Playoff opener not kind to Dons

WHEELING – When it comes to postseason play, any mistake can be costly.

So, when Madonna gave up two early unearned runs to Bishop Donahue, it proved to be too big of a hole for the Blue Dons to dig themselves out of as the Bishops went on to win 6-1 on Lisa’s Field during a West Virginia Class A Region 1, Section 1 semifinal.

”We started off a little slow,” Donahue coach Curt Mele said. ”We were able to take advantage of a couple mistakes they made early. In this time of the year, you have to be able to.”

Madonna (8-10), however, had the perfect opportunity in the third to make up for its early errors.

Annie Magnone and Amanda Paul advanced on a wild pitch to third and second, respectively, and an Emalee Hvizdak bunt loaded the bases with only one out for the Blue Dons as Madison Burchill stepped to the plate.

After falling behind 3-0, Bishops pitcher Andrea Guzek kept her cool and battled back to strike out the senior.

”She was able to work her way through it,” Mele noted. ”That’s a very positive sign. This is sectionals now. We’re going to need her to carry us.”

A Taylor Thompson groundout at the next at-bat left all three baserunners stranded. It also left Blue Don coach Chris Conti shaking his head.

”That hurts,” he said. ”When you get the bases loaded, you have to at least get one or two runs out of something like that and we didn’t capitalize on that. That’s what I tell the girls when the bases are loaded, those are the types of things you need to capitalize on. We haven’t been doing that. These past couple of games, we get runners into scoring positions, but we just don’t capitalize.”

If Madonna needed a lesson on how to capitalize, all it needed to do was to watch the Bishops (17-11) in the bottom half of the frame.

After Guzek advanced to third on a wild pitch, the senior was brought in by an Abby Mele hit that landed between left field and third base.

Selena Ghaphery then slid into home on another wild pitch and Tess Fallova drove in Morgan Carroll to put the Bishops ahead 5-0.

Abby Randolph scored Sommer South in the sixth to make it 6-0. Madonna got on the board in the seventh as Aubrey Platek scored on a wild pitch.

”It took us a couple innings to get our bats moving, but finally we got some solid hits,” Mele said. ”On defense, I thought we were very solid. They had a couple hits on us, but for the most part I was very happy with the way we played.”

The Bishops’ victory gave them a day off as Madonna will have to face Wheeling Central with its season on the line. If the Blue Dons fall today, Donahue and Central will play a best-of-3 series for the sectional crown.

Bishop Donahue 6, Madonna 1

Madonna 000 000 1 – 1 4 3

Bishop Donahue 011 301 x – 6 4 0

MADONNA: Kaczmarek (LP, 4K, 4BB) and Magnone; Paul 2S.

BISHOP DONAHUE: Guzek (WP, 4K, 2BB) and Scott. Mele S, EBI; Randolph S, RBI.