(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Just when it looked like Sikeston might pull off an upset over visiting Notre Dame on Monday, 10 unanswered runs in the final three innings resulted in a 12-5 loss.
"We looked great as a team for the first four innings and then it seems like we can't pull together," Sikeston head coach Tiffany Morgan said. "It's just the mental toughness of when you make a mistake or the other team starts scoring some runs, you have to get over that and battle back."
Through the first four innings, Sikeston's bats took advantage of a shaky start by Notre Dame.
They collected eight hits and three walks to pull ahead 5-2 heading in to the top of the fifth frame.
After collecting only three hits up to that point, Notre Dame got a helping hand in two walks from Sikeston to lead off the fifth. Brandi Glastetter made Sikeston pay for both free passes with a bases clearing double to centerfield that kick started a five-run rally.
A hard hit grounder that rolled into left field from Shelby Schaefer scored the tying and go ahead runs before a single from Conner Elfrink capped the rally and put Notre Dame up 7-5.
"We just started putting the bat on the ball," Notre Dame head coach Jeff Graviett said. "They got us out on our front foot hitting a lot of lazy fly balls early. Once we made the adjustments and a got a few breaks with a couple of walks we took advantage of a big inning."
With relief pitcher Nikki Peters holding Sikeston scoreless in the final three innings, Notre Dame continued to tack on to their newfound lead.
Another four runs in the sixth gave Notre Dame an imposing 11-5 lead and one final run in the seventh off a Madeline Urhahn single made up the final.
Before Notre Dame's big fifth inning Sikeston looked to have the game well in check. Notre had taken their first lead of the game in the top of the first, but a two-run rally in the bottom of the frame put Sikeston on top for the next 3 1/2 innings.
After a pair of quick outs started the home half of the first, Sydney King got things going with a double. A double by Sarah Dixon scored Dixon from second before an Annie Ramey single put her team up 2-1.
Sikeston took their biggest lead of the afternoon in the fifth as both Ramey and Kayla Fodge drew bases loaded walks to move ahead 4-1.
Unfortunately for Sikeston, after having the bases loaded with no outs, those were the only two runs they were able to squeeze out of the innings.
It was after each team tacked a run on in the fourth that Notre Dame took over.
"It's kind of like a domino effect," Morgan said of team's late inning struggles. "We allowed a couple of walks and made a couple errors. Our defense gets down and then our offense gets down.
"It seems like when everything is clicking, it's clicking and when its not they just can't battle back. We have to have some of those seniors step up and be leaders and take charge."
With 10 hits on the contest Sikeston was led by a 3 for 4 effort from King. She collected two doubles and scored a pair of runs while driving in another. Bayleah James, Dixon and Hanna Placek had two hits each with both James and Dixon contributing a double. For Notre Dame, who had 11 hits, Schaefer was 2 for 4 with a double and three runs driven in and Glastetter was 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored.
In taking over for starter Alexis Burnette in the fourth, Peters earned the win. Peters went a full five innings allowing one run on four hits while striking out three.
"Those two have ben flip flopping in and out all year," Graviett said of Burnette and Peters. "That's the beauty of having two of them, if one is kind of struggling on her game you can bring the other on in.
"It worked out well for us today. That's just the luxury of having two girls who are capable of throwing."
With the loss Sikeston falls to 3-5 on the season while Notre Dame improves to 7-2. Sikeston will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to East Prairie to play the Lady Eagles at 4 p.m.
Notre Dame 100 154 1 - 12
Sikeston 202 100 0 - 5
WP -- Nikki Peters. LP -- Madison Smith. Multiple hitters: (N) Brandi Glastetter 2-3, Shelby Schaefer 2-4, Conner Elfrink 2-4; (S) Bayleah James 2-4, Sydney King 3-4, Sarah Dixon 2-4, Hanna Placek 2-4. 2B -- (N) Glastetter, Schaefer, Carson Freeman; (S) James, King 2, Dixon. 3B -- (N) Tiffany Woods.