A pitching duel went the Hollister High softball team’s way, as they denied Notre Dame a chance to move back to .500 in the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division.
The Haybalers got a run in the sixth and a run in the seventh to defeat the Spirits 2-0 in a Tuesday afternoon game that featured just five hits total.
Notre Dame’s Elizabeth Ray and Hollister’s Megan Sabbatini were the stars on the diamond, allowing little to happen on the basepaths. It was Hollister that did just enough to get the win and improve to 10-0 in the division. Notre Dame slipped to 4-6.
Brittany Sparrer started off the sixth inning by fending off a couple of pitches. The right-handed batter then took a pitch the opposite way, as the ball split two defenders and headed out to right-centerfield. Sparrer ran all the way to third for a triple.
Up next was Adrianna Ibarra, who took a 1-0 pitch to shallow centerfield. The Notre Dame outfielders came in and made the catch knee high. The fly was deep enough to allow Sparrer to sprint home and give Hollister a 1-0 lead.
Hollister gained some insurance in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Callee Heen stepped up and watched a pitch go wide. She then destroyed a ball to right-centerfield, almost the same location as Sparrer’s triple. Heen raced all the way around and beat the throw home for a home run, boosting Hollister’s lead to 2-0.
The two runs were enough for Sabbatini, who struck out 10 and allowed just two Notre Dame batters to reach base.
“I just had to work hard and try to work my spots,” Sabbatini said. “The defense behind me had my back.”
Notre Dame’s biggest threat to score came in the third inning. With one out, Brittany Plascencia hit a line drive to right field.
Alyssa Nguyen immediately bunted Plascencia over to second base. That ended up being the rally, as Sabbatini induced a grounder to get out of the inning.
Sabbatini retired the final 13 batters she faced.
Ray tallied eight strikeouts for the Spirits. She was perfect through three innings. In the top of the fourth, Adrianna Ibarra hit a grounder that stayed just fair of the first-base line, and she ran all the way to second for a double.
Ray recovered, getting a strikeout and back-to-back popups to get out of the threat. Against Ray, only two batters got on base in the first five innings. Then came the sixth, when Hollister broke through.
Notre Dame head coach Tom Cardinale said he liked how his team battled against the Haybalers. The key is to get healthy for the rest of the season and a potential postseason run.
“We just need to get healthy,” Cardinale said. “Liz pitched well, and Sarah Muzik is coming back from an appendix. We have to get ready to finish.”
Notre Dame will try to bounce back Thursday at home against North Salinas.