Bulldogs suffer first loss of year in Class 3 semis

Saturday, October 20, 2007
Notre Dame pitcher Lauren Reinagel, center, threw out a Webb City baserunner after a bunt Friday, October 19, 2007, during their semifinal game in Columbia, Mo. (Kit Doyle)

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- For the first time this fall, Notre Dame sophomore Lauren Reinagel was outpitched.

Reinagel entered Friday's Class 3 state semifinal against Webb City with a 27-0 record, a 0.47 ERA and 235 strikeouts.

But Webb City's Nicole Hudson was more relaxed and in command.

"My catcher Molly [Garst] has been over my house almost every day this week and we took what little information we had about this team and ran with it," Hudson said. "We found a little bit of film on them and we dissected what we had. .. And the wind today helped my screwball, which was rising and keeping them off balance. Yeah, we just went after them."

Hudson dominated the Bulldogs lineup from top to bottom, tossing a complete-game shutout while striking out 15 and allowing two hits to help her team to a 3-0 victory over Notre Dame at the Rainbow Complex.

Emotions ran high and tears flowed after Notre Dame held on to win 2-1 over Platte County in the Class 3 third-place game Friday night in Columbia, Mo. (Kit Doyle)

Webb City improved to 24-4 with the win and will play in the Class 3 championship today against North Callaway. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 28-1, forcing them to settle for a birth in the third-place game against Platte County later in the day. Notre Dame won that game 2-1 to finish its season 29-1 and third in the state.

Reinagel was the winning pitcher in the second game, going all seven innings and allowing one unearned run, two hits and five walks. She struck out 11 batters and improved her season record to 28-1.

"We were all crushed," Reinagel said about the team's feelings after the first game. "Our school has never done that [win state] before and we really wanted to do it."

Reinagel's 28 wins tied her for second all-time in Missouri for wins in a season. She only trails Melanie Wallach, who posted at 29-3 record for Eureka as a senior in 1999, according to the 2007-08 Missouri State High School Activities Association Records Book and Yearbook. Sophia Alexander of Strafford had a 28-2 record as a junior in 2005.

"All of us, we played amazing, and I pitched amazing this year," Reinagel said when told about her record. "I'm just so proud of my girls. I could not have done it without them."

Notre Dame players made their way through tears to congratulate Webb City after losing for the first time this season Friday, October 19, 2007, in the Class 3 Missouri State semifinal in Columbia, Mo. (Kit Doyle)

While Hudson was dominating on the mound in game one, the top of the Webb City batting order did the most damage off Reinagel. And the top of that order consisted of Garst -- the catcher -- batting leadoff and Hudson, batting No. 2. They combined to go 5-for-7 at the plate with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Webb City pushed across single runs in the first, third and fifth innings off Reinagel.

"She [Reinagel] was frustrated today, but she faced some talented hitters and they got the better of her today, especially the top two in the lineup," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "The leadoff hitter sprayed the ball all over the field. It was like it had eyes and went to the right spots to get on base. And their No. 2 hitter is probably one of the best we've seen all year."

Notre Dame regrouped well for its third-place game, which started about two hours after the first game finished. Reinagel said her team just felt more relaxed for the second game.

"All we wanted to do that game was have fun," Reinagel said. "We didn't want to cry, we didn't want to be upset, we just wanted to have fun."

"I have been playing with these girls all my life and it's the last time playing with each other, so we just wanted to have fun."

Notre Dame second baseman Alex Fowler awaited a throw to catch a Platte County baserunner straying too far from the bag Friday, October 19, 2007, during their third place game in Columbia, Mo. (Kit Doyle)

In the second game, Heather Menz and Lauren Bond, two seniors, had RBI hits for the Bulldogs. Bond and Menz said they will probably not play softball in college.

Menz's hit, which scored Alexis Ralls, came in the first inning.

"We were a lot more relaxed," Menz said. "We kept telling ourselves, 'We're going to win this game.'

"We wanted to win it because it was our senior year. I told myself before I went up there I have to get a hit in this last game at some point. I wanted to make it happen and I did."

Bond's RBI hit off Platte County hurler Haley Pypes came in the bottom of the fourth inning to increase Notre Dame's lead to 2-0. Platte County scored one unearned run in the seventh.

Notre Dame senior Brittney Schott beat out the throw to single on a bunt against Webb City in their semifinal game Friday, October 19, 2007, in Columbia, Mo. It was Notre Dame's first and only loss of the season. (Kit Doyle)

"The coaches had been telling us that the first pitch was a strike, so I was just looking to swing at the first pitch and it was a line drive right past the second baseman," Bond said. "It feels amazing, especially with it being my senior year.

"[Not making the finals] was pretty disappointing at first, but we didn't let it get us down because we had a really good record and a really good year."

Notre Dame junior Alexis Ralls crossed the plate with the first run in their 2-1 third place win over Platte County Friday, October 19, 2007, in Columbia, Mo. (Kit Doyle)
Photos by
Kit Doyle
TOP: The Notre Dame softball players gathered after their 2-1 victory over Platte County in the Class 3 third-place game Friday in Columbia, Mo.
RIGHT: Notre Dame's Alexis Ralls crossed the plate with the first run in the third-place game. BOTTOM RIGHT: Teary-eyed Notre Dame players made their way on to the field to congratulate Webb City after losing for the first time this season in the semifinals. BOTTOM LEFT: Notre Dame second baseman Alex Fowler awaited a throw to catch a Platte County base runner that strayed too far from the bag. LEFT: Notre Dame pitcher Lauren Reinagel threw out a Webb City batter on a bunt.
The Notre Dame Bulldogs lined up to receive their third place medals after defeating Platte County 2-1 Friday night, October 19, 2007, in Columbia, Mo. (Kit Doyle)
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