Raiders’ resiliency put to test in regional title game, Kindhart’s sac fly helps knock off Saukees
QUINCY — Each time the Quincy Notre Dame baseball team seemed poised for a big inning Saturday, something went haywire.
Pittsfield right-hander Brennan Tomhave played a role in that.
The Raiders’ overaggressiveness did, too.
It finally took a simple approach in consecutive at-bats to generate enough offense to survive and advance. After the Raiders loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning of the Class 2A QND Regional championship, senior third baseman Brady Kindhart drove the ball deep enough into right field for a sacrifice fly that plated the winning run in a 2-1 victory at Ferd Niemann Jr. Memorial Ballfield.
“I had to get a job done,” Kindhart said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted obviously, but it got a runner in and got the job done.”
With it came the Raiders’ 29th consecutive victory and a spot in the Pleasant Plains Sectional, where they will get a rematch with Shelbyville at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Lincoln Land Community College’s Claude Kracik Field in Springfield.
QND beat Shelbyville 2-1 in last year’s sectional semifinals.
“We have to take it game by game, step by step, even inning by inning,” Kindhart said. “Making our at-bats count, knocking the ball around the ballpark, scoring runners, moving runners, making plays, all the little things. It’s the little things that matter in the end and get you where you want to be.”
Some of those little things were missing Saturday.
QND (32-1) wasted a leadoff single by Jake Schisler in the first inning and left two runners on base in the second. A walk to Schisler leading off the third was followed by singles from Tucker Tollerton and Dalton Miller to plate the game’s first run, and Kindhart was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs.
However, Jack Linenfelser lined into a double play and Miller was thrown out trying to steal third to end the inning.
“Everything gets magnified in the playoffs,” QND coach Rich Polak said. “The little things that happen when you’re winning games like we did at times this season get glossed over. In a situation like this, when they have a good arm on the mound, all those things get magnified.
“For a lot of teams, it takes them down the gutter. For our guys, they’re resilient. They’re going to be better for this.”
Pittsfield (26-5) tied the game in the fourth as Clayton Reinhardft doubled with two outs to score Justin Pennock. Tomhave, the junior right-hander, hit the leadoff batter in the bottom of the fourth, but retired the next three batters.
He also avoided significant damage in the fifth by getting a groundout and a flyout following Kindhart’s sacrifice fly.
“It definitely catches up to you when you do leave somebody on,” Kindhart said. “That’s baseball. It catches up to you and does things you don’t always want it to do. But we just have to stay composed and flush it out.”
Schisler made that possible. He limited the Saukees to five hits, walked two and struck out 13 in his first seven-inning complete game of the season.
“We had a good mindset going into the last few innings,” Kindhart said. “We couldn’t get it figured out at the plate, but we knew Schis was going to keep doing what he was doing all game and we were going to back him up in the field. We knew we had that part under control.”
Some of the issues offensively stemmed from a lack of energy. Tomhave limited the Raiders to three singles in the first three innings, and he struck out four overall.
“Obviously, at the start when we weren’t hitting, the atmosphere felt off,” Schisler said. “Pretty much the entire game it felt off. I don’t think we came in as mentally prepared as we should have, and that obviously showed.”
It made things interesting.
“A little too interesting for us,” Kindhart said.
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