TORONTO - Madonna squandered an early lead before rebounding to earn a "quality win" Monday at the Knight Baseball Complex.
The Blue Dons scored nine times in the final three frames to knock off Toronto 12-4. Tim Provenzano's Dons had jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead before the Red Knights rallied to grab a 4-3 advantage after four.
"This was a quality win for us," said Provenzano, Madonna's first-year coach. "Toronto has a great program and tradition. To come over here and win a game, it's good for our kids."
COMING HOME — Members of the Toronto baseball team celebrate after driving in two runs in the bottom of the third on Monday. The Red Knights trailed Madonna early, but took the lead after four innings. In the end, the Blue Dons rallied to win 12-4.
-- Mike Mathison
OUT AT THE PLATE — Madonna catcher Dominic Silvestri tags out Toronto runner Nate Stewart at home plate in the bottom of the third inning on Monday. The Blue Dons built an early lead and exploded in the later innings for a 12-4 win over the Red Knights.
-- Mike Mathison
Madonna, now 4-0, pushed across two runs in the second. Vinnie Merico and Mike Rogers recorded back-to-back singles to start the frame. Dom Silvestri worked Toronto starter and loser Nate Stewart for a walk to load the sacks. Anthony Antinone then drew a free pass to score Merico. Rogers crossed home on Kaleb Blaire's sacrifice fly to right.
Rogers' RBI base knock in the third plated Luca Fuscardo to make it 3-0 Blue Dons. Brian Perkins' Knights made it 3-2 in the home half of the inning. Stewart's two-run double to left scored Ryan Cline and Blaze Glenn.
Fuscardo started on the hill for Madonna, giving way to Will Bowser in the fourth. Toronto jumped on Bowser for two more tallies and moved in front 4-3. Singles by Tyler Antinone, Will Newbold and Danny Zdinak filled the sacks with Red Knights. Chez Glenn drilled a two-strike base hit to left, scoring Antinone and Newbold.
"Our kids were very resilient today, playing with a lot of enthusiasm, passion and heart," Perkins said.
"It shows a lot about their character to fight back like that when they were down three. We have some young kids playing and some kids playing varsity ball for the first time so we are going to make some mental mistakes.
"We play some great competition and we will continue to work hard and get better every day."
Madonna grabbed the lead right back in the fifth thanks to a pair of unearned runs.
Fuscardo doubled to left-center, swiped third and scored on an overthrow. Ross Comis then walked, stole second, moved to third on Merico's ground out and touched home following a wild pitch.
Two RBIs from Comis and one from Bowser put the Dons up 8-4 in the sixth. They added four more in the seventh thanks to Baire's double and two Merico RBIs. Comis delivered another run-scoring hit during the rally.
"We preach the mental aspect of the game a lot," Provenzano stated. "When our guys came back and scored, we just told them they were practicing what we preach. Once we scored and regained the lead, things just kept going our way."
Merico and Rogers each had three hits to pace the Madonna offense. Fuscardo had two doubles while Baire contributed a single and a two-bagger. Comis finished with two singles.
After a rough start, Bowser settled down and blanked Toronto over the final three frames to earn the pitching win.
"Will's the type of pitcher who needs to get into the flow of the game," Provenzano pointed out. "When he initially comes in, he is going to be a little rocky. He gets stronger as the innings move forward."
Madonna is scheduled to host Beaver Local today.
Stewart and Bill Solomon both had two hits to lead Toronto, which hosts St. John Central Wednesday.
"The score really wasn't indicative of how this game went," Perkins noted. "We had the lead then they took the lead in the fifth. We made some mental mistakes and it all snowballed on us. Things just got out of hand in the final few innings."
Madonna 12, Toronto 4
Madonna 021 023 4 - 12 12 0
Toronto 002 200 0 - 4 9 0
MADONNA (4-0): Fuscardo (4K, 3W) Bowser (4, WP, 5K, 1W) and Silvestri; Baire D, S, 2RBI; Bowser RBI; Fuscardo 2D; Comis 2S, 3RBI; Merico 3S, 2 RBI; Rogers 3S, RBI; Antinone RBI.
TORONTO (1-2): Stewart (LP, 4K, 6W) Allen (6, 0K, 5W) and Solomon; C. Glenn S, 2RBI; B. Glenn S; Stewart D, S, 2RBI; Solomon D, S; Antinone S, Newbold S, Zdinak S.