Titans blank, rout Bobcats in sectional


PORTSMOUTH — Notre Dame’s dominance of Division IV sectional softball only continued on Wednesday.

That’s because the now 19-4, and once again top-seeded in the Southeast District, the young yet talented and highly-touted Titans took it to the visiting Green Bobcats —blanking them 23-0 in a sectional championship tilt.

For the Titans, truly this is familiar territory —as they captured their fifth consecutive sectional title, and 13th in program history.

In the past decade-and-a-half, the only seasons Notre Dame didn’t win a sectional were 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2020 —the latter of which saw the season unfortunately canceled because of the coronavirus threat.

Before back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012 to begin the run, the Titans were sectional champions four times in the 1980s (1983, 1985, 1987 and 1988).

Notre Dame sports only one senior —regular left fielder Libby Kelly.

Against Green, the Titans scored once in the opening inning, crossed the dish five times apiece in the second and third frames, and finally exploded for a dozen runs in the fourth—furthering the 10-run mercy-rule margin and forcing the contest’s calling.

Notre Dame’s 23 runs came on 20 hits and a walk apiece to freshmen Lyndsey Schaefer and Alayla Soard, as 19 of the 23 runs were batted in —and the Bobcats committed seven errors.

Gwen Sparks had a home run and three RBIs, as Bree Hicks went a perfect 4-of-4 at the plate —and scored four runs.

Kyndall Ford finished with three hits, as Sparks, Maddie Entler and Kate Entler all had a pair.

Ford and her freshman sister Maycee Ford finished with four RBIs apiece, as Kate Entler equaled Sparks with three and Maddie Entler added two.

Kyndall Ford and Kate Entler ended up with a pair of doubles, as Kaylyn Darden and Hicks had one apiece —and Soard tallied a triple.

Sparks sacrificed once as well.

The junior Sparks, the first of three Titans pitchers, worked the opening three innings for the circle win —and struck out nine.

By the way, she only faced nine batters —as Kyndall Ford struck out all three Bobcats she saw, while Soard struck out three and faced four.

The Bobcats’ only baserunner was Emma Brown on their only basehit.

The Titans, which were scheduled to host Clay on Friday for their final regular season and Southern Ohio Conference Division I bout for the year, travel to the University of Rio Grande on Tuesday for the annual Division IV district tournament.

Notre Dame’s semifinal game is against ninth-seeded Waterford, which edged eighth-seeded Eastern 3-2 in another sectional final on Wednesday.

First pitch between the Titans and Wildcats is set for 4 p.m.

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