WHEELING - With the offense struggling for most of the game, Bishop Donahue coach Curt Mele did what he could do to help his team manufacture a few runs against visiting Linsly on Tuesday.
When the Bishops finally did pick up a few hits, it was enough to break open a close game and provide a victory.
Donahue continually took extra bases and Abby Randolph came through with a clutch two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to help the Bishops hold off the Cadets by an 8-3 count on Ben's Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Sports Complex.
PHOTO BY JOSH STROPE
Bishop Donahue Morgan Carroll makes contact with a pitch during Tuesday’s game as Linsly catcher Danielle Muster looks on.
What Mele did was turn the runners he did have loose on the base paths, stealing eight and turning singles and walks into doubles.
''We talked about doing that before the game, and it worked in the first inning when we scored a couple, but we had trouble getting hits when we needed them until late in the game,'' Mele said. ''After the first inning we just had trouble getting the bat on the ball.''
Linsly (7-11) didn't score often, but it did first thanks to a leadoff single by Claudia Palmer, a sacrifice bunt and an error for a 1-0 upper hand.
But the Bishops (13-10) got it back in the bottom of the frame. Tess Fallova got things started with a leadoff double down the left-field line and stole third ahead of a walk to Randolph.
After she took second, Beth Wolfe knotted the count with a line-drive rocket off Cadets pitcher Sarah Johnson, who walked the next batter before coming out of the game.
Donahue then took a lead on a bases-loaded walk to Selena Ghaphery that made it a 2-1 game. After giving up the walk to Ghaphery, reliever Katie Smith forced a popup before fanning the next two hitters to end the threat.
Linsly tied it in the second on a walk, fielder's choice and Palmer's second base hit in as many innings.
Mele's unit again took the lead in the second on a one-out walk, stolen base, wild pitch and Randolph's squeeze bunt that made it 3-2.
However, the Cadets did not go away, getting a pair of singles, an error and Ava Tennant's RBI single in the top of the fifth to force a 3-3 tie.
Donahue finally got the offense going in the sixth, collecting three hits and three walks while pushing across five runs. Randolph's two-run single back through the box provided the game-winner that made it 5-3.
Wolfe and Guzek also added run-scoring hits with Guzek coming all the way around to score on an error that made it an insurmountable 8-3 margin.
''Abby Randolph has gotten us a couple of big hits recently and did it again (Tuesday),'' Mele said. ''But I think the biggest thing is that we were more patient in the sixth inning. It has really been a rollercoaster ride the last few weeks, but I think we are starting to play a little better.
''This was a nice bounce-back win after losing to Steubenville Central on Monday, and we really needed it. Andrea Guzek also pitched a good game for us and we have to have that. When she is on, she is very good and we are a better team and we will ride her as far as she can take us.''
While the Cadets may have lost the game, Coach Darryl Crews was more than pleased with his team's effort.
''I think we rose to the challenge,''Crews said. ''We had a freshman pitcher come in and do a great job and we got some pretty good defense behind her.
''They just put the pressure on us in their last at-bat. We are still a very young team that continues to learn, but this is a very good group of girls.''
Guzek fanned nine and walked three in picking up a victory.