WHEELING - Weirton Madonna coach Chris Conti did not know what to expect from his Blue Dons softball team entering the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A Tournament.
After all, like most teams the Hancock County squad has played a limited amount of games because of the heavy spring rains.
However, Madonna had swept through its first 11 outings and with the help of Rebecca Stewart, Courtney Moss, Ashley Jones and a slew of others, the Blue Dons wasted little time putting their coach at ease Wednesday night.
Stewart allowed only one hit, that coming with two outs in the fifth and final inning, Moss collected three infield singles and Jones chased home four runs as Weirton Madonna scored early and often in a 12-0 rout of Toronto in a Class A semifinal contest played mostly in a driving rain at Lisa's Field.
Conti's 12-0 squad will face the winner of today's other semifinal between Cameron and Bellaire St. John on Saturday for the small-school title. The Dons lost to the Fighting Irish in last year's semifinals and the previous year to the Dragons in the finals.
"We will have to wait until (today) to see who we will play, but they are two great teams and I know we will have our hands full either way," Conti said. "But we are just so excited to be back in this position. The OVAC does a great job and this is a whole lot of fun for the girls."
Wednesday night's onslaught began in the bottom of the first when Moss, who had made a nice running catch in right to end the top of the frame, beat out an infield single.
Catcher Sam Myers singled to left with Moss going to third and Myers ending up at second on the throw. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch for a 1-0 score. Myers then crossed the dish on a one-out Ashley Jones sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Madonna added to the Red Knights' misery in the second with a one-out, two-run single to center to make it 4-0. Myers, who was intentionally walked, then scored on a wild pitch for a 5-0 reading.
Stephanie Magnone contributed by ripped a run-scoring triple to deep left-center field and scored to make it 7-0 on Isabella Anile's RBI fielder's choice. The Dons managed to send eight to the plate in the inning, pushing across five runs.
Madonna added three more in the third including Moss' third infield single, and first RBI, of the contest and another Jones sacrifice fly, which chased home her fourth run.
The Blue Dons took advantage of a couple of Toronto miscues for the final margin in the bottom of the fourth.
It appeared Stewart was going to finish with a no-hitter, however, Kelsey Ellison was credited with an infield single after being ruled safe at first on a bang-bang play. Stewart finished with nine strikeouts, walking one and hitting a batter.
"This was just a great effort by the girls," Conti added. "We have not been able to get into any kind of rhythm, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen coming in.
"But I am very proud of how we responded and played so well. We hit the ball very hard and Rebecca pitched excellent. We were just able to get some key hits in big situations. If we play like that again on Saturday we might come home with a 'W'."