Titans to Elite 8


ND blanks Blue Devils 10-0 in regional

By Paul Boggs - [email protected]



The 2022 Notre Dame Titans defeated Danville 10-0 on Wednesday in a Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball game at Pickerington Central High School, thus advancing to Saturday’s regional championship tilt.

The 2022 Notre Dame Titans defeated Danville 10-0 on Wednesday in a Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball game at Pickerington Central High School, thus advancing to Saturday’s regional championship tilt.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Notre Dame second baseman Annie Dettwiller fields the ball and makes this difficult throw to first base for an out in the Titans’ 10-0 Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball victory on Wednesday over Danville.


Photos courtesy of Matt Payton

Notre Dame’s Kyndall Ford finished 2-for-2 with an RBI-double, a two-run home run and two runs scored in the Titans’ 10-0 Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball victory on Wednesday over Danville.


Photos courtesy of Matt Payton

PICKERINGTON — Truth be told, Notre Dame did little-to-no wrong Wednesday with this one.

As a result, the Titans turned a perfect at Pickerington 10 — into their third all-time Division IV Elite Eight.

In what’s already become old hat for the 2022 Titans, Notre Dame dialed up a dozen hits, got another Gwen Sparks pitching gem, and Annie Dettwiller was good for yet another late-inning glove save —all in one fell swoop with the Titans’ 10-0 Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball shutout over Danville, inside “The Quad” at Pickerington Central High School.

For the now 19-1 Titans, and all in the past decade, they have reached the regional championship bout for the third time —as the others occurred first in 2012, and then again in 2015.

But these ‘22 Titans are indeed perhaps the door-breakers —as the NDHS program seeks a state semifinal appearance, for all its multiple regional tournament trips.

That includes the previous two for four-year senior catcher Madison Brown, as the Titan train was derailed by Peebles in the past two seasons’ semifinals round.

Wednesday was a new day, and a new trek to Pickerington —but Notre Dame’s dominance against the Central District champion Blue Devils (15-8) was clearly on display.

The Titans tallied at least one run in every inning sans the scoreless third, and four times scored twice —including Kyndall Ford’s flamethrow of a two-run home run in the sixth, which made it 9-0.

Against Blue Devil reliever Alicia Humphrey in the seventh, the Titans tacked on a 10th and final point —when Katie Strickland and Maddie Entler both singled, and Strickland scored via way of three wild pitches.

Ford pitched the seventh for the Titans, and despite allowing a single to Grace Gronberg and a walk to Cordi Richert, induced three groundouts to officially secure the Elite Eight berth.

Ford picked up in the circle from where Sparks and company left off —with the defense making no errors, and Sparks striking out nine, including the side in the third.

Sparks faced 21 Blue Devils, retired the Danville side in innings one, two, three and six —and faced four batters in the fifth, as Emily Weckesser singled with two outs.

Offensively, Notre Dame’s dozen hits included the only run they needed for the win —as Dettwiller drew a one-out walk from Gronberg in the opening at-bat, and Ford doubled her home with a solid shot to right center.

Libby Kelly then singled to right to drive in Ford for a 2-0 advantage —as Kelly led off the fifth with solo home run to left, followed by Ford’s one-out two-run blast to right in the sixth.

Eight of the Titans’ 10 runs were earned —as Danville committed four errors, with Gronberg being chased following four and one-third innings.

She also walked five, in addition to the nine Notre Dame hits she gave up.

Shad Ford’s Titans, needless to say, had more than a passing performance with Wednesday’s regional test.

“It was an A+ grade game for us. Just proud of these girls for a great team effort. It was a good day out here on the ballfields,” said the first-year NDHS head coach. “These girls came to play today, as you can see by the 10-0 score and what you saw. We didn’t do much wrong. No errors on defense, Gwen threw strikes, had some bonus strikeouts, hit two home runs, ran the bases well, played some ‘small ball’ even. The things that we said we had to do to win, we did them.”

Ford and Kelly were walked two times apiece, as Ford was hit by a Gronberg pitch in the fourth.

