Notre Dame squeaks past Doniphan 4-3

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

DEXTER, Mo. -- Notre Dame overcame a shaky start in dramatic fashion, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to nip Doniphan 4-3 in a first-round game in the Class 3 District 1 tournament on Tuesday.

Second-seed Notre Dame (17-6), which trailed the seventh-seeded Dons 3-0 after the first inning, will face No. 3 seed and host Dexter (14-6) in a 6 p.m. semifinal today.

The Bulldogs completed the comeback when Matt Wulfers, who had reached on a single, scored the game-ending run on a two-out wild pitch. Moments earlier, Jacob Essner scored the game-tying run on Blake Urhan's two-out grounder that went through the legs of the Dons' third baseman.

The victory made a winner of Lee Essner, who pitched the final three innings to improve to 10-0. Essner allowed just one hit and struck out four.

Doniphan closed its season at 10-8.

"We probably got their 'A' game, which we get from a lot of people and should come to expect," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said.

Lee Essner relieved starter Jeremy Brinkmeyer, who allowed two of Doniphan's three hits in a three-run first.

Brinkmeyer started the Bulldog comeback with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth.

Wulfers, who was 2-for-4, closed the gap to 3-2 with a solo home run in the fifth.

Jacob Essner, Urhahn and Shane Menz each added two hits for Notre Dame, which finished with eight hits.

The Bulldogs lost to Dexter earlier this season. On Monday, Dexter advanced with a 3-2 victory over Kennett.

In today's other semifinal, top-seeded Sikeston will face Fredericktown, a 1-0 winner over Perryville on Tuesday, at 4 p.m.

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