Notre Dame High appeared to have every opportunity to extend its nine-game winning streak Tuesday at Loyola High.
On the mound was ace Mike Peterson, for whom the Knights have given plenty of support in the past. And the Knights have been so fundamentally sound, well, they have been so fundamentally sound that Coach Bob Mandeville almost expected a game like Tuesday's.
"Anybody who knows the game knows you'll have a game like this," Mandeville said after Loyola defeated Notre Dame, 4-2, in Del Rey League play. "If I had had my druthers, though, I wouldn't have it against Loyola."
The Knights committed two errors and botched a slew of other plays that were not quite as obvious. Peterson compounded matters by allowing the leadoff batter to reach base in every inning. The Cubs took advantage by scoring two runs in both the first and third innings.
Then, there was Loyola ace Tom Martin. The 6-foot, 3-inch senior right-hander struck out five and allowed six hits as he improved his record to 7-1.
Martin stilled the normally active Notre Dame lineup with an array of fastballs and well-timed curves. The Knights scored twice in the second on singles by Bobby Hughes and Kevin Milligan, a groundout by Steve Hamilton and an error by Loyola shortstop Jason Evans. Hughes and Milligan each had two hits.
However, Notre Dame did not advance a baserunner past second in the final five innings.
"Today we stayed strong the whole game," Martin said. "We kept the concentration we needed to pull it off."
The Cubs (9-5) also pulled into a first-place tie with the Knights. Both teams are 3-1 in league play. Notre Dame (11-5), ranked No. 7 in The Times' Valley poll, played Tuesday unlike it had in its previous nine wins.
Evans led off the Loyola first with a walk and Tom Peterson followed with a single. With runners on first and third, Brian Dennis lifted a fly to right-center field.
Center fielder Matt McElreath made a running catch but threw over the head of catcher Hughes, allowing Peterson to advance to third. Peterson scored on Sean Chatman's single to right and the Cubs led, 2-0.
Notre Dame tied the score, 2-2, in the second, but Loyola came back in the third with two more runs. Peterson singled to lead off and Dennis walked. Peterson was running from first on ball four to Dennis, and when Hughes threw to second, with no one covering, there were runners at the corners.