Notre Dame Express Keeps On Rolling, 6-2 : High school baseball: Knights clinch second place in Mission League with seventh straight win as Leveque throws five-hitter.


Notre Dame High baseball Coach Tom Dill was wearing a broad smile late Wednesday.

And for good reason. His Knights had just defeated Loyola, 6-2, to clinch second place in the Mission League and will be heading into the postseason with a head of steam.

“I feel very good about our chances in the playoffs,” Dill said again and again. “Now we’re playing .”

The implied contrast is with the Knights of a month ago. They lost two games to Crespi, two games which are still the difference between the first-place Celts (13-0 in league play) and second-place Notre Dame (19-4, 11-2).

“They just caught us at a bad time,” Dill said.

The keys to Notre Dame winning every league game since the Crespi series, and its last seven overall, are timely hitting and Chris Leveque.


Both were displayed against visiting Loyola (10-11, 8-5), which has clinched the third and final playoff berth.

Leveque (10-1), whose only loss is to Crespi, pitched a five-hitter. Both Loyola runs were unearned.

A senior left-hander, Leveque had allowed all the Loyola hits and did not have a strikeout midway through the fourth inning. But he struck out nine while silencing the Cubs’ bats the rest of the game.

“I was a little lackadaisical in the beginning,” Leveque said. “Then Coach came out and yelled at me.”

Coaching aside, another factor in Leveque’s late-inning success is probably the shadows that creep across home plate after about 5 p.m. at Notre Dame.

“Our guys complain about it,” Leveque said, “so I just reach back and throw the fastball. I only threw one curve in the last three innings.”


“He was awesome,” Dill said. “He was throwing the ball right by people.”

Notre Dame, ranked sixth in the Times’ area poll, also got the timely hitting it had lacked earlier in the year, putting the game away by scoring four runs in the fourth.

Ryan Stromsborg, who had two runs batted in, tied the score, 2-2, with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fourth. Glen Carson drove in a pair with a two-out double, then scored later on two errors.

The only trouble for Leveque the rest of the game was when Loyola reached on an error and a walk with none out in the sixth. Leveque got out of the jam with two strikeouts and a popup.

Dill has no explanation for why his team slumped against Crespi, or why it is playing so well now. He’s just happy it is.

“(The talent) has been there all along, but sometimes it takes a while to show what you can do,” Dill said. “A lot of guys would have laid down after those two losses, but we’ve got a lot of good ballplayers on this team.

“We’re very confident right now.”