PDT Sports Contributor
In postseason play, one can never predict what is going to happen in a game.
However, Notre Dame made sure that nothing out of the ordinary was going to happen against Western as Tori Harr threw a complete game and the Titan offense scored three runs in the first inning en route to a 6-1 victory in a Division IV Sectional Final held in Portsmouth Thursday evening.
J.D. Wittman said that Harr (who struck out nine batters and only allowed five hits while giving up only a single run in the seven-inning affair) has been one of the leaders all year for the Notre Dame squad.
“Tori’s been our leader all year,” Wittman said. “She’s pitched the majority of our games and only lost two of them. She’s really done a great job all year for us as a senior. When you’re only giving up one or two runs during each outing, great things are going to happen.”
It wasn’t just Harr who did the job, however, as the Titans’ batting order came up large for the Titans in the contest.
In fact, the one-through-five hitters (Katie Stevenson, Megha Patel, Madi Phillips, Brooke Pierron, and Elayna Born) reached base in 13 of their 20 combined at-bats and accounted for five of Notre Dame’s six runs in the contest.
“Those are our leaders in the batting order, and that’s been the one-through-five all year long,” Wittman said. “They get on base and good things happen. I would’ve liked to have seen us hit the ball a little better today, but that’s the third time that we’ve played Western, and when you play somebody three times, they know you just as well as yourself.”
The season is indeed overall for Western, but Renee Davis’ squad achieved a better mark this season (9-9) than in any of her eight seasons as head coach.
C.C. Shanks finished off a strong freshman season by going five and a third innings on the mound. Shanks gave up six runs in the contest but only gave up one run through the remaining three and a third innings after giving up five tallies in the first two innings.
“(C.C.) did very well,” Davis said. “For a freshman, she’s done a very good job on the mound.”
Notre Dame didn’t take long to warm up at the plate as Stevenson and Phillips delivered two base knocks to start off the hitting for the Titans in the bottom of the first inning.
Phillips would follow up her hit by stealing second base and Brooke Pierron drew a walk to load the bases. Born capitalized on a golden opportunity to give her team an early lead and she did so by etching out a double, which cleared the bases and gave the Titans a 3-0 advantage after an inning of play.
The Indians scored their first and only run of the contest in the top of the second inning. Mallorie Williams drew a lead off walk and then advanced to third on a Caylee Fites’ single. With runners on the corners, Patel miss played a line-drive shot off the bat of Abby Montgomery, which allowed Williams to score from third.
The Titans answered the Indians run in the top half of the frame by scoring two runs of their own in the home half of the inning. Hagen Schaefer reached base via an error on Shanks to lead off the inning. Shanks compounded problems for herself after that miscue by immediately walking Patel.
After another error by Western allowed Schaefer to score a run, Patel crossed home plate a few moments later when Pierron singled in one of her two RBIs.
The game then abruptly turned into a pitcher’s duel for the vast majority of the contest. Pierron added another RBI in the sixth inning to complete the scoring for the Titans.
The loss means that Western will have to say goodbye to two of its seniors – Liz Jackson and Haley Leeth.
However, Indians assistant coach Tom Hall said that their leadership and production will be sorely missed.
“They were great leaders for us this year,” Hall said. “They took the underclassmen and freshmen under their wing, showed them the ropes, and really taught them how to win and what it takes to win.”
With the win, Notre Dame will play Symmes Valley in a Division IV District Semifinal matchup.
Western 010 000 0 – 1 5 3
Notre Dame 320 001 x – 6 7 1
Western – Jackson 1-3, Brewster 1-3, Williams 0-2 (BB, R), Fite 2-3, A. Montgomery 1-3 (RBI).
Notre Dame – Stevenson 2-4 (2 R), Patel 1-2 (2B, 2 R), Phillips 2-3 (BB, R), Pierron 2-3 (2B, BB, R, 2 RBI), Born 1-4 (2B, 3 RBI), Corns 0-2 (BB).
W – Harr
L – Shanks
Records – Western 9-9, Notre Dame 15-3.