Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Softball Finishes Second at Choo Choo Classic

March 3, 1999

IRISH GO 3-1 AT THE CHOO CHOO CLASSIC: For the second straight weekend, the Notre Dame softball team won all but one of their tournament games. The Irish survived two extra inning affairs against Liberty, 3-2 (10) and Maryland, 6-0 (8), and split their games against UT-Martin (W, 8-0) and tourney host Chattanooga (L, 3-4) to finish in second place.

In the game against UT-Martin, the Irish got a combined no-hitter from Angela Bessolo (Lakewood, Calif.) and Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.). On the offensive side, the team scored three runs in the first, two in the third, one in the fourth and two in the sixth to win 8-0.

In the loss to Chattanooga, the Lady Mocs used a four-run third inning to defeat the Irish 4-3. Notre Dame did threaten in the top of the ninth inning by scoring two runs, however, Lady Mocs relief pitcher Corianne Rogalsky got freshman Jenny Kriech (Indianapolis, Ind.) to ground out to shortstop with the bases loaded to end the Irish threat.

The Notre Dame versus Liberty game was slated for an 11 a.m. start Saturday morning, but rain pushed the start of the game all the way back to 7:25 p.m. The two teams managed to get in two and a half innings before rain once again postponed the game until the next morning with the Liberty ahead 1-0.

The Irish came back the next morning to even the score at 1-1 on a RBI-single by Amy Laboe (Monroe, Mich.) in the bottom of third. The Flames would jump back into the lead with an unearned run off Notre Dames Angela Bessolo in the fourth inning. They maintained the 2-1 edge until the bottom of the seventh when Notre Dames Rebecca Eimen (Mannford, Okla.) singled and came around to score on an error to send the game into extra innings.

After a scoreless eighth, the international tiebreaker rule went into effect. The Flames had a runner on third with one out in the top of the ninth and tenth, but were unable to convert. The Irish also were unable to push the winning run across the plate in the ninth, but finally got the game-winner on another RBI single by Laboe to score Dani Klayman (San Diego, Calif.) from third and win the three-hour marathon 3-2.

Notre Dame got another extra-inning victory against Maryland later Sunday afternoon. With the score knotted at 0-0, the Irish pushed across six runs with two outs in the top of the eighth, capped by Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) first collegiate grand slam to defeat the Terrapins, 6-0.

LABOE, BESSOLO, LEMIRE MAKE ALL-TOURNEY SQUAD: Three Notre Dame players, Angela Bessolo, Amy Laboe and Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, Calif.), were amongst the 13 all-tournament selections at the Choo Choo Classic.

A senior pitcher Bessolo garnered her second tournament award of the season after picking up the Most Valuable Pitcher Award at the season-opening Gladstones Tournament in South Florida. Bessolo finished this weeks tournament play with a 2-0 record (including a no-hitter), allowed no earned runs and had 11 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched.

Laboe earned the first all-tournament award of her career. The first baseman had the game-winning RBI against Liberty to drive in Dani Klayman in the bottom of the 10th inning. She also went 6-for-13 overall (.462), scored two runs and had four RBI in the four games.

Lemire started the tournament against UT-Martin with a perfect, 4-for-4 effort at the plate including two doubles, two runs scored and one RBI. Overall, she was 6-for-14 with a .429 average, three runs scored, three RBI and two doubles.

ALKIRE, BESSOLO COMBINE FOR NO-HITTER: For the first time since 1996, the Irish pitching staff recorded a no-hitter in the teams 8-0 victory over UT-Martin in the first game of the Choo Choo Classic. Senior Angela Bessolo pitched three hitless innings for the win, while sophomore Melanie Alkire pitched the next three innings for the save. The no-hitter was the 23rd in Notre Dame softball history and first since Joy Battersby no-hit St. Johns, April 21, 1996. This was Bessolos second career no-hitter after she held Valparaiso to no hits in five innings of work on April 18, 1996, while it was the first for Alkire. Out of the 23 no-hitters, only three have been combined efforts.

NOTRE DAME MAKES APPEARANCE IN THE POLL: Grabbing 24 votes overall, the Irish received the 34th-most votes in the first regular season USA Today/NFCA poll released Wednesday. Also among the vote getters are 1999 Notre Dame opponents #2 Arizona, #6 DePaul, #11 South Florida, #12 LSU, #17 Illinois-Chicago and #20 California. Joining the Irish in the others category are Kansas, Tennessee and Texas Tech.

THE BEST SINCE 1995: At 7-2 overall, the Irish are off to their best start through nine games since the 1995 season when the team went onto the NCAA Regionals and a 40-19 overall record.

IRISH IN FOR TOUGH WEEKEND UNDER THE SUN: This weekends Hillendbrand Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. will begin a tough two weekend stretch for the Irish over spring break. At the Hillenbrand tournament, the Irish face 12th-ranked LSU, followed by another tough game against Texas Tech on Friday, while Saturday the team is set to take on #2 Arizona and Kansas. Pool play will be followed by bracket play at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. or 2 p.m. on Sunday.

