Ability to hit speed and spin allows Raiders to move on to regional championship game


Quincy Notre Dame catcher Payton Stupavsky throws the ball back to pitcher Caitlin Bunte during Tuesday's 8-0 victory over Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in the Class 2A Buffalo Tri-City Regional semifinals in Buffalo, Ill. | Addi Zanger photo

BUFFALO, Ill. — The late-season schedule Quincy Notre Dame softball coach Eric Orne puts together is done by design.

He wants the Raiders to see elite pitching so they’re prepared to face it in the postseason.

The strategy paid off Tuesday. Second-seeded QND knocked out Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, collecting nine hits with three doubles in an 8-0 victory in the semifinals of the Class 2A Buffalo Tri-City Regional.

““I think going up to the plate and being strong,” QND senior third baseman Brooke Boden said when asked what gave the Raiders the advantage. “Seeing (Pleasant Hill’s) pitcher and (Biggsville West Central’s) pitcher really gave us a little bit of an advantage today being able to see that spin and see that speed again. We’ve seen it before and we’re ready to go when we’re in the box.”

The Raiders displayed patience and persistence at the plate.

With one out in the second inning, Marah Becks and Morgan Winking drew back-to-back walks, and one out later, Caitlin Bunte doubled to right field to drive in both runners. Alyssa Ley followed with an RBI double for a 3-0 lead.

“I feel like what won this game was working together,” Becks said. “We were all able to put our hits together or walks together for runs and then get out there and back up Caitlin, who has been amazing.”

Bunte struck out 17 and allowed just two hits, facing just three hitters over the minimum.

She benefited from the Raiders scoring three times in the fifth inning as Becks and Winking had back-to-back singles and both scored on another Bunte double. In the sixth, Payton Stupavsky’s single led to a pair of runs.

“I feel like what I’ve been working for really paid off this game,” said Becks, who went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. “I was able to step into the box and get done what needed to get done. I didn’t try to do too much, I just did what needed to be done. Going into Saturday I feel we need to have that same mindset. We need to just do our part, move the lineup, and not get too far into our heads.”

The Raiders (18-4) will face either third-seeded Buffalo Tri-City or sixth-seeded Warrensburg-Latham at 11 a.m. Saturday in the regional championship.

“We’ve got three days to improve ourselves, which is important,” Orne said. “We want to get a good scout on probably Tri-City tomorrow. They’re probably going to be playing at home against us on Saturday, so I wanna have a good idea of what they do and the girls will stay back home and get a lot of good swings in.”

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