Notre Dame High weathered a four-run sixth-inning blitz by Taft on Thursday to escape with a 5-4 win at Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Westside tournament.
Notre Dame will play Alemany for the championship of the Blue Division at 2 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame.
Taft is 3-1 in the tournament.
“We played good today,” Notre Dame Coach Bob Mandeville said. “Those early innings of jumping on their pitcher proved to be the difference.”
Notre Dame took the lead in the second inning on Vinnie Orlando’s two-run double off pitcher Chris Brown (1-1). The hit scored Kevin Miller and Chris Prince, both of whom had singled.
The Knights scored two more runs in the third inning on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Kevin Milligan and Brown’s errant throw to first on a pickoff attempt.
Notre Dame scored what proved to be the winning run in the fifth when Bobby Hughes singled to drive in Chad Ratliff, who had singled and moved to third on a hit by Chris Lohman.
Notre Dame’s Steve Colella (2-0) breezed through five innings, allowing three hits and recording four strikeouts.
But he struggled in the sixth. With one out, Colella walked Glen Nahmias. He got Doug Kougher to fly out before issuing two more walks to load the bases.
Colella was relieved by Cary Wichmann, who promptly walked Rich Shapiro to give Taft its first run.
Wichmann, normally a starter, surrendered a bases-clearing double to Geoff Ruch that pulled the Toreadors to within a run, 5-4.
Wichmann, however, got Jason Shapiro to ground out to end the inning.