ND softball seeks semifinal berth

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Notre Dame softball team is on the verge of some uncharted territory heading into today's Class 3 quarterfinal game against Lutheran South.

The Bulldogs (21-6) are making their third trip to the quarterfinals in the past four years, but they have never made it further. Notre Dame and Lutheran South (21-8) will meet at 1 p.m. at the Kirkwood Athletic Association.

"We're looking at bigger and better things," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "Now we want to make that next step. We're not just satisfied to get there."

Kelly (22-6), a playoff regular which won a state title in 1997 and was the runner-up in 1996, plays its Class 2 quarterfinal game against Richland at 11 a.m. at Kirkwood.

For Notre Dame, with a chance to make history, the mood has been loose. This is a contrast to last year, when the Bulldogs were bounced in the district semifinals.

"They're relaxing. I think last year our team put a lot of pressure on themselves," Graviett said. "If you can't have fun this time of year, you can't have fun."

Notre Dame rolled into the quarterfinal with timely hitting and the pitching of Miranda Schlosser.

Schlosser threw five innings of five-hit ball in Notre Dame's sectional victory against De Soto. Through three playoff games -- two in district play and the sectionals -- Schlosser has allowed only one run in three wins.

"She keeps her composure. She's mentally tough on the mound," Graviett said.

Against a solid hitting team in Lutheran South, Graviett will not be afraid to go to his bullpen if necessary. Unlike in past seasons when the Bulldogs had just one dominant pitcher, this season the Bulldogs have had success with three different pitchers. Sophomores Beth Schnurbusch and Kristain Burger each pitched in big games during the regular season, and Schnurbusch pitched two innings in relief against De Soto.

Lutheran South is led by top hitter Lisa Rice. Rice has hit nearly .500 this season with 25 RBIs. Kelsey Mitchell has racked up 147 innings on the mound this season for Lutheran South, with a minuscule 0.57 ERA.

Kelly wins

Kelly was able to finally play its rain-delayed sectional game Friday against Elsberry at C & H Park in St. Charles County and posted a 4-0 victory.

Whitney Beggs was the winning pitcher with a complete-game two-hitter for the victory. She struck out nine.

Kelly scored three runs in the first and added one in the sixth.

Kristin Harper drove in three runs for the Hawks, who added one other unearned run.

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