Dons Waste No Time in Routing Warriors

WEIRTON – Because of some minor travel-related difficulties, Madonna’s OVAC Class 1A semifinal game with Trinity had a late start Wednesday.

The Blue Dons went right to work, ensuring the contest, played at Ed Bowman Field, had an early ending.

Jeff Baire’s club sent 15 batters to the plate in the the first, scored 10 runs and cruised to a 15-0, five-inning mercy triumph against the visiting Warriors.

With the victory, Madonna earned the right to test Bishop Donahue, the defending Class A champ, in Friday’s title game. The first pitch is set for 4:30 p.m. at Niekro Field in Bridgeport.

“That’s something we talked about prior to the game,” Baire said of his team’s early explosion. “It was one of the few times this year that we actually came out and did what we needed to do early.

“I don’t feel we are far away. A game like (Tuesday’s 12-2 loss to Beaver Local) wasn’t a good representation of how we are. (Wednesday) was a little bit better, we’re moving in the right direction.”

Logan Linder had the biggest of Madonna’s eight first-inning hits, drilling a three-run homer into the pine trees behind left field. Connor Mogan and Luca Fuscardo both had two-run singles. Nick Battista got things started with a base hit, then added a RBI double – his first two hits of the season.

The Blue Dons plated a single run in the second (Nick Ossman’s double driving home Fuscardo). They scored four more in the third with Will Bowser and Ossman knocking in runs.

Meanwhile, Madonna’s “young arms” (sophomores Fuscardo and Mike Rogers, along with freshman Kaleb Baire) combined to throw a no-hitter. They whiffed 10 and faced just 17 Warrior batters (two over the limit).

“Luca pitched well for us last year as a freshman,” Baire noted. “We’ve come to expect that out of him. Rogers has been doing a phenomenal job at the junior varsity level. He’s one of the guys we bring back and forth. He got a couple of innings (Tuesday) and looked good. (Thursday) was the first day we were able to get Kaleb on the mound.

“It was nice to be able to get those guys (Rogers and Baire) into the game. It’s a good problem to have when our starting pitchers have been throwing as well as they have been. At the same time, it’s bad given the depth we have in pitching. We haven’t been able to get these guys some work.”

Linder, Battista, Mogan, Luca Fuscardo, Ossman and Bowser all had two hits for the Dons, who finished with 17 as a team.

Tad Statler took the pitching loss for the Warriors (9-1). He gave way to Donnie Waller in the fourth.

“This is the first actual year that we’ve able to compete for the OVAC title,” Trinity’s Darrell Barnett said. “We’ve never qualified before and we are happy to be here and happy to play a great team like Madonna.

“It was a great experience. It’s not every day that you get to look at one of the best Class A teams in the state. We have a lot of young people and we’ll keep trying to improve.”

Baire noted he looks for Friday’s battle with Bishop Donahue to “be a real solid game.”

“They have been playing tremendous. It’s something you could see coming out of them probably two or three years ago. They are playing sharp right now. We’ll have our work cut off for us.

Donahue handed Madonna a 2-0 setback in the season opener.