WEIRTON - In a game that saw its two contestants combine for eight errors and the starting pitchers get tagged with five unearned runs, it was a web gem that ultimately lifted Bishop Donahue past Madonna 4-3 in West Virginia Class A Region 1, Section 1 softball play at Starvaggi Park Tuesday.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, a runner on third, and one score already across to make the score 4-3, Madonna's Sara Lyons crushed a two-strike Andrea Guzek pitch to center. Bishops center fielder Ali Bauer came up with the play of the game as she hustled and made a fantastic defensive play near the fence to secure the running catch and the Bishop Donahue victory.
"We made a lot of mistakes tonight," said Bishop Donahue head coach Curt Mele. "It wasn't a perfect game, but I'm very happy with the win. Early in the game we had some errors. I thought we gave them a couple runs.
SAFE AT HOME — Madonna’s Sara Lyons touches home safely on a play at the plate as Bishop Donahue catcher Katie Scott brings in the throw during the Blue Dons 4-3 loss to the Bishops Tuesday at Starvaggi Park.
-- Fred Younce
"Give my center fielder credit. She made a couple of great plays out there that probably saved us a couple runs. That last one saved us two runs because if that one gets behind her Sara has some speed and it's probably going to be an inside the park home run.
"That was a great play."
With the score tied at two in the bottom of the sixth Donahue's Abby Randolph came up big offensively with a two-out, two-run single. Both runs were products of errors as Katie Scott reached on a miscue to lead off the inning and Tess Fallova got to base on an mistake with two outs to keep the inning alive and set up what ended up being the eventual game winning hit for Randolph.
"We just didn't make a couple of the plays we needed to," said Madonna head coach Chris Conti. "We didn't make a couple of the routine plays we needed to make and they made them. You have to make those plays when it's playoff time.
"You have to hustle, you have to give that little bit more, and they did. A couple of plays here and there we did not."
The Blue Dons scored the game's first run in the top half of the opening frame. Emily Hvizdak led the game off with a single, Courtney Moss pushed her over with a sacrifice bunt, and she scored a batter later when Lyons reached on an error to make the score 1-0 Madonna.
The Bishops scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth Megan Rush and Scott started things off with back-to-back singles. Bauer sacrificed the runners to second and third with a bunt and Morgan Carroll pushed Rush home for a 1-1 tie with a ground out to second.
The fifth saw Guzek reach on a two-out error and Selena Ghaphery take advantage by knocking her home with a double for the 2-1 Donahue lead.
Madonna tied the game at two in the top of the sixth. Lyons laced a lead-off double to left to open the frame and was pushed to third on a Stephanie Magnone single. Amanda Paul sacrificed Lyons across to tie the game up.
In the top of the seventh Emily Pietranton drew a walk for the Blue Dons to open the frame and was pinch-run for by Montana Mascio. Annie Magnone then reached on an error that put her on second and allowed Pietranton to reach third. Moss grounded out to the pitcher to send Mascio home.
That led to Bauer's stealing of a game-changing hit from Lyons and ending the game.
"A couple times throughout the game I thought we were pretty close to falling apart," said Mele. "We don't have a senior on this team. Our juniors took control and got things calmed down. I'm just happy with the way we played today.
"Not 100 percent happy, but when times got tough we did what we had to do."
Guzek gave up just three hits in the circle to pick up the win for the Bishops. She struck out five, walked two, and was charged with just one earned run.
Though she was saddled with the loss, Madonna pitcher Amanda Pulice had a strong outing with three strikeouts and no walks while giving up eight hits. She was charged with just one earned run as well.
Madonna plays with its season on the line today against Wheeling Central in continuing Class A Region 1, Section 1 action.
"I just told them today we have another chance," said Conti. "We're still alive.
"We just need to go play the game hard like we did today, not make the little mental mistakes we made today, and we'll do fine tomorrow."
Bishop Donahue 4, Madonna 3
Madonna 100 001 1 - 3 3 5
Bishop Donahue 000 112 x - 4 8 3
MADONNA: Pulice (LP, 3K, 0BB) and A. Magnone. Hvizdak s, r; Lyons d, r; S, Magnone s; Mascio r; Paul rbi.
BISHOP DONAHUE: Guzek (WP, 5K, 2BB) and Scott. Rush 2s, r; Scott 2s, r; Randolph s, 2rbi; Wolfe s; Guzek s, r; Ghaphery d, Fallova r; Carroll rbi.