ND tracks down win over Kelly

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Notre Dame center fielder Erika Reinagel caught a fly ball at the fence during the fourth inning of Monday's game against Kelly at Kelly High School. (AARON EISEHAUER ~ aeisenhauer@semissourian.com)

Notre Dame leadoff hitter Erika Reinagel said over the past three years Bulldogs coach Jeff Graviett and her other coaches have helped her realize she does not have to drive the ball hard to get on base. Instead, all she has to do is use her quick speed.

"That's how I get on base," she said. "Some people don't know about small ball and how it helps your team a lot, and I just thank my coaches for helping me."

Reinagel had another productive game of "small ball" Monday. She had three infield singles and scored one run to help the Bulldogs earn a 3-0 road win over Kelly. The victory continued the Bulldogs' (21-0) best start in school history.

Reinagel, a center fielder, also made use of her speed in the fourth when she tracked down a fly ball off the bat of Kelly's Brittany Brantley. The junior made the running catch to her left side before crashing into the fence.

"I really didn't know it was going that far, and the wind kept pushing it, and everyone was yelling, and I just went back," Reinagel said. "The fence was kind of jumpy. I pushed off the fence a little bit. It was awesome."

Graviett said Reinagel has been consistent both in the field and at the plate.

"She does not always get to show off her defensive ability because Lauren [Reinagel] does such a good job on the mound, but she made a great catch today, and she throws the ball tremendously well from out there," Graviett said. "And she's just been getting on [base] for us. Today she did it without really bunting. Two of them were slap hits. She sets the table for us."

Reinagel's cousin, Lauren Reinagel, tossed seven innings, allowing just one hit and striking out nine batters while walking four. She said she was struggling to throw an effective curveball, which was often high in the zone.

Both Lauren Reinagel and Graviett credit solid defense for the shutout -- highlighted by Reinagel's running catch.

"I thought it was going to be a pop up, and just when I saw it going farther and farther I was thinking she better jump that fence," Lauren said. "I love Erika and I can always depend on her. She's a great outfielder."

Kelly's Ashley Flahardy popped up a pitch during Monday's game. Flahardy was retired on the play.

Notre Dame scored twice in the first with the help of two Kelly errors. Brittney Schott and Lauren Reinagel reached on errors and scored when Heather Menz singled and Whitney Eftink hit into a fielder's choice.

The other Notre Dame run came in the seventh. Erika Reinagel singled, Schott doubled to deep center and Alexis Ralls drove in Reinagel on a fielder's choice.

Kelly's one hit came in the bottom of the sixth on a single to center by Casey Kern.

Kelly coach Rhonda Ratledge said she was more pleased with her team's performance Monday than when the Hawks lost to Notre Dame 9-0 earlier this year. She said with the exception of the two errors in the first it would have only been a one-run game.

"I think we had a strikeout each inning so that was our biggest problem -- not being able to get that ball into play," Ratledge said.

Ratledge was impressed by the way Reinagel played both offensively and defensively.

"With any other center fielder that would have probably been a good double for Brantley, but she's a good center fielder and she knows how to play that wall," said Ratledge, who then discussed Reinagel's speed as a leadoff hitter. "You play up and you think you've got her. We tell our corners to play up, and then she has a little [slap] over the pitcher's head and there is not a whole lot you can do on that."


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WP -- Lauren Reinagel (20-0) 0-0. LP -- Jessica Riley. 2B -- Brittney Schott (ND), Heather Menz (ND) Lauren Bond (ND); Multiple hits -- Notre Dame: Erika Reinagel 3-3; Heather Menz 2-3. Records -- Notre Dame 21-0

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