Kelly softball quells Notre Dame comeback

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Kelly’s Alexis Dock scores the Hawks’ second run in front of Notre Dame catcher Liz Kight during the third inning Monday at Notre Dame. (Laura Simon)

The Notre Dame Bulldogs finally managed to get to Kelly in the bottom half of the sixth inning Monday in girls softball.

It didn't seem to faze the visiting Hawks (16-4) at all.

Kelly responded after the Bulldogs (15-6) made it a one-run game in the sixth by adding an insurance run in the seventh and outlasting the host 5-3.

"We started putting the bat on it and having an opportunity for them to get that big hit when we needed it," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "We had one trickle by them and pick up a few runs and cut it to a one-run lead. It's just a little disappointing to come out and give them that fifth run in the seventh."

The Bulldogs had managed just two hits going in the sixth and trailed 4-0.

Notre Dame’s Nikki Peters delivers a pitch to a Kelly batter during the third inning Monday at Notre Dame.

Tiffany Wood led off with a single and advanced to second on an error. Brandi Glastetter then lined a one-out single to put runners at first and third, and Kayce Landewee drew a walk to load the bases.

Jessica Westrich finally got the big hit Notre Dame was looking for. The junior lined a single into right field that trickled past the outfielder to plate two runs. The Hawks committed another error on the following batter to allow Notre Dame to close the gap to 4-3.

Kelly responded in the top of the seventh.

Bulldog starter Nikki Peters retired the first two batters to start the inning, but a two-out walk came back to haunt.

Stephanie Worth drew the walk and later scored when Jessica Worth belted a single up the middle that got by a diving Bulldogs center fielder.

"A two-out walk and an outfielder trying to make a play," Graviett said. "She was coming in hard and trying to make a play and the ball scoots by her. That's a big run. I was over there trying to figure out how we're going to scratch one across and go to extra innings, but when they got up two there with the way she was throwing the ball made it pretty tough on us."

Kelly starter Alexis Dock was relieved.

"They saved me again," Dock said. "I absolutely love all of these girls on this team. They've saved me throughout the year."

The freshman ace did her part as well.

She limited Notre Dame to two hits over the first five innings. She retired the Bulldogs in order four of the seven innings.

Dock said her rise ball and inside pitches were working for her against the Bulldogs.

"This is probably the best game I've seen her throw," Kelly coach Rhonda Ratledge said. "She was hitting her spots. I know that sixth inning kind of made her a little nervous, but she had outstanding fielding behind her, and I think that helped keep the momentum going for sure. She was having fun out there on the mound and throwing."

Dock painted the inside corner throughout the game.

The Hawks opened the scoring in the third inning. Samantha Ratledge doubled off the wall with one out, and Dock lined a two-out single to right to for a 1-0 lead. Jessica Worth later plated Dock with a single up the middle.

"It's very nice to have a whole lineup that can blast the ball," sophomore Samantha Ratledge said. "We know we'll never be let down."

Kelly made it 3-0 in the fifth when Dock blasted an RBI double to plate Samantha Ratledge.

"That was the difference early on in the game -- they got big hits and we didn't," Graviett said. "I thought the Dock girl did a tremendous job. She was making big pitches when she had to."

Kelly upped the lead to 4-0 on an RBI single by No. 9 hitter McKynlee Neumeyer.

"To have a good nine batters in my lineup, in anybody's lineup, is unreal," Rhonda Ratledge said. "You usually struggle with one or two spots, and now the girls just hit it, and they hit it hard. Offensively, they're doing their job, and we'll just pray they don't get in a slump."

Notre Dame0000030--350

WP -- Alexis Dock. LP -- Nikki Peters. 2B -- Samantha Ratledge (K), Dock (K), Jessica Worth (K). Multiple Hits: Kelly – Ratledge 3-4, Dock 2-4, Worth 2-4, Kristy Brucker 2-3. Records: Kelly; 16-4. Notre Dame; 15-6.

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