Nishiyama couldn’t relax even with the Tologs (6-9, 2-4 in league) holding a four-run lead with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Four consecutive Knights reached base, highlighted by a two-run single by Marisa Keckeisen that put the tying runner at second base. But Sacred Heart pitcher MacKenzie Lyng forced the next batter to fly out on the first pitch to end the game.
Lyng allowed 10 hits and walked five, but she also limited Notre Dame to just two hits in 13 opportunities with a runner in scoring position.
“Flirting with danger is natural for me,” she said. “I live on the edge. I had to bear down and focus and forget about the runners.”
She admitted to getting nervous in the seventh inning. Her nerves might have had to do with her pitch count, which totaled 131.
“I was just getting tired,” Lyng said. “I just wanted to get out of it and go home.”
Notre Dame Coach Dana Vasquez said her team’s inability to produce key hits in crucial situations was due to nerves.
“The kids lost mechanics on their swing,” she said. “They were hitting off their front foot, were too anxious and were trying too hard.”
Unlike the Knights (10-11, 4-3), the Tologs were efficient when they needed to be. With the score tied at 1 in the bottom of the sixth, Sacred Heart scored four runs on four hits.
Haley Mojica, who had two hits, Kelly Jacobs, Candice Toogood and Lyng each scored in the inning, with Jacobs and Toogood also notching run-scoring singles. Sumner Hanula scored Sacred Heart’s first run in the third inning, putting them ahead, 1-0.
“We put it all together,” Nishiyama said. “We got the big hits, we’ve had runners on all year, we just needed the hits.
“We needed this win, confidence-wise. Notre Dame is a good team, this is a big win for us.”