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Notre Dame softball team's district streak ends at eight titles
Park Hills defeats Notre Dame 2-1 in Class 3 District 1 championship game
POTOSI, Mo. -- The Park Hills Central High School softball team ended an impressive streak while hoping it started one of its own.
Notre Dame's run of eight consecutive district championships came to a halt Thursday night when top-seeded Park Hills slipped past the second-seeded Bulldogs 2-1 in the Class 3 District 1 final at the Trojan Recreation Complex.
"We're really excited," Park Hills coach Matt Bradley said.
As well the Rebels (18-5) should be. It's their first district title in softball since Park Hills started the program in 1998.
"I can't say enough about the girls," said Bradley, whose squad lost to the Bulldogs 3-0 in last year's district final. "Notre Dame has a great ballclub. We were fortunate to win."
There wasn't much separating the squads in a tense matchup that left little margin for error.
"I really thought we were going to come out on top," said first baseman Brandi Glastetter, Notre Dame's lone returning starter from last season and one of only two senior starters for the Bulldogs. "But things happen."
Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett had few complaints after the well-played contest, other than the Bulldogs (17-7) not being able to cash in on some early chances. They left the bases loaded in the first inning.
"We had our opportunities early, but we didn't get any runs," Graviett said. "They made the plays when they had to. They were solid."
The Bulldogs did strike first, scoring their only run in the top of the third inning. Glastetter belted a one-out triple to right-center field and came home on an infield single by junior left fielder Kayce Landewee.
That was it for the Bulldogs against Park Hills junior pitcher Morgin Reece, who was not overpowering but effective.
"Nothing too intense, she just had us chasing," Glastetter said.
Reece retired the final 14 batters as Notre Dame went down in order over the last four innings. She fired a four-hitter, striking out three and walking one.
"She did a good job. She stayed away from us, and we couldn't make adjustments. That's been our downfall all year," Graviett said.
Park Hills tied things in the bottom of the fourth inning. Standout junior shortstop Georgia Richardson led off with a smash that went for an infield single and scored on a double by freshman catcher Olivia Casey.
The Rebels went ahead for good in the fifth inning, doing their damage after the first two batters were retired.
Sophomore third baseman Hannah Stam walked and freshman right fielder Allyson Welch reached on Notre Dame's only error of the game.
Notre Dame junior shortstop Tiffany Wood momentarily saved a run when she made a diving stop of Richardson's ground ball in the hole that went for an infield single to load the bases. Casey walked to force in the tie-breaking run.
That was enough for Reece, who finished off the Bulldogs with ease.
"She did a great job," Bradley said.
Notre Dame sophomore pitcher Nikki Peters, who earlier in the day shut out North County 2-0 in the semifinals, also was impressive.
"Nikki pitched her butt off," Graviett said.
Peters allowed five hits and one earned run. She struck out seven and walked three.
"Both pitchers were very good. We just couldn't move runners when we had them on," Notre Dame senior center fielder Veronica Moore said. "Nikki pitched two really good games."
Peters fired a six-hitter against third-seeded North County, striking out four and walking two.
Notre Dame also managed just six hits in that game, two by Moore. Landewee and junior third baseman Jessica Westrich drove in the runs with RBI ground outs, in the first and third innings, respectively.
Park Hills had a much easier time in its semifinal, routing fourth-seeded Perryville 11-1 in six innings.
Despite falling just short of another district title, the Bulldogs had no regrets.
"I'm really proud of the team. We really came together as a team, more than I thought we would," Glastetter said. "We had some good chemistry, which got us to this championship [game]."
Said Graviett: "Losing eight starters, to win 17 games. ... for them to do what they did, I'm proud of them."
|Notre Dame||001||000||0||-- 1||4||1|
|Park Hills||000||110||x||--||2 5 1|
WP -- Morgin Reece. LP -- Nikki Peters. 3B -- Brandi Glastetter (ND). 2B -- Olivia Casey (PH). Multiple hits -- Park Hills: Georgia Richardson 2-3. Records -- Notre Dame 17-7, Park Hills 18-5.
WP -- Nikki Peters. LP -- Jessica Newberry. 2B -- Emily Robinson (NC). Multiple hits -- North County: Robinson 2-4, Alisha Caro 2-2. Notre Dame: Veronica Moore 2-3. Records -- North County 11-11, Notre Dame 17-6.