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SMC Softball: Belles return home after 10 road games

Rebecca Slinger | Friday, March 23, 2007

After 10 road games – all in Florida – Saint Mary’s is finally playing in front of its home crowd.

The Belles (9-1) take on Rose-Hulman (7-5) Sunday at 2 p.m. in their home opener.

“There’s always apprehension for the first game, and the weather is different here from Florida,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “But in general, the team is just excited.”

Even though the Engineers don’t quite have the Belles record, their offense features four players hitting above .400. Switch-hitting second baseman Ashley Montgomery leads Rose-Hulman at the plate with a .488 average, 16 runs and 21 hits.

Sullivan is confident Belles pitchers Calli Davison and Kristen Amram will be able to shut down the Engineers strong offense.

“We’ll just mix it up. We stay away from hitters’ strengths,” Sullivan said.

Davison and Amram have a combined ERA of 1.42. By comparison, the Engineers staff has a team ERA of 4.41.

Last year, the Belles easily took a doubleheader against the Engineers, 10-1 and 15-1. But Sullivan knows that last year’s performance won’t have a big impact this time. This season, the Engineers are in first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

“We can’t assume we’re going to win. We’re such a different team this year,” Sullivan said. “We expect to beat everybody – that’s our goal.”

The Belles will also need to adjust to the weather change, having only played in sunny Ft. Myers, Fla., during spring break. Forecasts have called for isolated thunderstorms at game time.