For the third time in a row, the Cape Notre Dame softball team will be heading to Springfield for the Class 3 Final Four.
The Bulldogs were able to accomplish this feat by defeating St. Francis Borgia 15-9 on Oct. 14 on the road in the quarterfinals.
Freshman pitcher Hailey Kutz was on the rubber for Notre Dame all seven innings while allowing a season-high 12 hits and nine runs.
Kutz did manage to strike out eight batters, two in the final inning, to earn the win.
Notre Dame took a 5-0 lead after three innings played against St. Francis Borgia, but the Knights answered in the bottom of the third with four runs of their own.
Both teams went scoreless in the fourth, but during the top of the fifth is when Notre Dame had an offensive surge that propelled the Bulldogs to a nine-run lead.
The first six batters at the plate for Notre Dame reached base for three runs, but it was senior outfielder Grace Friga who drove in the next four off a grand-slam home run for a 12-4 lead.
The bottom of the sixth inning is when St. Francis Borgia cut the Bulldogs lead to four with back-to-back home runs for a combined four runs.
Notre Dame answered the Knights’ five runs in the top of the seventh with the team’s final two, which were scored due to the Bulldogs speed.
Sophomore second base-man Macy Landeros got in scoring position with a steal to third for the 14th run and senior outfielder Abba Estes stole home plate for the team’s 15th and final score.
Notre Dame will play Incarnate Word Academy (21-6) in the semifinal round Friday morning to see which team advances to this year’s state title game.
The winner will either face Monett (20-10) or Smithville (23-7) Saturday at noon to see who will be crowned the Class 3 State Champion.
Cape fell to Sullivan in last year’s semifinal round and then defeated Smithville 4-1 in the third-place game. Notre Dame reached the state title game in 2015, losing to Warrenton 12-2.