WHEELING - Coming into Thursday afternoon's first game in a Best-of-3 West Virginia Class A sectional tournament with powerful Wheeling Central, Madonna coach Chris Conti knew his team needed to be at its sharpest.
Unfortunately five errors and five two-out runs against the state's top-ranked small-school team was not what he had envisioned.
Sydney Bennington collected three hits and two RBI, sophomore Allie Cook doubled twice and plated a pair and senior Madison Basinger tossed her second two-hitter in as many days as the Maroon Knights routed the Blue Dons by an 8-0 count in five innings on Lisa's Field at the J.B. Chamber's I-470 Sports Complex.
The victory improves Coach Rick Magruder's Wheeling Central squad to 23-2 and puts them just one victory away from another trip to the regional tournament.
Game 2 will be 5 today on Ben's Field back at I-470 with a Knights victory advancing them. Should Madonna win that game the two teams will play a winner-take-all contest Saturday.
"This is the time of year we always look forward to," Magruder said. "And this is the best situation. They have to win twice now, so the pressure is really on them and hopefully we will come ready to finish it (today)."
Central threatened early in the first, getting leadoff hitter Joni Zavolta all the way to third on error, however, Bailey Rehm grounded out to third with Emily Pietranton's throw to the plate gunning down Zavolta.
But with two outs Bennington singled past short just ahead of Cook's run-scoring double to deep right-center field for a 1-0 lead after an inning.
Madonna (13-9) was its own worse ememy in the bottom of the second. After Cara Stahl singled with one out and the Blue Dons committed three consecutive errors to quickly fall into a 3-0 hole.
Bennington then added to their woes with a two-run single that pushed the margin to 5-0.
The Maroon Knights finished it off in the fifth. Bennington and Cook recorded back-to-back doubles ahead of an Ashley Gast base hit. After Hannah Mozingo reached on Madonna's fifth error, scoring the seventh run, Stahl sent the Blue Dons home with an RBI single.
CLASS A, REGION 1, SECTION 3
Magnolia 9, Cameron 0
PADEN CITY - Mallory Chapman hit a two-run game-winning home run in the bottom of the sixth inning in a 9-0 sectional championship victory against Cameron.
Chapman also added a triple, single and drove in three runs. Audrey Gibb had a triple, double and two RBI, Emily Clegg a double and two RBI and Abby During a double and a single.
Cameron's Linda Hall strike out four and did not issue a walk and also had one of the Dragons' hit.
On Tuesday the Blue Eagles beat Cameron 3-2 in nine innings behind a career-high 16 strikeouts from Chapman. Gibb had a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth.
Hall struck out six for Cameron and also had a double and single.
CLASS AA, REGION I, SECTION 1
Oak Glen 4-10
WEIRTON - Ashley Pryor had a huge night as the Oak Glen Golden Bears wrapped up the Class AA, Region One, Section One title.
In the opening-game 4-3 victory Pryor had two doubles and a home run and knocked in two runs.
She came back in the nightcap with a triple and a home run and a RBI as the Golden Bears clinched the sectional title.
COSHOCTON - Justine Lowe struck out 11 and walked one to lead Caldwell (14-7) to the victory.
Haley Stocker had three singles to lead Caldwell's 14-hit attack.
Coshocton's Peighton Gore took the loss but did have a pair of singles and drove in two runs.
Buckeye Local 2
MEDINA - Kierstyn Czuchran homered to lead Buckeye Local to victory.
Ivy Starcher picked up the victory, striking out 11 with one walk.
Megan Heagney was tagged with the loss, but struck out 12 and walked four.
Union Local 16
SOMERTON - Shelli Shaffer had two singles and a triple and drove in four runs to lead the Jets to the victory.
Caroline Blattler had two singles for Barnesville.
St. John 5, Toronto 4
BELLAIRE - Hannah Absalom struck out 13, including 12 of the final 13 batters she faced, as St. John edged Toronto.
Gillian Johnson drove in three runs with a single, Taylor Lowe had two singles and a RBI and Amber LeMotte had two singles.
Desiree Meadows struck out three and walked three for Toronto and also had a double and two RBI.
Wheeling Central 8
John Marshall 0
WHEELING - Mario Peroni dominated with a four-hit, 11-strikeout performance as Wheeling Central (10-12) shut out John Marshall.
Brian Shaw paced the Maroon Knights offense with a trio of singles and two RBI, but Nate Bakaitis and Joe Minor plated two each. C.J. Burch doubled and J.D. Griffith singled twice to bring in a run.
Trevor Hardesty led the Monarchs with a pair of hits.
Tyler Consolidated 15, Calhoun 7
MOUNT ZION - Jordan Baker went 4 for 5 with a pair of doubles and drove in a run to lead Tyler Consolidated.
Colby Lasy drove in two runs with a single and Austin Thompson had a double and a RBI.
Evan Davis went the distance, firing a two hitter. He struck out five and walked two.
Jacob Stackwell had a double and single.
Scott Moore, who took the loss, had a hit for Calhoun.
Bishop Donahue 10
BRIDGEPORT - Q.J. Williams scored on an errant throw following his steal attempt at third to give the Bulldogs the victory in nine innings.
Williams also had a double and single.
Brad Pritchett had two singles, a double and drove in three runs.
Bryce Moore and Lane Lemasters had three hits each for the Bishops and Jesse Padlow added a single and a double.
Indian Creek 11
WINTERSVILLE - Liam Campbell singled in two runs and Jimmy Bolyog doubled in Indian Creek's victory.
Mitch Porter pitched five effective innings to pick up the victory.
Tyler Ramsey had a single, double and a RBI, Brendon Ross had a pair of singles and drove in a pair of runs for Bellaire and Bralen Snell had two singles and two RBI.
WHEELING - Linsly swept Cameron in a doubleheader by identical 11-1 scores.
In the opener Jameson Murray and Tyler Ashbrook went 3-4 and both had a double and drove in two runs.
In the nightcap Arien Seymour had a triple, single and drove in a run and Murray had three singles and drove in two. James Cartwright had two doubles for Linsly (20-3).
Robert C. Byrd 7
NEW MARTINSVILLE - Tyler Anderson hit a home run and a double and drove in four runs as Magnolia outslugged visiting Robert C. Byrd Thursday.
Zach Willhote also homered among two hits and Brandon Mason had a double, single and drove in a pair of runs.
Sophomore Garrett Price worked 2.1 innings of one-hit relief and picked up the victory. Magnolia (13-6) won for the fourth straight game.
Colton Bonnett had a double and drove in a run for the RCB (12-11) and Tanner Colley had a single and drove in two runs.
Wheeling Park 10
Martins Ferry 0
WHEELING - Chalmer Moffett hit a pair of home runs and drove in five runs to lead the Patriots in the rout of Martins Ferry.
Michael Grove had a pair of doubles, a pair of singles and drove in three runs.
Austin Crebs picked up the victory and Grove struck out five over the final three innings for Park (16-5).
Monroe Central 9, Shenandoah 3
SARAHSVILLE - Eric Ward singled, doubled and drove in three runs to lead the Seminoles to the victory.
Ethan Groves hit a two-run home run and Bryan Duffy added two doubles.
Kaleb Thompson had a double for the Zeps.
St. John 9, Frontier 8
BELLAIRE - Malik Ford worked 6.2 but didn't get a decision. He did, however, get the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh.
Mason Kull had a pair of doubles and drove in five runs to lead St. John.
Zac Schnegg added two singles, scored twice and stole two bases.