MOUNDSVILLE - Bishop Donahue was a surprise winner of last season's OVAC Tournament. There will be no sneaking up on anyone this season.
The Bishops began defense of their title with a 17-1 pasting of Valley in the semifinals Tuesday at Valley Fork. They will face the winner of today's Weirton Madonna-Trinity game Friday at Vaccaro Field in Steubenville.
''We have something to defend and (might) be playing one of the best teams in the state in Weirton Madonna,'' Bishop Donahue coach Bob Kleeh said. ''Coach (Jeff) Baire has them well-prepared to play every time they step on the field so we are going to have our hands full.''
PHOTO BY JOSH STROPE
Bishop Donahue’s Garrett Yurisko dives back to first as Valley’s Albert McGuane looks to make a tag.
Bishop Donahue scored 11 runs in the second inning, but it was seven errors by Valley that played the biggest part.
The Lumberjacks (7-8) allowed two hits to lead off the inning and could of gotten out of the inning unscathed. Instead, two dropped balls by the center fielder and a mishandled play at third allowed three runs to come across the plate.
Phillip Smith and Hunter Kaschke each added a two-run single, and Marshall Reager, Austin Ghaphery, and Bryce Jones hit RBI singles as the Bishops (18-4) sent 15 batters to the plate and opened a 12-0 lead.
''We call that wasting pitches,'' Valley coach Jim West said of the errors. ''We have a game (today), a game Thursday, maybe two on Friday. We are wasting our best pitcher on what should have been three outs early. What follows an error? A base hit. What follows a base hit? All that stuff rolls and snowballs on us.
''We have that one inning where we don't focus and I have to start making changes.''
Smith got the scoring started in the first inning with an RBI groundout. In the fourth, he had an RBI single to give him three singles, five RBI, and a stolen base for the day.
That was more than enough for starting pitcher Joey Myers.
Myers struck out two and allowed four singles. He didn't allow more than three batters to come to the plate in the first four innings.
''He's working on three days rest and he did a nice job for us,'' Kleeh said. ''He's coming along for us and stepping up big every time I put him on the mound.''
Valley broke up the shutout with an RBI single from Chase West in the fifth inning.
Kleeh is unsure who he will throw in Friday's title contest, but is confident his club will be able to step up to the task, whether it be the Blue Dons or the Warriors in the opposing dugout.
''We feel very confident, but we'll see,'' Kleeh said. ''I like to keep our feet on the ground but I'm real proud of our baseball team and we will show up Friday and see how it plays out.''