After sweeping the season series with the Lady Tigers, Notre Dame coach Darrell Keller wasn't looking forward to facing New Boston again.
“I don't want to play a team I've played before that year actually, especially when you beat them twice” said Keller. “Rule of thumb is it's hard to beat a team three times in one year.”
Given the teams' history, both coaches used different pitchers than in their previous matches. The Lady Titans' Allison Keller struck out 10 and allowed only three hits to pick up the win. Her strikeouts came at crucial times for Notre Dame.
With the Lady Titans ahead 5-1 in the top of the seventh, the Lady Tigers' Katie Williams reached on an error before being thrown out, Brittany Bloomfield walked, and Tiffany Malone singled. It was the first and last time in the game New Boston had multiple runners in scoring position, but Allison Keller struck out the final two batters to end the game and advance the Lady Titans to the second round.
“The pitching was on,” said coach Keller. “Her changeup and her drop ball was on. She threw a (three) hitter.”
Allison Keller had help from her catcher Heather Lansing. Lansing threw out two runners, and on multiple occasions, faked the Lady Tiger runners into heading back to base
“Heather, she's an outstanding player behind the plate,” said coach Keller. “She has a high batting average and you put her behind the plate, she holds them at bay and that's big for our defense.”.
The offense for Notre Dame came largely from New Boston walks and errors, along with the Lady Titans' five hits. The only multiple base hit in the game was Katie Hopkins' RBI double in the sixth inning.
New Boston's Tabitha Euton took the loss, giving up three runs in two innings pitched. Kendra Wiley pitched in relief. Wiley struck out two and gave up two runs over four innings.
The Lady Tigers had two errors in the game, along with multiple passed balls and a wild pitch.
“We had a couple defensive lapses that gave them three runs,” said New Boston coach Don Stapleton. “Two to three runs has been enough, the way we've hit the ball all year for a team to beat us.”
The Lady Titans, now 13-8, go on to face Valley this Saturday at Valley for the sectional championship.
The Lady Tigers end Stapleton's first season at 4-12 and far out of contention for an SOC I title but New Boston fans have something to look forward too. The Lady Tigers return their entire pitching staff and 10 of 14 players altogether.
“The nucleus is back. This is only the second year playing softball,” Stapleton said. “(New Boston) didn't have a team for five or six years because of numbers. It's my first venture coaching girls and varsity softball so it was a learning experience for all of us.”
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Boston 000 100 0 - 3 1 2
Notre Dame 121 001 x - 5 5 1
WP: Allison Keller 10k LP: Tabitha Euton
Notre Dame - Allison Keller 1-3; Katie Hopkins 1-2, 2B, RBI; Kea Glenn 1-3, Maggie Cardosi 1-1, 2BB; Astra Ng 1-2, RBI, Heather Lansing 0-3, RBI.
New Boston - Tiffany Malone 1-3, Tosha Buckley 1-3, Katie Williams 1-2.
Records - Notre Dame 13-8; New Boston 4-12.