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Red-hot Riders continue to mash

Tice’s gem, solid defense lift Weir High over Madonna, 12-0

BREAKING UP — Weir High’s Olivia Baker forces an out with Madonna’s Maddie Daugherty breaking up a double play during Wednesday’s contest. -- Joe Catullo

WEIRTON — The Weir High softball team may need to change its nickname to the Red-hot Riders from here on out.

Its dominant ways continued Wednesday evening, defeating Madonna, 12-0, in five innings in a city championship tune-up.

Exactly what has been the recipe for success for a squad that has won nine of their last 11 games?

“I really think what sets the tone for us is our defense,” Weir head coach John Leary said. “We’re very sharp and very pleased with them. It gives our pitchers the confidence to throw strikes because we seldom walk anybody.

“We have been on a roll of late, and it’s nice. What I am most pleased about is our defense because hitting can be hot or cold. If we’re consistent in the field, good things generally tend to happen for us.”

The Red Riders (10-6) committed no errors. To the Blue Dons’ credit, they only had one. Weir High simply just mashed the ball beginning in the third inning and off of Landry Bone, who normally is a tough customer.

“Early on, I was a little worried because all of them have pretty much played together their whole lives,” Leary said. “We were worried about Landry because we knew her, and she knew us. But, to our credit, after the first time through the lineup, they adjusted, were relaxed and started putting the ball in play.

“Hitting is contagious. It’s like a snowball once it gets rolling down the hill.”

Following two scoreless frames, Mea Kaufman was called safe on a bang-bang play at first for a single to open the third. No. 9 hitter Reagan Hoover then drove her home with an RBI double, although she was tagged out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Weir would later load the bases with two outs, but Bone worked out of the jam to keep it a 1-0 contest.

Along with drawing walks (eight overall), the bats exploded in the top of the fourth. It was not until the ninth batter of the inning recorded the first out, followed by a double play.

The seven-run rally began with an RBI single by Kaufman. She and Olivia Baker scored on wild pitches, followed by a pair of two-run base knocks from Mallory Rosnick and Madison Angus.

Bone would only record one out in the fifth before being replaced by Maddie Daugherty, while Weir tacked on four more. With the bases full and only one away, Kaufman scored on another wild pitch. Alexis Adams, who finished with three hits, brought two home on a single and ended the scoring by crossing home plate on yet another wild pitch.

Bone allowed nine runs (all earned) on eight hits, seven walks and struck out three.

“They hit the ball very well. They’re a very good team, and John does a good job with them,” Madonna head coach Chris Conti said. “They were just the better team (Wednesday).

“It is what it is. A game like this isn’t just on the pitcher. We had a couple of situations where we could’ve scored but didn’t. It’s a team thing. Hopefully this is behind us.”

As for the Red Riders, Chesney Tice hurled a five-hit shutout. She struck out a pair and walked one, while letting her defense go to work, namely shortstop Isabella Aperfine.

“Madison pitched the last two games. Knowing that Chesney probably won’t be with us (today), I didn’t want to go with Madison three days in a row,” Leary said. “What’s funny is if you look at our statistics, Chesney and Madison have pitched around the same number of innings.”

All five of Madonna’s hits were singles from five different players.

UP NEXT

Weir High: Tentatively travels to Wheeling Park today, then to Brooke Friday. It added an 11 a.m. home contest Saturday with Steubenville.

Madonna: Tentatively hosts Cameron for a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday.

Weir High 12, Madonna 0

Weir High 0-0-1 7-4 — 12 9 0

Madonna 0-0-0 0-0 — 0 5 1

WEIR HIGH (10-6): Tice (WP, CG, 0R, 5H, 1BB, 2K) and S. Aperfine. Adams 3S, 2RBIs; Rosnick D, 2RBIs; Angus S, 2RBIs; Tice S; Kaufman 2S, RBI; Hoover D, RBI.

MADONNA (6-4): Bone (LP, 4 1/3IP, 9R, 8H, 7BB, 3K), Daugherty (2/3IP, 3R, 1H, 1BB, 0K) and Cross. Daugherty S; Yacos S; Lenhart S; Dillon S; Pulice S.

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