Male High School began its quest for a fourth straight Seventh Region Tournament softball title by beating visiting Presentation 6-0 in Monday’s quarterfinals behind the strong pitching of Oliva Suski.
Suski, a right-handed junior, blanked the Toppers on three hits and bunted home Male’s first run in a three-run first inning. She also got timely hitting from Baleigh Masterson and Alyssa Case.
Masterson, who had three singles, drove in two runs in the first inning. Case cleared the center-field fence with a two-run home run for a 5-0 lead in the third.
The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (27-8) advance to play No. 6 Ballard in a semifinal contest at 7:30 p.m. Wenesday at the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium. Male beat Ballard 3-0 on May 14 in a tournament in Bowling Green, Ky.
Suski gave up a single to Pres’ first batter in the game, losing pitcher Taylor Lee, but Lee was erased when she was tagged out at second base on a delayed steal.
Suski then retired the next 16 Pres hitters until Stephanie Fries bunted safely with one out in the sixth. Abby Shipley singled with one out in the seventh for Pres’ other hit.
Suski struck out eight and didn’t issue a walk in seven innings. She retired three hitters on four pitches in the fourth, each batter bouncing back to the pitcher.
“I was trying to keep them off balance and make them hit groundballs or strike out,” Suski said. “I was spinning the ball and throwing hard.”
Male coach Josh Bloomer liked what he saw of Suski.
“She’s been throwing well the last four weeks,” Bloomer said. “We’ve been challenging her to become a pitcher and not a thrower. She’s really good. We started well today. We wanted to score early and put some pressure on them.”
Case, a sophomore, hit her fifth homer of the season with Masterson on base.
“The pitch was right down the middle,” Case said. “I thought it was gone, but she (Pres center fielder Lili Cortese) was running hard (toward the fence).”
Cortese robbed Male’s Danielle Walls of an extra-base hit with a running catch with two on base to end the second inning. Pres finished the season 21-15.
Pres coach Marty Kuerzi said about Suski, “She stayed up in the strike zone, and we went chasing. Male’s a good team.”
* Assumption 2, Manual 1: Sabrina Fussenegger tossed a three-hitter and struck out three as the visiting Rockets (15-17) beat the No. 25 Crimsons (21-9).
Skyler Downs’ two-run double gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Kristen Smith had an RBI double for Manual in the sixth.
* Eastern 9, Atherton 3: Peyton Mills and Meagan McVicker both homered to lead the Eagles (20-17) over the host Rebels (16-13). McVicker finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs.
* Ballard 11, Sacred Heart 0: The No. 6 Bruins got big games from Alexis Smith (3 for 4, 3 RBIs, 3 runs), Allie Skaggs (2 for 4, 2 runs) and Catie Barber (2 for 4, 4 RBIs, 2 runs) to defeat the visiting Valkyries (9-19).
PRESENTATION 000 000 0 – 0 3 1
MALE 302 100 x – 6 10 0
WP—Olivia Suski (17-5). LP—Taylor Lee (14-10). HR – Case (M).
ASSUMPTION 200 000 0 – 2 3 4
MANUAL 000 001 0 – 1 3 4
WP – Sabrina Fussenegger. LP – Madison Williams. 2B – Smith (M), Downs (A), Ridge (A).
EASTERN 104 000 4 – 9 13 1
ATHERTON 003 000 0 – 3 5 2
WP – Ellie Boteler (6-9). LP – Caitlyn Taylor (8-6). HR – Mills (E), McVicker (E). 2B – Leet (E), Pfeiffer (A).
SACRED HEART 000 000 – 0 2 1
BALLARD 200 234 – 11 15 1
WP – Sarah Brill. LP – Emma Burnett. HR – Skaggs (B). 3B – Barber (B). 2B – Smith 2 (B), Dunlap (B), Skaggs (B).