Ursuline sophomore pitcher Danielle Stiene didn’t know that her mound opponent on Thursday, St. Ursula senior Katie Hulsman, had pitched a no-hitter one day earlier, but knowing wouldn’t have mattered.
“It’s the same every game,” Stiene said. “Our goal is to stay strong-minded. Everybody starts with a clean slate.”
That approach paid off for Stiene and her Lion teammates, who teamed up to collect 10 hits while she was limiting the Bulldogs to two in a 5-0 Girls Greater Cincinnati League Scarlet Division game at the Blue Ash Sports Center.
All but one member of Ursuline’s batting order collected at least one hit, with senior center fielder Tricia Moser and sophomore third baseman Mackenzie Robinson leading the way with two each. Stiene, the cleanup batter, chipped in with a double against Hulsman, who’d been overpowering enough to average 10 strikeouts per game in St. Ursula’s first 10 of the season.
“We were waiting on her outside pitches and for her to come to the middle of the plate,” Stiene said. “We worked on that in practice (Wednesday).
St. Ursula coach Chrissy Martini admired the Lions’ approach at the plate and overall effort, which on Thursday included airtight defense.
“In my mind, they’re the top team in the GGCL, especially based on that performance,” Martini said. “I’m impressed with Ursuline. They had the ability to go the other way. We had our opportunities – bases loaded in the fourth, first and second in the first.”
Ursuline coach Brian Eve wasn’t yet prepared to go as far as Martini. After all, his Lions – ranked seventh in the Enquirer’s Division I coaches poll – went into the game second in the division behind McAuley.
“That’s unprecedented,” he said, gesturing to the final score on the scoreboard behind him. “Most of our league’s games are 3-2 or 2-1 or 1-0. It’s about pitching and defense and trying to get some situational hitting here and there.
Ursuline (8-2, 3-1) got it in abundance, starting in the second inning, when Moser, Robinson and freshman Olivia Amiott-Seel strung together three two-out singles for a 1-0 lead.
Stiene scored on junior second baseman Emily Byrd’s triple for a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
That was all Stiene needed. She finished with 13 strikeouts, including six straight in the second and third innings, while allowing just two hits and three walks.
She also got help from Byrd, whose leaping catch of St. Ursula right fielder Hannah Raulston’s blooper ended a first inning threat. Junior first baseman Hannah Mehrle added a diving stab of sophomore Emma Anhofer’s bunt near the pitching circle in the fifth.
“Pretty much everything was working for me today, but it’s good to know that I have a good defense behind me,” said Stiene, who struck out 17 batters earlier this season. “They saved me. We have a good system. We’re rolling.”
The Lions have won four straight and seven of their last eight games.
“We played a very strong game today,” Eve said. “We have a young team. We have five freshmen and three sophomores, so eight of our 13 players are underclassmen. We just have to believe that we can play with anybody.”
Ursuline 5, St. Ursula 0
WP – Stiene, 4-0 (13 K). LP – Hulsman, 7-4. Hitting leaders: U – Moser 2-3, 2 R, SB; Robinson 2-3; Stiene 2B; Byrd 3B. Records: S 7-4, 2-3 Girls Greater Cincinnati League South Division; U 8-2, 3-1 GGCL-S.