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Notre Dame baseball advances to Class 3 quarterfinals
Notre Dame improved to 24-1 with a 7-0 Class 3 sectional win against Potosi
POTOSI, Mo. -- Potosi nearly derailed Notre Dame's state title drive last year before it really got started, dropping a 3-2 sectional decision.
That, along with Potosi's 20-2 record and No. 4 state ranking, had the defending Class 3 champion Bulldogs wary entering Tuesday's sectional rematch on the road.
"Potosi is very solid. I was nervous coming up here," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said.
If Graviett's players were nervous, they didn't show it.
Top-ranked Notre Dame jumped on Potosi for five runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back.
The Bulldogs rode 14 hits -- five for extra bases -- Colton Young's shutout pitching and errorless defense to a 7-0 victory.
"From top to bottom, I don't know if you can play better baseball," Graviett said.
Notre Dame, which improved to 24-1 after losing just once last season, again will be on the road for Thursday's quarterfinal against St. Louis Bishop DuBourg. Game time has not yet been set.
"If we come out like that every game, we have a good shot," said senior shortstop Jimmy Obermark, who turned in three sparkling defensive plays.
Young, Notre Dame's ace senior right-hander who was 7-0 with a 1.36 ERA entering Tuesday's contest, is tough under any circumstances.
That Young was given a 5-0 lead before he took the mound made the prospects of a Potosi win seem very remote.
"We came out fired up in the first inning," said senior DH Jeremy Essner, who led Notre Dame's offense by going 4 for 4 with a triple. "Our main goal was to jump on them early.
"We knew Potosi would be a really good team and they were. We knew if we got runs for Colton we'd be fine."
Young, who allowed four singles and walked four while striking out three, appreciated the early run support.
"Getting ahead like that gives you a lot of confidence. The pressure's off," said Young, who has signed to play at Division I Tennessee-Martin of the Ohio Valley Conference. "I was just throwing strikes, letting my defense work."
Potosi's No. 1 pitcher, junior right-hander Devin Hampton, threw Saturday's district title victory. Hampton did not start Tuesday and the Bulldogs took full advantage.
Senior left-hander Patrick Reeves retired the first two batters, then Notre Dame battered him for five straight hits starting with senior center fielder Jake Pewitt's single.
That was followed by senior left fielder Trenton St. Cin's RBI double, Essner's RBI single, senior catcher Mark Hagedorn's single and senior second baseman Ethan Essner's RBI single.
On came Hampton, and he was greeted by a two-RBI double from senior first baseman Wesley Glaus, making it 5-0.
"Colton pitched a whale of a game and we jumped on them early," Pewitt said.
Notre Dame made it 6-0 in the second inning, although Hampton stopped the bleeding somewhat as he was charged with just two runs on nine hits over the final 6 1/3 frames.
But the Trojans could muster little offense against Young. And any threats they did have were snuffed out by Notre Dame's suffocating defense.
Potosi's best chance to break through came in the bottom of the sixth as the Trojans had runners on first and second with two outs.
Matt Marler drilled a single to center field that looked like it would score Tanner Glore.
But Pewitt charged the ball, came up with it cleanly and fired an on-the-fly bullet to Hagedorn, who blocked the plate and applied the tag to nail Glore for the inning's third out.
"I was coming up throwing. I've never thrown it that hard in my life," a smiling Pewitt said.
Obermark did his best Ozzie Smith impersonation three times.
Obermark made an over-the-shoulder catch of a pop fly that looked like it might fall for a hit in the fifth inning.
Then he turned in two gems to help preserve the shutout in the seventh inning.
First Obermark scooped a ground ball behind second base and fired a dart to first. After a single, Obermark made a nifty backhand stop in the hole to start a 6-4-3 double play that ended the contest.
"Jimmy's footwork and quickness ... he's one of the best defensive shortstops I've coached," Graviett said.
St. Cin had two of Notre Dame's four doubles, including one that scored a run in the top of the seventh and made it 7-0. He finished with two RBIs.
Essner, Young and senior second baseman Ethan Essner all added two hits.
Now the Bulldogs turn their attention to Bishop DuBourg as they continue their quest for consecutive state titles.
"That's been our goal the whole season, but we're taking it one game at a time," Jeremy Essner said.
WP -- Colton Young, 8-0. LP -- Patrick Reeves, 5-3. 3B -- Jake Pewitt (ND. 2B -- Trenton St. Cin (ND) 2, Jeremy Essner (ND), Wesley Glaus (ND). Multiple hits -- Notre Dame: Pewitt 4-4, Young 2-4, St. Cin 2-4, Essner 2-4, Ethan Essner 2-4. Records -- Notre Dame 24-1, Potosi 20-3.