WHEELING - By the time the OVAC softball tournament rolls around every season, Wheeling Central is usually just about hitting its stride. Thursday Coach Rick Magruder's Maroon Knights again showed they will be primed and ready for what lies ahead.
Madison Basinger allowed two hits, Joni Zavolta chased home three runs, Sydney Bennington homered and Central broke open a close game with an eight-run fourth in rolling to a 10-0, five inning, victory against Bridgeport in a Class 2A semifinal on Lisa's Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Sports Complex.
Magruder's 20-2 squad, which is the top-ranked team in W.Va. Class A, moves into Saturday's championship game against Shadyside, which defeated River.
Photo by Rick Thorp
Wheeling Central righty Madison Basinger authored a shutout Thursday to help her team advance to Saturday’s OVAC?Class 2A championship game at the JB?Chambers I-470 Complex in Wheeling.
"We told the girls before the game that this is the second season now," Magruder said. "There is the regular season, then you get to the OVAC Tournament and then the sectionals.
"It seems like everything is coming together for us, and hopefully we can continue to gel. This is a real good group of kids and that makes things a lot easier."
After the Bulldogs stranded runners at first and third in the top of the first, Central got the big hit in the bottom half on a two-out bomb off the bat of Bennington that sailed over the left-field fence for a 1-0 lead.
Looking to manufacture a run or two in the fourth, Wheeling Central took advantage of Bridgeport's mistakes to break the game open. The Knights pushed across eight runs thanks to five singles, a double walk and two Bulldog errors.
The big hits were a two-run Basinger double, a two-run single by Zavolta and run-scoring singles off the bats of Bennington and Allie Cook.
Needing one run to finish things off in the bottom of the fifth, Jaiear Jackson ripped a leadoff triple into the right-center field gap and scored a batter later on Zavolta's game-ending sacrifice fly to center.
While disappointed with the loss, Bridgeport coach Tom Joseph was looking ahead to the future already.
"This is a young team with one senior starter," Joseph said. "And we plan on being back here next year. We practiced hard and had some wrinkles that we were never able to put into play because we couldn't get into the right situations.
Cambridge 14, Marietta 1
CAMBRIDGE - Lindsey Nunamaker tossed a five-inning no-hitter and drove in three runs with a single as Cambridge (10-6) rocked Marietta.
Hallie Stocker homered, singled and plated two for the Bobcats.
Brooke 8, Toronto 0
WELLSBURG - Kaylee Kuchinski threw a two-hit shutout, striking out seven as Brooke (11-11) topped Toronto.
Brette Geary paced the offense with two hits and three RBI, while Taylor Simala and Isabella Preston drove in one run apiece.
St. Clairsville 3
Indian Creek 2
WINTERSVILLE - Ben Coleman and Dylan Busby each singled home a run and St. Clairsville edged Indian Creek in nine innings.
Tommy Stewart relieved in the seventh to earn a victory, striking out a pair. Malik Gummer singled and doubled for the Red Devils.
Cole Yeater took a hard-luck no decision. He went eight and struck out 10, while also singling in a run. Jimmy Bolyog also singled one home.
Harrison Central 4
WELLSBURG - Catcher Chad Harper had a double, single and three RBI and Aaron Walker struck out 10 and scattered six hits in Brooke's victory.
Russell Schwertfeger added a single, double and a RBI and Fargo Camerlengo singled and doubled.
Ian Saho had a single and knocked in two runs for Harrison Central.
Brooke (12-6) will host University today in a makeup game.
Union Local 2
BRIDGEPORT - Parker Dyson went five-plus and struck out nine while Bailey McGrath and Carlos Cusic each had two RBI as Bridgeport downed Union Local.
Andrew Hadzima and Pat Britton had two hits each for the Bulldogs.
Matt Dunfee doubled in a run for the Jets.
Madonna 7, Barnesville 2
BARNESVILLE - Will Bowser cracked a pair of doubles, homered and plated two as Madonna took down Barnesville.
Michael Rogers went the route and struck out four while Vinnie Merico double in a run for the Blue Dons.
Collin Wilson singled twice and had an RBI for the Shamrocks (5-10).
Steub. Catholic 4
STEUBENVILLE - Dimitri Collaros, Anthony Pierro and Anthony Zorne drove in one run each as Steubenville (15-4) scored four times in the seventh to edge rival Steubenville Catholic (14-2).
Devin Ferguson struck out three in relief to earn a victory.
Tony Barber, Taylor Clark and Josh Merriman had an RBI each to pace the Crusaders. Stone Romano and Brenton Colabella doubled.
Toronto 8, Weir 0
TORONTO - Jarin McIntosh struck out 10 in a three-hitter and singled twice to drive in two runs as Toronto (10-9) blanked Weir (3-9).
Blaze Glenn singled and doubled to drive in three and Ryan Newbold brought home another.
Dave Ice Invitational
BELLAIRE - Wheeling Park used gold medals in the sprint relays and field events to win the Dave Ice Girls Invitational at Nelson Field.
Bridgeport junior Brianna Massey had a strong meet, winning a pair of golds and claiming the high-point field award. She won the long jump and 200-meter dash.
Wheeling Park dominated rolling up 127.33 points to win the meet title in what is, for most, the final girls' tuneup of the season before the OVAC Track and Field Championship, which opens Monday at St. Clairsville.
The Pats won the gold in both the 400 and 800 relays and swept three of the field events. Christin Dolan won the pole vault and Lauren Dickerson won the shot put and discus with a toss of 32.04 and a twirl of 109.06.