Notre Dame Prep Saints softball season closes on high note

The Notre Dame Prep softball team shakes hands with North Canyon after defeating the Rattlers. (Photo Courtesy of Arturo Spell)

Their previous victory over the Rattlers came at home just the day before, winning that contest 12-2 before making the trip to North Canyon. Despite that loss, Rattlers Head Coach Bobby Pacheco had his players feeling good and ready to play.

“I think it’s character,” Coach Pacheco replied when asked what makes his team stay strong said. “They come to play every game … and they stay focused. And, I’m extremely proud of that part.”

The Saints jumped on Rattlers’ junior pitcher Madison Rockwell early in the first with help from Saints junior catcher Kim Gilderoy.

She started a three-run first inning for the Saints with an RBI triple to right-center field, and she followed that up with another triple in the second inning.

That one drove in another two runs, and Gilderoy also caught a Rattlers runner trying to steal second in the bottom of the second. Gilderoy finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs and four runs scored.

The team also got help from senior pitcher Rachel Sipes in her last game as a Saint.

“It was just my last game out with my team and it was just us having a really good attitude,” Sipes said. “Just felt good to be out here with everyone one last time. And I think that’s kind of what made it work so well tonight.”

She pitched a complete game shutout to go along with a strikeout as well. Her only real trouble came in the last inning of the game when the Rattlers loaded the bases with nobody out and Sipes pitched out of the jam.

With Sipes setting the tone for the defense and Gilderoy helping pace the offense, the Saints coasted the rest of the way to cap off the season with a win.

As things came to a close, this game also seemed to serve as a microcosm of what could have been for the Saints this year.

“Closing out games, I think, is huge,” Saints Head Coach Caitlin Melnychenko said. “We had at least two or three games where, going into the sixth or seventh inning, we were winning by at least one or two and we fell just short.”

Coach Melnychenko said those two or three games not only could’ve gotten them into the playoffs, but those two or three teams actually made the playoffs themselves.

But she was also quick to point out that although it might be a slight rebuild next year as they’ll lose a couple of starting pitchers and a starting center fielder, but return six sophomores and some promising freshmen coming up.

Coach Melnychenko said that returning group will have the leadership of Gilderoy to rely on next season.

“This team has so much potential if they play an entire game,” Coach Melynychenko said. “If they, from start to finish, play their game, the potential is limitless.”

Editor’s Note: Arturo Spell is a student-journalist from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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