WEIRTON - Aleks Porreca couldn't find the plate early and Weirton Madonna really couldn't find a hit at all.
After a shaky start, Porreca, a Steubenville Catholic Central senior, settled down and allowed four singles to the Blue Dons in a 7-2 victory Thursday at Bowman Field.
"He was throwing hard, but just getting his fastball up and couldn't find the plate," said Crusaders head coach Don Young. "That's not like Aleks."
MEETING ON THE MOUND — Weirton Madonna coach Eric Sperlazza talked to his troops during the seventh inning of Thursday’s 7-2 loss to Steubenville Catholic Central at Bowman Field.
-- Mike Mathison
That happened in the bottom of the second inning.
Central scored one in the top of the inning as Porreca doubled with one out and eventually scored on an error.
With one out, Michael Rogers, Dom Silvestri and Marcello Biondillo walked to load the sacks.
Porreca then went 2-0 on the next batter before striking him out. But, Kaleb Baire walked to bring in a run before Porreca induced a fly ball for the third out.
"Al battles. He was mad that he didn't get a complete game," Young said with a smile. "I was getting a little bit worried in that inning because he never does that.
"Once he got out of that, he threw a heck of a game."
He eventually allowed four singles and walked one more before Tony Barber pitched the seventh.
"He (Porreca) pitched a heck of a game," said Madonna assistant coach Luke Myers.
Rogers and Silvestri opened the fourth with singles. Rogers scored on an Anthony Antinone sacrifice fly. Rogers led the sixth with a single, but was left stranded.
"We've been playing well and we've been hitting the ball well," said Myers. "The top half of our lineup struggled today. We left guys on base, left a lot of opportunities out there and you can't do that against a quality team like this. They are well coached and play sound, fundamental baseball."
Porreca and Madonna's Luca Fuscardo pitched well. Fuscardo allowed six hits through six innings, but was let down by his defense at times.
"Luca pitched a great game," said Myers.
The Crusaders scored two in the fifth.
Michael Barber reached on an error and Chris Murphy singled. Barber scored on a safety squeeze by brother Tony Barber. Murphy came home on a two-out double by Stone Romano.
Roger took the bump for Madonna in the top of the seventh and the Crusaders scored four times.
Murphy doubled, Tony Barber walked and both scored on Brenton Colabella's double. Romano singled to put runners at the corners. Porreca's single scored Colabella and Josh Merriman's single brought in Romano.
"They put the ball in play and made us make plays," Myers said of the Crusaders. "They played well."
Central is 11-0.
"We saw a heck of a guy Monday night (Steubenville's Justin Corsi), saw a heck of a left-hander last night (Beaver Local's Dom Muscari) and we saw another one again today (Fuscardo)," said Young. "I'm really proud of the guys. We just hung in there and did whatever it took to score runs and win a game.
"It was a good baseball game between two rivals."
Madonna was swept on the day when Wheeling Central came in and left with a 10-1 victory.
The Blue Dons had six hits and just as many errors.
Will Bowser took the loss. He fanned five and walked six. Antinone and Ross Comis each singled twice and Rogers doubled.
Catholic Central 7, Madonna 2
Catholic Central 010 020 4 - 7 11 0
Madonna 010 100 0 - 2 4 4
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (11-0): Porreca (WP, 7K, 6W), T. Barber (7, 0K, 0W) and Romano; Murphy 2S; T. Barber RBI; Colabella D, 2RBI; Romano D, S, RBI; Porreca D, S; Merriman D, S, DiCarlantonio 2S.
MADONNA: Fuscardo (LP, 8K, 3W), Rogers (7, 0K, 1W) and Silvestri; Rogers 2S; Silvestri S; Antinone RBI; Fuscardo S.
Wheeling Central 10, Madonna 1
Wheeling Central 120 210 4 - 10 7 0
Madonna 000 100 0 - 1 6 6
WHEELING CENTRAL: Shaw (WP, 2K, 3W), Bakaitis (6, 4K, 2W) and Yocke; Minor S; Bakaitis D, S, RBI; Yocke S; Burch S; Gentile S; Griffith S; Campbell 2RBI;
MADONNA (10-4): Bowser (LP, 5K, 6W), Rogers (6, 1K, 2W), Robertson (7, 0K, 1W) and Silvestri; Baire S; Antinone 2S; Comis 2S; Rogers D; Silvestri RBI.