By DAVE MORRISON
WHEELING - Bishop Bryce Jones likes to think of himself as a risk taker.
That fact was highly evident, in the top of the seventh inning Friday in the Class A, Region One, Section One championship at the I-470 Sports Complex.
Jones scurried home from third on a ground ball to third, to give the Bishops at 4-3 victory against Madonna, and the school's first baseball sectional championship since 1992.
"I told myself when I got to third, if there is a ground ball anywhere in the infield, I was going to go," Jones said. "I like to take chances. It was a risk I was willing to take."
When Alex Riedel's grounder came his way, Jones froze, as Madonna's Ross Comis eyed him, before firing to first for the out. As soon as Comis back to throw to first, Jones broke for home. The relay to the plate was wide of catcher Dominic Sylvestri, allowing Jones to score the go-ahead run.
Bishop Donahue 4, Madonna 3
Bishop Donahue000 300 1 - 4 5 1
Madonna010 003 0 - 3 10 2
B - Padlow wp (1SO, 1W) and Riedel. Jones run; Kaschke D, rbi, run; Riedel D, S, rbi; Yates run; Truex run; Cunningham rbi; Padlow 2S, rbi.
M - Fuscardo (2SO, 1W), Bowser lp (5, 2So, 1W) and Silvestri. Fuscaro S, run; Comis 3S, Bowser 3S, 2 run, rbi; Sylvestri 2S, rbi; Mazur S, rbi.
"He really put the pressure on their defense there," Bishop Donahue coach Bob Kleeh said. "He saw the opportunity to make a play and he took advantage of it. That was a great piece of base running. He is a great player, he has great instincts."
Jesse Padlow retired Madonna, which sent its top of the order to the plate, in order bottom of the seventh. The junior's effort was just what Bishop needed, especially after the Bishops frittered away a lead late the day before.
"I wanted the ball, I want to be in this situation, but yesterday (a 2-1 Madonna victory that forced a final game) was a tough one," Padlow said. "Honestly, I just blocked that out, and focused on that inning. We had done pretty well against their top two hitters in the lineup but (Luca) Fuscardo was the big one because he had hit us pretty well and they had their big guys following him. When he hit it to center field, I just really breathed a sigh of relief."
Indeed, the heart of the Madonna order was a combined 8 for 9 with two runs and two RBI.
It didn't come to that.
"That was a tough one, we gave it everything we had and we just came up short," Madonna coach Tim Provenzano said. "Some days, things just don't go your way. Give them a lot of credit. They made plays when they had to make plays."
Madonna went up 1-0 in the second when Will Bowser, who led off the inning with a single, scored on a single by Nick Mazur.
They had a chance to add to it in the third, when Comis, who was 3-for-3, reached on a two-out single, and then tried to score when Will Bowser, who also had three hits, had his second hit of the game.
Bishop took the lead in the fourth When Hunter Kaschke and Riedel ripped back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 1-1. Later, Chaice Truex reached on a error and Lane Lemasters was hit by a pitch loading the bases.
With two outs Austin Cunningham walked to score courtesy runner Jared Yates and Padlow followed with a single to make it 3-1.
Madonna tied it in the sixth when Fuscardo, Comis and Bower had three straight singles. Bowser's single scored Fuscardo but the Bishops cut down Comis at the plate, and it turned out to be a big out.
Silvestri tied the game with a single, setting up the wild seventh.
Padlow, who retired the hard-hitting Blue Dons in order in three of the final four innings, praised his first baseman, Chaice Truex, who contributed to several outs at first with a long stretch of his 6-foot-6 frame.