WEIRTON - Pitching dominated the day.
The hurlers for the Madonna and Weir baseball teams kept their city rivals in check Thursday evening at Bowman Field. The teams combined for only four hits in the game, and the Blue Dons made the most of theirs as they plated two-runs in the top of the ninth inning and held on for a 3-1 victory over the Red Riders.
"It was a great game," first-year Madonna head coach Tim Provenzano said. "It is always a good game when we play them."
BASEBALL?IS?BACK — Weir High first baseman Michael Mills reacts after forcing out Madonna’s Kaleb Baire in the third inning of their game on Thursday at Bowman Field. The Blue Dons topped the Red Riders 3-1 in extra innings as both teams played their first game of the season.
-- Matthew Peaslee
TAKING A LEAD -- Weir’s Donavan Spencer leads off first base. Below right, Madonna’s Will Bowser digs in at the plate.
-- Matthew Peaslee
AT THE PLATE -- Madonna’s Will Bowser digs in at the plate.
-- Matthew Peaslee
In the ninth, Luca Fuscardo doubled to left field to plate the go-ahead run, giving the Madonna a 2-1 lead. Then, Vince Merico plated Fuscardo with a sacrifice fly to center field giving the Blue Dons (1-0) a 3-1 advantage.
The Red Riders were unable to put anything together in the bottom half of the inning.
"People got their money's worth," first-year Weir head coach Jason Angle said. "From a pitching standpoint, the pitchers on both sides threw very well.
"Michael Curtis kept his pitch count down. As long as he felt good, I was going to let him pitch another inning. He pitched well enough that he could have gotten the 'W.'"
Fuscardo recorded the win for the Blue Dons. He struck out six and walked none in his 3 2/3 innings of work in relief of starter Will Bowser. Bowser struck out eight and walked four in his 5 1/3 innings of work.
Offensively, Fuscardo finished with a single, a double and an RBI, and Domenic Silvestri delivered a run-scoring single.
Curtis, who pitched a complete game took the loss. He struck out seven and walked three. He helped his own cause with an RBI single.
The game was scoreless through the first three innings before Madonna broke through for a run on Silvestri's single in the fourth.
"It took us awhile to get going," Provenzano said. "We were preaching to the kids to just do their jobs. We knew they would eventually come alive and produce."
Weir tied the score with a run in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Curtis.
Madonna delivered three hits in the game, while Weir (0-1) was limited to just one, but that one plated the tying run in the sixth.
"This was only the second time we have seen live pitching," Angle said. "There is a difference between a machine and an arm.
"We will get there. The kids looked confident in there. They were aggressive. We have some young guys, and this was their first time at the plate. They will get their confidence there. The older guys, I know what to expect from them."
Neither team was able to score a run in the seventh inning resulting in the game going into extra innings.
"It feels really good to get my first win," Provenzano said.
Both teams committed one error in the game.
"It is difficult to lose to Madonna, but we played hard and we played well," Angle said. "Both teams played great defense."
The Blue Dons and Red Riders will meet at 7 p.m. on May 8 in the annual City Championship Game.
Both teams are scheduled to play at 5 p.m. today. Weir is slated to play at home against Linsly, while Madonna will travel south to take on Bishop Donahue.
Madonna 3, Weir 1
Madonna 000 100 002 - 3 3 1
Weir 000 001 000 - 1 1 1
MADONNA (1-0): Fuscardo (WP, 6K, 0BB), and Silvestri; Fuscardo S, D, RBI; Merico RBI; Silvestri S, RBI.
WEIR (0-1): Curtis (LP, 7K, 3BB) and McCartney; Curtis S, RBI.