Reinagel perfect in Notre Dame's season opener

Thursday, August 28, 2008
AARON EISEHAUER ~ Central pitcher Amanda Nichols pulled in a shallow pop fly for an out against Notre Dame on Wednesday.

Wednesday was the opening day of the high school softball season for Notre Dame, but junior all-state pitcher Lauren Reinagel was in midseason form.

Reinagel pitched a perfect game against host Central in a 5-0 victory, striking out the first 13 batters she faced before the Tigers put a ball in play. She finished with 17 strikeouts, including the final three batters she faced.

"She has got an arsenal," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "She has four or five pitches, and when she has control of them, she's going to be tough."

Reinagel was tough last year, posting a 28-1 record as Notre Dame finished 29-1 and third in the state in Class 3.

And Reinagel, who spent the summer pitching for the SEMO Magic, had control Wednesday, facing only a 3-0 count once in the second inning before battling back to strike out Kara Parkinson.

"I thought I was going to walk her," said Reinagel, who slapped her glove against her leg when she fell behind and then sprinted toward the dugout as the umpire called the third strike. "I just had to pitch straight and had to make it spin less."

Usually, though, Reinagel wasn't holding back.

AARON EISEHAUER ~ Notre Dame pitcher Lauren Reinagel fired a pitch to the plate during Wednesday's game against Central. Reinagel threw a perfect game.

She was effective with her changeup.

"It was kind of surprising because that hasn't been the case in practice lately," Reinagel said.

And opposing pitcher Amanda Nichols feared Reinagel's riseball.

"I'm usually trying to hit the first pitch," Nichols said. "I think that's the best pitch I'll see in an at-bat because she has such a good riseball."

AARON EISEHAUER ~ Notre Dame's Brittney Schott grabs a ground ball to get the out at first during their game against Cape Central on Wednesday, August 27, 2008.

Central coach Amy Blattel wanted her players to show more patience at the plate.

"We're young in certain areas, and we have to learn to lay off certain pitches," Blattel said. "It's just the second game of the season, so that's to be expected."

Central's closest encounters to reaching base, other than the 3-0 count, was Tori Ourth's fly into shallow center that was snared by center fielder Erika Reinagel and Victoria Schabbing's unsuccessful attempt to beat out a bunt in front of catcher Alecia Glaus.

At that point, the score still was 1-0 as Nichols kept Notre Dame from breaking away.

"I thought Nichols did a tremendous job the first six innings," Graviett said. "We're going to score a lot of runs this year. She kept our top two off the bases most of the game, and I don't think that a lot of teams are going to be able to say that this year."

"I was trying to keep it outside so they would have trouble slapping and bunting it," Nichols said of facing Erika Reinagel and Paris Burger, "but they're so good."

Burger, Notre Dame's No. 2 hitter, manufactured the first run in the top of the first inning with a single, two stolen bases and an error.

But Nichols struck out Lauren Reinagel to close the first inning, then retired 15 of the next 16 batters to nearly match Reinagel through six innings.

Notre Dame broke things open in the seventh, though, with four runs. Alexis Ralls led off with a single, her second hit of the day, and moved to second on Lauren Reinagel's bunt. Brooke Glastetter had an RBI double, Nikki Chambers had an RBI single and two runs scored when Erika Reinagel's hit to Nichols resulted in an error.

"We had a couple of letdowns that cost us," Blattel said, "but we made some plays as well."

Nichols had seven strikeouts and got some defensive assistance from Parkinson in left and Schabbing at shortstop.

Reinagel, who last year set a school record with 253 strikeouts during Notre Dame's 29-1 season, says she is aware of school records when she sets her goals for the fall season.

But she didn't keep track Wednesday of just how good a day she was having.

"After the first three innings, I lose track when I get to the dugout and I have to think about batting," she said.

She left without any hits, but the rest of her day was perfect.

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WP — Lauren Reinagel, 1-0. LP — Amanda Nichols, 0-1. 2B — Britney Schott (ND). Multiple hits — Notre Dame, Alexis Ralls 2-3. Records — Notre Dame 1-0, Central 1-1.

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