Perfection for Notre Dame's Hayli Otto

For 95 minutes, sophomore Hayli Otto was perfect, and that perfection helped send Notre Dame back to the state tournament.

Otto struck out 17 of 21 batters on the way to a perfect game in Notre Dame's 4-0 victory over Desota Canterbury at Decatur High School.

"It was just great," Otto said. "I can't even describe the feeling of my first thoughts, other than 'oh yeah baby'."

Notre Dame had a couple of good scoring opportunities through five innings, but Canterbury came up with a pair of double plays in the top of the third and fourth. The Lady Knights appeared to score in the bottom of the fifth, but Joie Otto's potential RBI single to left field was ruled fouled by the umpires.

Otto brought her A game to keep the game scoreless, striking out 13 of the first 15 batters she faced through five innings of work.

"I just kept telling myself this inning's it, just got to hold them," Otto said. "We had to be the first team to score, not them."

Notre Dame's offense woke up in the top of sixth. With a runners on first and second, Sarah Majewski grounded it through the right side, driving in Mary Brady for the opening run of the game. Moments later, Jennifer Ozier dropped down a squeeze bunt, scoring Hayli Otto from first. Majewski would then score on a wild pitch to give the Lady Knights a 3-0 lead.

Otto returned to the mound and struck out the side in the bottom half of the sixth. In the seventh, Notre Dame added some insurance. Joie Otto drove in Catherine Ozier with an RBI double.

Hayli Otto was also perfect from the plate, not recording an at-bat in the game. She was hit by a pitch in all four of her plate appearances. Canterbury's head coach apologized to head coach Kristin Barend about the pitches in the middle of the seventh.

Otto went to strike out her 17th batter in the seventh, the induced the game-ending pop up to Majewski in right.

Notre Dame returns to the state tournament for the second straight year. The Lady Knights will play the winner of Huntsville Alpha Omega and Shiner St. Paul at Waco ISD Field at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. If they win, they'll play for the state title at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.