Softball: Loyoloa pitcher Keifer quiets Niles West
Updated: May 25, 2012 3:57PM
Jamie Kiefer’s arm and Nina Puch’s bat were big reasons why Loyola lived to play another day Wednesday in the regional semifinals at Maine South.
The fourth-seeded Ramblers’ 7-0 win over 13th-seeded Niles West earned them a date with the host Hawks on Saturday in Park Ridge.
Kiefer struck out seven of the first eight batters and had a no-hitter through five innings, and Puch went 3-for-3 with three runs scored in the win.
“I love playing in the playoffs,” Puch said. “The regular season is just practice. This is the time to shine. I was psyched to play.”
The GCAC Red champion Ramblers (21-7) scored two in the first to give Kiefer all she needed. They added three more in the third to put the game away.
Kiefer struck out 12 in six innings and allowed two hits and two walks. Maddie Hahn pitched a scoreless seventh.
Katie McDonough broke up Kiefer’s no-hitter with a single to start the top of the sixth. Jessie Simkins had the Wolves’ other hit.
Rachel Lang collected two hits and drove in two runs for the winners.
This marks the first time Loyola and Maine South, the fifth seed at the Niles West Sectional, have played this spring. The Ramblers, who won the state title in 2009, are in search of their first regional title since 2010.
“I was happy to get a little lead right away,” Loyola coach Marty Jennings said. “In the playoffs, you just want to get some runs, no matter how they come, and take a lead.”