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Williamstown Takes Game 2 From Madonna, 14-3

photo by: Andrew Grimm

Madonna pitcher Parker Haney fires towards home during the Blue Dons’ Regional Championship Series game against Williamstown Tuesday.

WEIRTON — One win away from a berth in a Class A state tournament, things could not have started any better for Madonna Tuesday … they also could not have went much worse for the Blue Dons after the first inning.

After jumping out to a three-run lead in the bottom of the first inning, Madonna surrendered the lead in the top of the second, did not score another run and committed six costly errors as well as several other miscues that don’t show up in the box score.

Williamstown, to its credit, took full advantage and stormed back for a 14-3, six-inning victory at Edwin J. Bowman field to stay alive.

The Yellowjacket victory ties the Region 1 Championship Series at 1-1 and forces a decisive Game 3 today in Williamstown.

“Anything that could go wrong (after the first) did,” Madonna head coach Jeff Baire said. “Williamstown is a heckuva ball club, you put a team like that in the spot they were in and they’re going to come out battling. We have to be ready for that.

“The beautiful thing about baseball is tomorrow is a new day and we get to come back out the next day.”

With the stands packed and energy high, the Blue Dons (15-18) took advantage of senior starter Parker Haney’s scoreless top half of the first to jump ahead and ignite the crowd.

Kolton Grishkevich and Luke Amaismeier started the Madonna offense off with back-to-back singles, then both scored on Matt Amaismeier’s double to the fence in center, then he scored the third Blue Don run when a Brock Reinacher blooper bounced off a Yellowjacket glove in shallow centerfield.

That, however, was it for Madonna’s run total and things quickly went array in the top of the next inning.

Williamstown (25-5), did not stay behind for long as Harbor Haught led off the second with a double and scores on the first of six Madonna errors, before a Lewood Molessa one-out, two-run double tied the game.

Ty Ott drove in another run with a single, then the Yellowjackets plated a runner from third when a throw to second on a steal attempt opened the door, making it 5-3.

After the rough first inning, Williamstown freshman hurler Parker Schramm got stronger as he went, limiting Madonna to just two hits in the final five innings.

“We were squaring the ball up much better (Tuesday) and we took advantage of that, and our guy on the mound threw strikes and kept us in it to give us a chance to win,” Williamstown head coach Levi Maxwell said. “Anytime you’re scored on in the first inning, it’s tough to bounce back mentally, but we teach everything that comes with the mental side of things and I think that our guys have enough fight in them that they aren’t done yet.

“We’ve been in similar positions before. I told our guys you’ve got to win two, it doesn’t matter if its one and two or two and three. We’re still fighting.”

The Blue Dons had runners on second and third in the fourth and also left a pair stranded in the fifth while the Yellowjackets continued to build their lead.

“Probably the thing that was the most upsetting was, we had a couple things go against us in the second inning, and the heads went down,” Baire said. “Yes, we gave up a five-run inning, but you’re still only down by two runs. But, for that game, for all intents and purposes, was over right there.

“The heads dropping is what I was upset about, because that led to multiple errors, balls being thrown away from home plate back to the pitcher, throws away in the field … just small things and they compounded.

“We changed our approach … when you let things get in your head and stop being mentally tough, these types of things happen and the end result is a 14-3 ball game, and it wasn’t a 14-3 ball game until we let it be.”

Molessa had a big day for the Yellowjackets, later adding a sac fly, a single and an RBI triple to finish with four RBIs.

A six-run onslaught in the top of the sixth put the mercy rule in play, and Schramm (four strikeouts, one walk) put the Dons down in order in the bottom half to enact it.

The winner-take-all Game 3 today is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. in Williamstown. Madonna is no stranger to having its backs to the wall, as they will once again, having won five-straight elimination games to win the Section 1 tournament out of the loser’s bracket.

“We have been at our best with our back against the wall,” Baire said. “Sometimes it takes you, when you’re comfortable like we were going into (Tuesday), having a little jolt to put you back in line. Hopefully that’s what (Tuesday) was.

“To me, this wasn’t the team that has played the last two weeks. We saw adversity, and rather than battle through it, we let it get to us … we have a lot to learn from it going into (today).”

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