QUINCY -- Freshman pitcher Lexi Schaffer already does one thing in the circle that Quincy Notre Dame softball coach Eric Orne likes.
"She mixes her pitches up really well," he said. "The changeup is a pitch where she doesn't always get the strikeout, but she gets outs."
The off-speed delivery left crosstown rival Quincy High School lost at the plate Monday night. Schaffer allowed just three hits and led the Lady Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Blue Devils.
"She kept us off-balance with the changeup. We kept getting out on our front foot and popping it up," QHS coach Darrell Henze said. "She was throwing it high and then dropping it in across. We just weren't able to adjust."
QND (7-11) wasted little time providing run support for Schaffer, scoring three times in the bottom of the first without recording a hit.
Kailey Wall walked and moved to third when Carolyn Dickerman reached on a fielding error. A double steal attempt on the ensuing pitch plated a run, and Dickerman moved to third base when QHS catcher Roni Wingerter's throw to second sailed into center field.
Kristin Martin drew a walk, and Dickerman then scored on another double steal. A wild pitch and sacrifice fly to right field by Kegan Wall gave QND a 3-0 lead.
"We were doing all the little things right, running and sliding hard to create opportunities for ourselves," Orne said. "We need to manufacture runs however we can. An inning like that is great for the girls."
It also helped their starting pitcher settle in.
"I was feeling pretty confident, but I was really nervous at first," Schaffer said. "It helps you feel more relaxed and not as tense when you already have runs. My teammates encouraged me to just do what I can do."
She allowed only three runners to reach scoring position, and she struck out five Blue Devils (8-11) over seven innings of work.
"She kept pounding the ball, and our defense backed her up tonight," Orne said. "This might be the best game defensively that we've played all season."
The Lady Raiders added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Kassidy Kenning drove in Madison Gilligan with an RBI single.
Abbie Neally took the loss for the Blue Devils, allowing four hits and striking out five batters.
Quincy Notre Dame 4, Quincy High School 0
QHS 000 000 0--0 3 3
QND 300 010 x--4 4 0
Neally and Wingerter; Shaffer and Steinkamp. WP--Shaffer. LP--Neally.