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Madonna gets final shot at ’Knights

May 8, 2008
By NICK BEDWAY, pecial to the Herald-Star
MOUNDSVILLE — It will be Madonna and top-seeded Wheeling Central squaring off at 5 p.m. today in the winner’s bracket final of the West Virginia Section 1, Class A baseball tournament.

The Blue Dons assured themselves of another crack at the defending sectional and West Virginia Class A state champions by eliminating Bishop Donahue, 16-9, Wednesday.

Madonna (17-12) lost a 2-1 heartbreaker Tuesday evening when the Maroon Knights scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to get the upper hand in the double-elimination sectional event.

‘‘I’m looking forward to it,’’ said Blue Dons’ head coach Jeff Baire when asked about the upcoming rematch with their Northern Panhandle parochial rivals. ‘‘Our guys are also looking forward to it and that’s all I can ask of them.

‘‘They handled the loss the other night very well. It was like an eye-opening experience for them.

“Now they realize we can play with those guys.”

Madonna was well on the way to a 13-3 victory against the Bishops before Donahue’s Mike Matheny cracked a two-out, two-run homer over the fence in left centerfield to prevent a second straight 10-run rule loss to the Blue Dons.

Matheny, a senior playing his final game in a Donahue uniform, later singled home two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to pull his team within 13-9.

By that time both teams had made numerous substitutions. Following the Bishops’ four-run uprising, however, Baire inserted his starters back into the game, and the Blue Dons put three quick tallies on the scoreboard to all but put the game away.

‘‘It worked out OK,’’ Baire said with a smile following the final out. ‘‘These guys we put in have been coming out and supporting the team all year. They work just as hard as the other guys do and they deserved their opportunity to play Knowing that could re-insert our starters made this an easy choice.’’

In the other dugout, Bishop Donahue coach Donnie Gillis was pleased to see his team get up off the deck and continue to play hard despite the huge deficit.

‘‘Madonna might have pulled the plug too early but we didn’t quit. The guys I put in actually did very well,’’ he added.

Madonna supported winning pitcher Pat McCune with a 16-hit attack that featured a 4-for-4 day — all singles — and five RBIs from Anthony Pietranton. It was also Pietranton who followed McCune and reliever Chris Perna to the mound in the seventh inning.

He retired the Bishops in order, picking up two strikeouts and getting the final out on an easy one-hopper back to the mound.

Leadoff hitter Jared Magnone singled three times, knocking in one run. Max Nogay connected for a two-run homer, George Magnone picked up two RBIs with a pair of singles; Ed Nogay doubled, singled twice and chased home two runs and Dave Thomas rapped a two-run double to also fuel the Madonna attack.

The Blue Dons came out determined to establish themselves early, stealing six bases and scoring nine runs during first two at bats to open a 9-1 advantage.

After Matheny’s home run kept things going in the fifth, Donahue closed the gap to 13-9 in the top of the sixth. Ian Schau and Andrew Smith, the latter accounting for two RBIs, had doubles to key the uprising.

Perna also issued three walks in the frame.

However, a baserunning blunder that resulted in a pickoff at second base, followed by a strikeout ended the rally with three Donahue runners still on the basepaths.

With the Blue Don starting nine back in the lineup, the hosts pounded out five hits, including Thomas’s two-run double, in the sixth inning to restore a seven-run lead heading into the top of the seventh.

Blue Dons 16, Bishops 9

Bishop Donahue 012 024 0 — 9 8 4

Weirton Madonna 454 003 X — 16 16 2

BISHOP DONAHUE: Matheny LP (1K, 3BB), Hill (1K, 0BB) and Coffield; Smith 1B, 2B, 2 RBIs; Matheny HR, 1B 4 RBIs; Groves 2-1B, RBI.

MADONNA (17-12): McCune WP (5K, 4BB), Perna (6) (1K, 3BB), Pietranton (7) (2K, 0BB) and M. Nogay, C. Eloi (5), M. Nogay (6); J. Magnone 3-1B, RBI; M. Nogay HR, 2 RBIs; G. Mgnone 2-1B, 2 RBIs; Pietranton 4-1B, 5 RBIs; E. Nogay 2B, 2-1B, 2 RBIs; D. Thomas 2B, 2 RBIs.

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