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Softball: Wheeling Central Claims Sectional Crown

May 3, 2013
By TONY VIOLA , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Wheeling Central coach Rick Magruder has a nice pair of right arms.

He unleashed both of them on Bishop Donahue to will the Maroon Knights to the West Virginia Class A Region 1, Section 1 title.

After Sarah Henry took the circle for Central on Thursday night to give the Knights a one-game lead in the title hunt, junior Madison Basinger followed up on Friday with another solid outing as she struck out 10 and tossed a three-hitter as Central defeated the Bishops 4-1 on Lisa's Field.

Article Photos

Wheeling Central players celebrate after winning another sectional softball title Friday.

''We mixed them up pretty good this year,'' Magruder said of the two pitchers. ''At the beginning of the year, that's what we wanted to do. Last year, I think we relied on Brittany Miller a little too much toward the end, and I think that hurt us.

''Madison pitched a heckuva game. She moved the ball around, had pretty good control.''

Henry still gave her team a helping hand. Her two-run double in the third broke open a 2-1 game for the Knights.

For Bishops coach Curt Mele, it was like deja vu.

''It was a little bit like (Thursday) night,'' he said. ''I hate to sound like a broken record, but they got some hits when they needed to. We had some baserunners, but we just couldn't seem to advance them. When we did hit the ball, we hit it hard but right to them. We just couldn't find the hole.''

Morgan Carroll, however, did find an opening in the second for the Bishops - right over Joni Zavolta's head. Carroll then rounded the bases before the ball could reach catcher Laken Visnick's glove to tie the game at 1-1.

''Morgan stepped up in the second inning with the shot over the right fielder's head,'' Mele said. ''It would have been nice to have had some baserunners on.''

The Knights broke the tie in the third as Ashley Gast doubled to score Allie Cook. Cook had an RBI double of her own in the first to start the scoring for Central.

''We had two outs,'' Mele said of the third inning.

''Allie Cook stole second and caught us, and it caught me, off guard. She got to second and the next thing you know, they get three runs after that.

''It was a tough loss. I'm very proud of my girls. I have six seniors and they're a great group of kids. I hate to see them go.

''I wish Central the best of luck. Hopefully they can bring a championship back to the northern panhandle.''

To do so, the Knights will need both of their aces in top shape.

''Sarah does a good job and might have a little better control,'' Magruder noted. ''Madison might throw a little harder, but together, it's a good combination.

''We always tell them as long as you get better by tournament time, that's what you want to do. Hopefully we'll be ready for next Thursday.''

Central will meet the winner of Cameron/Magnolia in the Regional semifinal.

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