LSU: The Tigers opened the 199 season on a eight-game win streak, including a victory over BIG EAST conference team Connecticut, 7-2, in their first game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic last weekend. LSU dropped games at the NFCA tournament to fourth-ranked Washington (2-4), fifth-ranked Oklahoma (2-5) and 14th-ranked South Carolina (1-2). The team is led by freshman utility player Trena Peel, who is batting .444 with 16 hits and 14 runs scored, and sophomore pitcher Ashley Lewis, who is a perfect 5-0 with 24 strikeouts and only one earned run allowed.

TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders have already played 23 games this season and will carry a 12-11 record into this weekends tournament. Under coach Renee Luers-Gillispie, Texas Tech has recorded big wins over #22 New Mexico twice (1-0, 4-2), Arkansas (6-5) and Minnesota (5-0). Returning eight of nine starters from last years 24th-ranked team, the Red Raiders have been led on the mound by Amanda Renfro (8-7), who has already pitched 113 innings. Offensively, Krisi Tunnell is first on the team with a .333 average.

ARIZONA: The second-ranked Wildcats return two first team All-Americans and five starters overall from last years NCAA runner-up squad, which went 67-4 overall and posted a 6-1 post season record. This season, Arizona (18-1) has dropped just one game to Texas, 1-0, despite playing 10, top 25 teams. Lauren Bauer, who hit .490 as a freshman, leads the team again in 1999 with a .500 batting average in 44 at-bats. Becky Lemke (10-1) and Jennie Finch (8-0) carry the pitching load for the Wildcats.

KANSAS: This will be the second meeting this season for the Jayhawks and the Irish. In the two teams first meeting, Kansas pitcher Sarah Workman threw a one-hitter and Shelly Musser scored an unearned run in the top of the third to pull out a 1-0 victory. The Jayhawks did not compete last weekend and stand at 8-3 in 1999.

ND FACES MID-WEEK CHALLENGE AGAINST FULLERTON: In between the Hillenbrand Invitational and the National Invitational in San Jose, March 12-14, the Irish will play one Wednesday night game against Cal St. Fullerton at 6 p.m. The Titans, who are 7-5 overall in 1999, finished 32-29 last season and 16-16 overall in the BIG West Conference.

NEVER BEFORE, HAVE WE PLAYED THEM BEFORE: Of the five Notre Dame opponents scheduled this week, the Irish have never played LSU, Texas Tech or Arizona. The Irish led the series with Kansas (3-2) and are an even 1-1 against Cal State Fullerton.

COACH LIZ MILLER: Miller enters her seventh season with the Irish and her 24th overall. Miller has directed the Irish to three straight BIG EAST South Division Championships and has a 241-117 record at Notre Dame. Before being hired at Notre Dame, Miller was the head softball coach at Lake Michigan College where she amassed a 541-142 record in 17 seasons.

Gladstones Tournament (Tampa, FL)

2/19  at  South Florida   W, 2-0       vs. Georgia Tech    W, 6-42/20  vs. Miami (Ohio)    W, 9-3       vs. Tennessee       W, 5-02/21  vs. Kansas          L, 0-1

Choo Choo Classic (Chattanooga, TN)

2/26  vs. UT-Martin       W, 8-0 (6)      at  UT-Chattanooga  L, 3-4 2/27  vs. Liberty         W, 3-2 (10)2/28  vs. Maryland        W, 6-0 (8)

Hillenbrand Invitational (Tucson, AZ) 3/5 vs. LSU – 12 p.m.

        Texas Tech -         6 p.m 3/6  at Arizona    -         2 p.m.        Kansas     -         6 p.m.3-10    @Cal State Fullerton 6:00

National Invit. Tourn. (San Jose, CA)

3/12 vs. UCSB           -                  11 a.m.     vs. California     -                   1 p.m.     vs. North Carolina -                   5 p.m.3-23   @ Purdue                             2:003-27     Toledo                             1:003-28     Bowling Green                     12:003-30     Butler                             4:004-1    @ Illinois-Chicago                   3:004-3      Pittsburgh*                       12:004-5    @ Eastern Michigan                   2:004-7      Western Michigan                   4:004-10   @ Rutgers*                          12:004-11   @ Villanova*                        11:004-14     Indiana                            2:004-17     Boston College*                   11:004-18     DePaul                             2:004-20     Loyola                             4:004-24   @ Connecticut*                      12:004-25   @ Providence*                       11:004-27     IUPUI                              4:004-30     St. Johns*                       12:005-2      Seton Hall*                       11:005-8/9    BIG EAST Conference (Storrs, CT)  TBA5-21/23  NCAA Regionals  TBA5-27/31 World Series  TBA 
* = BIG EAST Conference

