(Cover photo credit: Sam Draut)
Male head coach Josh Bloomer believes three runs is enough to give the sixth-ranked Bulldogs a “good shot to win.”
On Monday’s opening round of the 7th Region tournament against Presentation (21-15), Male scored three runs in the first inning, which was more than enough support because of a dominant pitching performance by Olivia Suski.
The junior threw a complete game three-hit shutout as Male (27-8) defeated Presentation 6-0 to advance to the second round of the Region 7 tournament.
After Presentation’s Taylor Lee led recorded a leadoff single, Suski retired 15 straight hitters before an infield single stopped the streak with one out in the top of the sixth inning. She had eight strikeouts and did not surrender a base on balls.
“All of my pitches were working today and I was trying to keep them off balance,” Suski said.
Suski bunted in leadoff hitter Taylor Childress for Male’s first run in the bottom half of the first inning. Bayleigh Masterson followed with a two-run single to give Male a 3-0 lead. With a three-run lead, Suski began to work into a rhythm.
“It is a load off my shoulders,” Suski said. “I know my team has my back, and then when they score, I feel like I can go out and pitch my game. I don’t have to feel pressure.”
In the top of the second inning, Suski fielded three consecutive ground balls to make quick work of Presentation’s lineup.
“I like it whenever I don’t have to throw as many pitches,. It is kind of convenient when they are hit to me,” added Suski.
“She was really good today,” Bloomer said on his pitcher. “She has been throwing really well for about the last four weeks. She has always had a lot of talent. I really challenged her and was tough on pitching instead of throwing and where she is trying to put all the pitches. She has always had the ability to throw pitches and now she is actually pitching with them.”
Male extended its lead in the third inning when first baseman Alyssa Case hit a two-run home run over the centerfield fence. It is Case’s fifth home run of the year and her second consecutive game with a home run after she hit a round tripper against Assumption in the 26th District final last week.
“Case has been swinging the bat well,” said Bloomer. “She has worked hard the past few weeks to get herself in a groove.”
Working her pitches “up and down and in and out”, Suski was able to finish off Presentation in the final innings.
“She stayed up in the strike zone,” Presentation head coach Marty Kuerzi said on Suski. “We went chasing. She pitched a good game.”
The season ends for Presentation, but not before the program tallied its second consecutive 20-win season.
“We have some young talent coming back next year,” Kuerzi said.
Male will face Ballard on June 1 at the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium.
“We are figuring things out,” added Bloomer. “We talk about this time of year playing our best softball. We have gotten to a point where we have had some ups and some downs. We have played a difficult schedule, but we feel we have things figured out.”