Notre Dame-Hillsdale softball

Central Coast Section Division II Finals
Saturday's game
 No. 3 Hillsdale (19-11) vs. No. 1 Notre Dame (24-6) at PAL Stadium, San Jose, 4 p.m.
  The two teams have combined for over 100 wins in the postseason, with the Spirits ending Hillsdale season last spring with a 4-3 decision in the semifinals.
 Having won 14 Central Coast Section divisional titles in the last 20 years, Notre Dame is making its fourth straight finals appearance, having fallen in last year's title game to Half Moon Bay.
 The path both teams took to reach the finals is eerie similar. Both scored 11 runs in lopsided playoff opening wins. Each outscored the opposition in the quarterfinals.
 And both relied on their pitching and defense to secure a spot in the finals, in Hillsdale case, its first finals appearance since beating North Salinas 2-0 in 1991.
 While the Fighting Knights were 6-8 in the Peninsula Bay Division, they were 13-3 outside league play, including a 4-3 win over Notre Dame-Belmont, who the Spirits beat 2-0 on Wednesday.
 Hillsdale hit .305 as a team with six home runs, or one more than the Spirits Kaeli Bush and Alexia Torculas hit this season.
 Vanessa Gonzalez may have pitched her best game on the biggest stage last Wednesday, tossing a five-hit shutout, setting down the final seven hitters, the last two on strikeouts.
 Gonzalez, who is one win away from equaling her career best of 22 wins, looked more like the hurler that blanked Mitty 4-0 back on March 7 with her control and ability to mix pitches.
 Notre Dame, who has the second most wins in CCS playoff history behind Carlmont with 64, has won seven of its last eight games at PAL Stadium.

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