Tentative Defensive Starting Lineup
Pitcher – Jennifer Sharron/Angela Bessolo
Catcher – Kris McCleary
First Base – Amy Laboe
Second Base – Kathleen Hoag
Third Base – Jarrah Myers
Shortstop – Melanie Alkire
Left Field – Lizzy Lemire
Center Field – Danielle Klayman
Right Field – Jennifer Kriech/Holly Matsuda

USA Today/NFCA Poll
March 3, 1999

R   School        1999 Record 1. UCLA (18)          16-0 2. Arizona (1)        16-1 3. Fresno State (6)   12-1 4. Washington         13-2 5. Oklahoma           16-3 6. DePaul              9-3 7. Texas              11-5 8. Arizona State      14-4 9. Stanford           13-410. USL                11-111. South Florida      14-712. Louisiana State     9-313. South Carolina     13-414. Michigan            5-515. Oregon             11-516. Nebraska            6-417. Illinois-Chicago   21-518. Massachusetts       6-519. Oregon State       16-320. California         13-421. Minnesota          15-422. New Mexico         21-323. Iowa                3-224. Hawii             11-925. Florida             9-4
Others: LBSU, Texas A&M, Kansas, Southern Mississippi, Florida St., Tennessee, Oklahoma St., Alabama, NOTRE DAME, Cal-State Northridge, Missouri, Pacific, Michigan St., Troy State, Colorado St., Hofstra, Texas Tech, Cal Poly, Arkansas, Evansville, Utah, Middle Tennessee, Southwest Missouri St.,Mississippi St., Marshall.


R School          '98 Record1 Boston College    38-14-1 (13-3-1)2 NOTRE DAME        35-25   (13-3) 3 Rutgers           25-22   (10-5)4 Connecticut       24-21   (8-7)5 Villanova         36-17   (8-6)6 St. Johns        16-30-1 (6-11)7 Providence        17-25-2 (4-12-1)8 Seton Hall        18-28-1 (0-15)9 Pittsburgh         0-12   (N/A)


 P  Name                   School P  Mary Dietz             Boston College P  Jennifer Sharron       Notre Dame C  Angie Catalano         RutgersIF  Alison Hirsch          ConnecticutIF  Chris Vicari           Boston CollegeIF  Jessica Yanosy         ConnecticutIF  Megan OLeary          VillanovaOF  Allyson Johnson        ConnecticutOF  Lizzy Lemire           Notre DameOF  Jaime-Lyn Chmielowicz  Rutgers U  Lauren Fischetti       Boston CollegeDP  Jen Perrotta           Boston College


1. Chattanooga (3-0) 2-1 vs. Liberty (9); 4-3 vs. Notre Dame; 10-0 vs. UT-Martin (5).2. Notre Dame  (3-1) 8-0 vs. UT-Martin (6); 3-4 vs. Chattanooga; 3-2 vs. Liberty (10); 6-0 vs. Maryland (8).3. Maryland    (2-1) 1-0 vs. Liberty; 11-1 vs. UT-Martin; 0-6 vs. Notre Dame (8).4. Liberty     (1-3) 0-1 vs. Maryland; 1-2 vs. Chattanooga (9); 2-3 vs. Notre Dame (10); 5-0 vs. UT-Martin.5. UT-Martin   (0-4) 0-8 vs. Notre Dame (6); 1-11 vs. Maryland (6); 0-10 vs. Chattanooga (5); 0-5 vs. Liberty.


Notre Dame: Amy Laboe, Angela Bessolo and Lizzy Lemire.
Chattanooga: Leah Tucker, Megan Luring, Beth Alexander and Corianne Rogalsky.
Maryland: Kelly Shipman, Amy Sandler and Fawna Lackovic.
Liberty: Amy Csider and Katie Phillips.
UT- Martin: Jenny Sue Henry.

 2 Melanie Alkire      So.  SS/P    Union City, CA  3 Rebecca Eimen       Fr.  SS/2B   Mannford, OK 4 Danielle Klayman    So.  OF      San Diego, CA 5 Kathleen Hoag       Fr.  2B      Wallingford, CT 6 Kris McCleary (C)   Sr.  C       Westerville, OH 9 Jennifer Sharron    So.  P       Agoura Hills, CA10 Jennifer Kriech     Fr.  OF      Indianapolis, IN11 Amy Laboe (C)       Sr.  1B/3B   Monroe, MI12 Michelle Moschel    Fr.  P       Naples, FL14 Angie Grimmer       Fr.  OF      Crown Point, IN16 Lizzy Lemire        So.  OF      Irvine, CA17 Sarah Kirkman       So.  OF      Kokomo, IN20 Dawn Cunningham     Sr.  2B      Bethalto, IL 21 Holly Matsuda       Fr.  OF      Honolulu, HI22 Jarrah Myers        Fr.  3B      Carbondale, KS24 Angela Bessolo      Sr.  P       Lakewood, CA

Head Coach: Liz Miller, 7th season (Western Michigan 69)
Assistant Coaches: Deanna Mays-Gumpf (Nebraska 92), Stephenie Henderson (Western Michigan 95).