Notre Dame, Jackson baseball face off for SEMO Conference Tournament championship
Another chapter in the SEMO Conference Tournament will be written when top-seeded Notre Dame baseball faces second-seeded Jackson at 7 p.m. Monday at Capaha Field.
The two squads shared the conference regular-season title as co-champions, finishing with identical 6-1 records in conference play. Tiebreakers were not used.
Notre Dame, however, got the top seed by virtue of their win over Jackson during the regular season.
Monday, prior results do not matter.
Both have taken different paths to the championship game. Second-seed Jackson has dominated, outscoring their opponents 25-0.
Saturday, the Indians (17-6) throttled Cape Girardeau Central 15-0 in four innings. Tanner Hecht had a dominant performance with a complete-game shutout and eight strikeouts. The Indians jumped on Central quick, scoring eight runs and finished them early due to the mercy rule.
"When we score, our team is able to breathe a bit better and it gives our pitcher some relief," Jackson coach Bryan Austin said.
Notre Dame had to fight and claw its way to the championship Saturday, coming from behind to beat No. 4 Kennett 6-5 in the semifinal. The Bulldogs did not lead until the bottom of the sixth inning when Brayden Eftink two-run homer gave them that 6-5 lead.
Tyler Landewee, Eftink and Cayden Dannenmueller each had two hits in the game. Landewee also got the save.
In Saturday's victory, Notre Dame left multiple runners on base. Coach Jeff Graviett said that the Bulldogs need to capitalize on those chances in the championship game.
Either way a new conference champion will be crowned Monday. After Poplar Bluff won last year, it will either be Jackson's or Notre Dame's turn to claim the title.
"It's great to play in the game," Graviett said. "I know it will be a nice crowd, and it's something the players can look forward to."