WHEELING - During Thursday's game against sectional rival Wheeling Central, Madonna scored one run apiece in innings 2-5 with a some big hits and timely hitting.
When the Blue Dons broke the game open in the sixth, they did so mainly by just standing in the batters box and leaving the bat on their shoulders.
Three walks, three hit batsmen and a costly error opened the floodgates and Madonna claimed a 12-1 victory against Wheeling Central and the I-470 Complex.
Weirton Madonna’s Ross Comis gets back to first ahead of a tag by Wheeling Central’s Brandon Gast on Thursday evening.
Photo by Josh Strope
''We took advantage of the mistakes toward the end,'' Madonna coach Jeff Baire said. ''We are still not killing the ball. Taking advantage of other people's mistakes, that's great. Eventually you are going to have to create your own luck.
''It's another situation where we get runners on second and third with two outs and we settle for a strikeout. That is one of the things we need to work on before the end of the season but any time you come down to Wheeling, your biggest rival and you get a win, regardless of how it happens, you feel good.''
Wheeling Central pitcher Mic Keys gave up four runs in the first five innings, but had a solid game with six strikeouts and doing his best to keep the Maroon Knights in the game.
When Wheeling Central coach Jimbo Wodusky made a pitching switch in the top of the sixth, that was when things started to go down hill for the Maroon Knights (2-4).
Patrick Biega came and walked the first two batters in Nick Ossman and Will Bowser. A sacrifice bunt by freshman Kaleb Baire turned into a throwing error as the third baseman tried to get the out at third and ended up throwing it into the outfield, scoring Ossman.
Tory Fuscardo walked to load the bases. Biega then hit Ross Comis and Logan Linder as Madonna went ahead 7-1.
Wodusky had seen enough and went after Biega, who didn't record an out. In came Mario Peroni to similar results.
The sophomore was rudely welcomed by Chris Duerr, who singled up the middle to score another run. Peroni then joined in the hit parade by plunking Connor Mogan to drive in another run.
Dan Pietranton added a two-run single down the first-base line and Bowser hit a run-scoring single up the middle to complete the Blue Dons (8-2) scoring.
''We are not any good,'' Wodusky said. ''We are not doing the little things right. We are leaving guys on base left and right and can't execute when we need to execute. Right now, I'm worried about us.
''Patrick, I don't know, it just wasn't his day, and Peroni, a young sophomore, and I told him that it was a tough situation, tough spot to come in and show me what you can do. He's going to be a promising one. He just hit the one guy and ran into a good-hitting team. Madonna is tough and they have been playing together for a long time and you expect them to hit the ball well.''
Ossman hit an RBI double in the second, Duerr added an RBI groundout in the third, while Bowers drove in a run with a triple in the fourth and Mogan an RBI single in the fifth.
Luca Fuscardo earned a victory, striking out four.
''There are a lot of things that we do and we have done well,'' Coach Baire said. ''Being patient and not letting the situation be bigger than it is, we did a good job of that. We weren't getting pitches in the zone and we made them throw strikes. Kaleb laying down the bunt, moving two runners, was big. It all falls back to taking advantage of mistakes.
''That was not a 12-1 ballgame and they are not as bad as Jimbo's feeling right now. But it sure was nice because this place has been a bad place for us to play.''