lefty Luca Fuscardo led off the inning with a single up the middle and Bowser smashed a double off the right field fence. Both later scored.
Joe Myers replaced Rush and didn’t fair much better as he gave up four runs on three hits as Madonna tied the game at 8-8.
Myers, who ended up as the losing pitcher, started the two-run Bishop Donahue rally in the top of the seven when he cracked a one-out single to right field, his fourth hit of the game. Phil Smith followed with a double to left field to put runners at second and third. Myers scored when designated hitter Hunter Kaschke hit into a fielder’s choice and Smith touched home on Alex Riedel’s RBI single to left to put the Bishops up 10-8.
Bowser ignited the winning rally when he led off the seventh with his second home run over almost the exact spot he hit the one in the fourth inning to break up Rush’s bid for a no- hitter.
Nick Ossman worked Myers for a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Designated hitter Vinnie Merico placed a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line to move Ossman to second with the potential tying run.
Nick Mazur, who started the game at first base, pitched an inning and wound up playing third base, worked Myers for another walk to bring up sophomore catcher, Dom Silvestri. Silvestri smashed a 1-2 pitch right at the Donahue second baseman, who couldn’t handle it allowing the ball to trickle out into right field.
Ossman easily scored the tying run from second base and Grant Retton, who pinch ran for Mazur, wheeled around third and slid for the plate as the throw from right field eluded Bishop Donahue catcher Alex Riedel.
Mike Rogers, the third Madonna hurler in the game, wound up as the winning pitcher giving up four runs and six hits.
“Madonna battled back,” Kleeh concluded. “They’re not going to go down easy, but neither are we. We’ll be back Wednesday to take on tomorrow’s loser.”
The loser of today’s Madonna/Wheeling Central game will face the Bishops Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. following a 4 p.m. Class AA sectional game at Bowman Field between Weir High and Oak Glen.
Madonna 11, Bishop Donahue 10
Donahue 000 314 2 – 10 16 3
Madonna 000 206 3 – 11 8 2
BISHOP DONAHUE: Rush (3BB 4K), Myers (6, LP, 3BB 1K) and Riedel; Myers 4S, 2R, 2RBI; Riedel 3S, 2RBI; Cunningham 2D, R; Smith 2B, 2R; Vucelik S, 2R, RBI; LeMasters 2D, S, R, RBI.
MADONNA: T. Fuscardo (2BB, 6K), Mazur (5, 1BB, 1K), Rogers (6, WP, 2BB, 1K) and Silvestri; Bowser 2HR, 2B, 3RBI, 3R; Ossman 2S, 2R, RBI; Baire 2B, RBI; L. Fuscardo S, R; Silvestri 2S, 2RBI, R.