In between the first and sixth stanzas, Dettwiller twice had RBI-singles (second and third innings), Bree Hicks had one in the second, and Enter added one in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.

Dettwiller, Ford, Kelly and Entler ended up with two hits apiece —with Hicks, Kaylyn Darden in the fourth frame and Brown in the fifth forging one baseknock each.

For Sparks, following back-to-back district tournament tilts of 14 strikeouts —she netted nine against Danville, and only faced some serious duress in the fourth.

Keaura Shilling singled to lead off and Humphrey had a one-out walk —with both Blue Devils advancing a base into scoring position.

But Sparks’ seventh strikeout, combined with a flyout to Darden in center, ended that threat —and Dettwiller, for the third consecutive tournament bout, dazzled with a webmastery defensive play that had to be seen to be believed.

Humphrey hit a hard shot right back at Sparks in the sixth, which ricocheted off her glove and almost directly to Dettwiller — who dove and somehow cleanly fielded the ball, firing on to first for the dramatic, and even acrobatic, third out.

“Gwen threw the ball well and spun the ball well. They had troubling hitting her. Her change-up was on again, she moved it in and out and up, and the defense played well with Madi Brown catching again,” said Coach Ford, simply.

Indeed, there was little trouble for the Titans on Wednesday —but now awaits their most serious challenge all spring.

That’s because Notre Dame, with a Division IV state tournament ticket to be punched for the winner, will face Strasburg-Franklin for the regional championship on Saturday.

The 25-4 Tigers are a Region 15 “Sweet 16” , and even “Elite Eight”, regular —and advanced to the title game with a 13-2 victory over Scioto County’s own South Webster.

First pitch between the two Region 15 powers is set for Saturday at Pickerington Central — at high noon.

“We’re an Elite Eight team now, with the chance to go to the Division IV Final Four,” said Ford. “Very proud of the girls, and excited for Saturday.”

* * *

Notre Dame 220 212 1 —10 12 0

Danville 000 000 0 —0 3 4

NDHS:Gwen Sparks 6IP, 0R, 0ER, 2H, 1BB, 0HB, 9K, 21BF; Kyndall Ford 1IP, 0R, 0ER, 1H, 1BB, 0HB, 0K, 5BF

DHS: Grace Gronberg 4 1/3IP, 7R, 6ER, 9H, 1HB, 5BB, 4K, 25BF; Alicia Humphrey 2 2/3 IP, 3R, 2ER, 3H, 1HB, 2BB, 2K, 15BF

W — Gwen Sparks; L —Grace Gronberg

The 2022 Notre Dame Titans defeated Danville 10-0 on Wednesday in a Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball game at Pickerington Central High School, thus advancing to Saturday’s regional championship tilt.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_ND-Danville-Team-pic-1-1.jpgThe 2022 Notre Dame Titans defeated Danville 10-0 on Wednesday in a Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball game at Pickerington Central High School, thus advancing to Saturday’s regional championship tilt. Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Notre Dame second baseman Annie Dettwiller fields the ball and makes this difficult throw to first base for an out in the Titans’ 10-0 Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball victory on Wednesday over Danville.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_ND-Danville-Dettwiller-1-1.jpgNotre Dame second baseman Annie Dettwiller fields the ball and makes this difficult throw to first base for an out in the Titans’ 10-0 Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball victory on Wednesday over Danville. Photos courtesy of Matt Payton

Notre Dame’s Kyndall Ford finished 2-for-2 with an RBI-double, a two-run home run and two runs scored in the Titans’ 10-0 Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball victory on Wednesday over Danville.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_ND-Danville-Ford-1-1.jpgNotre Dame’s Kyndall Ford finished 2-for-2 with an RBI-double, a two-run home run and two runs scored in the Titans’ 10-0 Division IV Region 15 semifinal softball victory on Wednesday over Danville. Photos courtesy of Matt Payton
ND blanks Blue Devils 10-0 in regional

By Paul Boggs

[email protected]

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved