In any sport, one can only hope that a team comes out and plays its best baseball in an elimination setting.
On Saturday afternoon, the Notre Dame Titans’ baseball program used a persistent effort to battle off the equally persistent nasty weather conditions that it faced in a Division IV Sectional Semifinal matchup as the Titans, behind base hits from CJ Corns, Caleb Nichols, Jake McGuire, and Roy Risgby, along with persistent pitching performances from Nichols, Corns, and Tyler Speas en route to obtaining an 8-1 victory over the Manchester Greyhounds’ baseball program in an impressive showing.
After giving up a game-opening run in the top half of the first on a pair of errors, Notre Dame never looked back as the Titans never faced more than four batters per inning en route to closing out the affair.
Nichols, Speas, and Corns, who combined to strike out 13 Manchester batters while only allowing three hits in all, only walked two Greyhounds as the trio obtained a 6.67-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the contest. Speas and Corns — the senior leaders on the Titans’ roster — had 11 strikeouts on their own in relief in an impressive performance from the duo.
With the trio rolling on the hill, it didn’t take long for the Notre Dame offense to follow suit as the Titans established a rhythm in the middle innings of play.
A leadoff walk by Gabe Pettay was followed up by a single by Corns, and Nichols was hit by a pitch to load the bases, which allowed Speas to tie the score with his sacrifice fly to left field. A throwing error then allowed Corns and Nichols to score while Ethan Kammer raced around to third base, and Chris Schmidt added yet another productive at-bat by using his own sacrifice fly — this time, to center field — to score Kammer as the Titans took a 4-1 lead after three innings of work.
As Speas — who threw from the third through fifth frames — and Corns — who pitched the sixth and seventh stanzas — continued to roll on in relief, Notre Dame was able to add yet another four-spot in the bottom of the fifth to seal the deal. A single to left field by Nichols, along with walks by Speas and Kammer, allowed McGuire to come up large with a double to center field, which cleared the bases. The latter then came home on an error to round out the scoring.
At the plate, McGuire’s double proved to be the gamebreaking hit as the freshman went 1-for-1 with three RBI and a run scored, while Nichols (1-for-3, hit by pitch, two runs scored), Corns (1-for-3, run scored), Speas (walk, sacrifice fly, RBI, run scored), Kammer (walk, two runs scored), Rigsby (1-for-3), and Pettay (walk, run scored) all contributed from an offensive standpoint for Notre Dame.
With the victory, the Titans will move on to the Division IV, Chillicothe I Sectional Finals, where Notre Dame will play Clay on Tuesday evening. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. in Rosemount.
ADDITIONAL POSTSEASON SCORES:
Division IV, Chillicothe I Sectional Semifinals
Federal Hocking 8, South Webster 1
Division IV, Chillicothe II Sectional Semifinals
Peebles 17, East 7
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT