Mount Carmel’s mastery of Dominican is no more.
Having once dropped 15 straight regular-season games to its Catholic League archrival dating to 2012, Dominican recorded its second consecutive victory against the Cubs Tuesday afternoon with a 3-1 victory at Harahan Playground to assume outright possession of first place in District 9-5A.
Sophomore Elise Simon led the Dominican charge by pitching a complete game, four-hitter. Designated hitter Claire Sekinger and catcher Gracee Reeves delivering clutch RBI singles to erase a 1-0 deficit as Dominican won its third consecutive game and eighth in nine games.
Dominican (11-2, 2-0 in 9-5A) and Simon defeated Mount Carmel, 2-1, in last year’s Division I state semifinals to begin the current two-game run.
“It’s a huge win for us,’’ Simon said. “We’re looking to earn the No. 1 seed (in the playoffs). And we’re just working hard and we hope we can come out on top.’’
Simon (10-1) was masterful in striking out nine and walking three while retiring 12 of the final 14 batters she faced. The right-hander used just 80 pitches and threw 53 strikes while allowing only one hit over the final four innings. Mount Carmel’s lone run in the second was unearned.
“Elise is a little bitty thing, but she is mighty and powerful on the mound,’’ Dominican coach Dawn Benoit said. “She has a lot of heart, and she has a lot of determination. She goes after the hitter. That is her strength. That is her focus.’’
Mount Carmel (3-4, 1-1) had collected 12 hits that included a home run and two doubles in downing reigning Division I state champion John Curtis, 11-9, on Tuesday.
“The thing that was missing today was we weren’t connecting with the bats,’’ Mount Carmel coach Katie Bailey said. “It happens when you’re not aggressive. You’ve got to keep your head in the strike zone. So that’s what we’ll be working on. But I’m not worried. We’ll get there. I’d be worried if it was April.’’
The Cubs played error free in the field while pitchers Olivia Szewczyk and reliever Mia Pumila surrendered only four hits. But all three Dominican baserunners who scored the team’s single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings reached on walks.
Pinch runner Ella Bertucci scored Dominican’s first run to tie the score at 1 by stealing second, advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt and scoring on a groundout by left fielder Hope Couvillion. Third baseman Danielle McCartney drew the leadoff walk to start the rally.
Sekinger then knocked in McCartney with the go-ahead run on a one-out single in the fourth, and Reeves delivered a clutch two-out single to score center fielder Kylie Barre in the fifth.
“I’m really happy with how (the game) went,’’ Sekinger said. “We were really into this game. With the rivalry between Dominican and Mount Carmel being what it is, I’m just glad that everything went the way it did. I think both teams are really talented.’’
Dominican returns to Catholic League on Tuesday to host to Curtis (10-2, 1-1) at 4 p.m. at Harahan while Mount Carmel hosts Chapelle (3-8, 0-2) at 4 p.m. at the JPRD Softball Complex. Curtis defeated Chapelle 15-0 Thursday.
“We’re still building our team,’’ Benoit said referring to a lineup that features one senior, three juniors and the rest sophomores. “So we’re taking it one game at a time and building one day at a time.
“It’s hard to stay up there (in first place), if you know what I mean. I don’t like a lot of hype. I like to take things at a slow pace because it only counts where you are at the end.’’