Bulldogs back on top with 3rd title in 4 years

Friday, May 17, 2002

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The Class 2A, District 2 championship trophy is back in the hands of the Notre Dame Bulldogs for the third time in four years.

The top-seeded Bulldogs (16-5) and their relentless offensive attack blitzed No. 3 Kelly 10-0 Thursday at Harmon Field to reclaim the title Chaffee won last season.

"That's a state championship-caliber team," Kelly coach John Gandt said of the state's fifth-ranked 2A team. "They're on a roll. There was just no stopping them."

The offense produced 12 hits, including seven for extra bases -- two home runs, two triples and three doubles.

"Our bats have really come alive in the last week and a half," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said.

After a scoreless first inning, Notre Dame scored in the second when leadoff hitter Dustin Klipfel stroked a bases-loaded double to put the Bulldogs up 3-0.

An RBI double by eighth-place hitter Jeff Brosey followed by an RBI triple from Dustin Tatum plated two more in the third inning.

"We're swinging the bats up and down the lineup," said Scott Wittenborn, one of a trio of Bulldog senior leaders. "I feel just as confident with our No. 8 hitter up as I do with any other part of the lineup."

Seniors Shane Kistner and Timmy Wencewicz, the No. 2 and 3 hitters in Notre Dame's potent lineup, continue to sizzle.

Kistner went 2-for-2 to raise his team-leading average to .484, with the power-hitting Wencewicz close behind at .468.

In the Notre Dame fourth, after Kistner led off with a walk, Wencewicz blasted a long home run to right centerfield, his second in two days and seventh of the season.

"I know if I get a big hit everybody gets excited and everybody wants to hit," Wencewicz said. "I love getting intense and hitting the ball and it makes everybody feel good."

The next batter, catcher Kyle Diveley, followed with a solo home run to left centerfield. Then Matt Wulfers walked ahead of Wittenborn's triple to send the Bulldogs up 9-0.

Wittenborn trotted home on Brosey's sacrifice fly to close out the scoring.

On the other side of the ball, sophomore Blake Urhahn (4-3) was nearly untouchable. Urhahn shut down Kelly (10-11) on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

"Blake just dominated today," Graviett said. "He has a nice live fastball and he stayed in control the whole game."

Diveley, Wittenborn and Brosey all added two hits for Notre Dame. Losing pitcher Chase Deason had two hits for Kelly.

Notre Dame, which will host a sectional game next Wednesday against the District 1 winner, is feeling good about its chances as the playoffs unfold.

"If we keep playing like this, nobody can stop us," said Kistner. "We can go all the way."

Even the ever-cautious Graviett appears to like what's going on with his Bulldogs.

"Our pitching staff is deeper than any I've had before, and if our defense holds up," he said, "and that's going to be the big key, I think the bats and pitching will be there. If we continue to do that, we have a good chance to keep advancing at each level (of the playoffs)."

llewis@semissourian.com

(573) 335-6611 ext. 171

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