ND claims third place in SEMO Conference tournament

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The Bulldogs' Lucas Dirnberger flirted with a no-hitter in a 6-1 victory over Kennett.

Lucas Dirnberger had not pitched more than 10 innings the entire season as he made the start for Notre Dame in the third-place game of the SEMO Conference tournament Monday at Central.

Dirnberger looked right at home on the mound, holding Kennett hitless over 6 1/3 innings in a 6-1 win.

"I kind of want to be that third starter," Dirnberger said. "I felt like I had to be up there. Throwing strikes was a big key."

Third-seeded Kennett (12-4) looked clueless against the senior lefty, hitting lazy fly balls all day. The Indians failed to hit a ball hard until the sixth inning, and Dirnberger struck out seven against three walks.

Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said Dirnberger's stuff has been impressive, but control has held him back.

"Lucas is a kid you go look at him throw in the bullpen and you think, 'Wow, what do we have here?'" Graviett said.

The Bulldogs, seeded fourth, scored two runs in both the first and second innings. Notre Dame's first three hitters singled in the first, when eight Bulldogs went to the plate.

Notre Dame added three more hits in the second, scoring two runs on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly from Shane Menz.

"That was a big confidence boost, everyone stroking the ball like that," Dirnberger said. "That lets a pitcher sit back and throw strikes."

In the fifth inning, Menz ranged far to his left to field a grounder from his third base position to preserve the no-hitter. The Indians hit a liner to left-center with two outs in the sixth, but the Bulldogs' center fielder was positioned perfectly for the catch.

Dirnberger said he was not aware of the no-hitter until the fifth inning, when he took a look at the scoreboard.

Dirnberger struck out the first batter in the seventh. He then had Jared Hughes behind in the count, but Hughes roped a double to left-center to break up the no-hit bid. Robert Lockett also ended the shutout with a two-out bloop single down the left-field line.

Abe Dirnberger led Notre Dame's 11-hit attack with three hits and two RBIs. Jordan Buchheit added two hits.

With two weeks left until the district playoffs, playing three games in four days in the conference tournament should be a good tuneup for the Bulldogs.

Graviett said his three starters in the conference tournament -- Kirk Boeller, Anthony Wulfers and Lucas Dirnberger -- could be the three used in the district tournament.

That idea sits well with Dirnberger.

"I really want to be up there with our top three pitchers," Dirnberger said. "I think that's where I'm the strongest, off the starts when I know it's my game."

Notre Dame 6, Kennett 1

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WP -- Lucas Dirnberger, 3-0. LP -- Paul Harris. 2B -- Jared Hughes (K), Chad Friend (N). Multiple hits -- Notre Dame, Abe Dirnberger 3-4; Jordan Buchheit 2-4. Records -- Kennett 12-4, Notre Dame 15-6.

Jackson 10, Poplar Bluff 0, 6 innings

In the fifth-place game, Jackson used three pitchers to combine for a no-hitter in a win over the eighth-seeded Mules at Central.

Jackson, seeded fifth, got three innings from starter Logan Lawson, two from Geoff Enders and one inning from Cameron Heath. Jackson pitchers struck out seven and walked just one.

Rex Meyr and Heath had two hits apiece in the win.

The Indians finished off No. 2 New Madrid County Central 10-6 earlier in the day at Central in a continuation of Saturday's supsended consolation game. Bret Groening pitched five innings for the win, and Lawson pitched the final two for the save.

Groening added three hits and four RBIs at the plate. Meyr had two hits.

Jackson 10, Poplar Bluff 0

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WP -- Logan Lawson. 2B -- Cameron Heath 2 (J), Bret Groening (J), Robert Cheney (J). Multiple hits -- Jackson, Heath 2-3; Rex Meyr 2-3. Records -- Jackson 10-8.

Jackson 10, New Madrid County Central 6


WP -- Bret Groening. LP -- Sullinger. HR -- Pruitt (N). 2B -- Luke Crader (J), Rex Meyr 2 (J), Groening 2 (J), Austin Leimer (J). Multiple hits -- Jackson, Groening 3-3; Meyr 2-5; New Madrid, Harris 2-4; Pruitt 2-4. Records -- Jackson 9-8.

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