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Finlan pitches, hits Bay Port to victory over Notre Dame

By Rich Palzewic

Contributing Writer

Bay Port third baseman Morgan VandenBranden throws to first in the Pirates’ 11-4, Fox River Classic Conference victory May 11 against Notre Dame. Rich Palzewic photo 

GREEN BAY – Bay Port High School junior Estelle Finlan pitched and hit her team to an 11-4, Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) victory in game one of a doubleheader on May 11 against Notre Dame Academy at Colburn Park.

The Tritons came back to win game two, 11-10. 

Finlan collected three hits at the plate, gave up four runs on six hits and struck out five on the mound. 

“We knew this was an important conference game,” Finlan said. “I had the mindset I had to come in and attack and focus on what I do best to make an impact.”

This was Finlan’s first game as leadoff hitter for the Pirates (9-12 overall, 9-8 FRCC). 

“I’ve moved up and down the lineup a bit,” she said. “I’d say I’m a good singles hitter – we have a young team, so we’re trying to figure things out.” 

Bay Port Coach Chris Nelson said “Finlan was outstanding.”

“She struggled a bit early in the season, but during the last two weeks, she’s turned it on and is our hottest hitter,” he said. “She excelled as our leadoff hitter.” 

The Pirates jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, using two hits and two Notre Dame (9-15, 7-10) errors. 

Finlan led off with a double to begin the game. 

Finlan, Payton Dudra, Morgan VandenBranden and Sydney Rau all scored in the inning. 

Rau had the other hit in the inning. 

The Tritons scored two of their own in the bottom of the first. 

 Notre Dame Academy second baseman Ava Massey looks to throw to first after receiving an outfield throw. Rich Palzewic photo 

Klarissa Peters led off with a walk and eventually scored on an RBI single from Addyson Simpson. 

Simpson later scored on an error. 

Notre Dame scored single runs in the second and third to tie the game, 4-4. 

Peters had an RBI sacrifice fly to score Ava Massey in the second before Simpson led off the third with a triple and scored on a Madeline Hits RBI single. 

Things stayed tied until the fifth when Bay Port scored six runs to put the game out of reach. 

Finlan, Ava Plumley, Dudra, Willa Stocki, Kaylee Murphy and Aubry Parker had hits in the inning, where the Pirates sent 10 batters to the plate. 

Plumley and Dudra had RBI bunt singles, Sydney Rau had an RBI sacrifice fly and Stocki knocked in a run with a single, as did Parker. 

Murphy also had a two-RBI triple in the inning. 

Bay Port added a final run in the seventh when Rau led off with a double and was plated by a Parker RBI single later in the inning. 

Nelson said, “It’s been a tough season with the conference we play in.” 

“People are well aware of the top-notch pitchers we have in the FRCC,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of runners on base to play small ball, but this is how good we can be if we can play small ball.” 

The Pirates attempted at least a half dozen squeeze plays with runners on third. 

“We teach the girls to bunt to second base,” Nelson said. “In those situations, the second baseman is vacating (her position) to cover first. If the pitcher can’t get to the ball, that ball keeps rolling.”

Finlan

Notre Dame Coach Scott Hermes said his team didn’t field the bunt well. 

“It was a competitive game, but we had two bad innings,” he said. “We played clean besides (the first and fifth innings). Bay Port executed its bunts, and we didn’t field it well.”

Hermes said his Tritons are one of the best-hitting teams in the FRCC.

“Finlan is a great pitcher, but we put the ball in play,” he said. “The (Green Bay) Preble coach (Ron Metzler) and Ashwaubenon coach (Shannon VanLaanen) both said we are a great hitting team. Our lack of defense and errors have hurt us this season.” 

Simpson had two hits for Notre Dame, while Kaia Waldrop belted a triple, but eventually was caught in a pickle between third and home on the play and was tagged out. 

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