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SMC Softball: Belles and Hope square off

Rebecca Slinger | Thursday, April 26, 2007

Saint Mary’s will take on Hope today to preface what will be a competitive MIAA conference tournament.

The No. 4 Belles (20-6, 5-5 MIAA) and No. 2 Hope College (21-8, 9-1 MIAA) face off this afternoon at Gainey Field. The Flying Dutch have a .833 winning percentage in the conference, while the Belles are .500.

If inclement weather doesn’t cancel the game again – the matchup was originally scheduled for April 4 – the Belles will finally have a chance to show Hope exactly why they are contenders for the MIAA championship.

“[The delay in playing Hope] has given us more time to prepare,” freshman second baseman Maureen Healy said. “We’re eager to put into play what we’ve been practicing.”

The Belles and the Flying Dutch are evenly matched, but Saint Mary’s has some slight advantages. While Hope junior Jessica Regnerua is hitting .540 in 87 at bats, the Belles (.353) top Hope (.326) for team batting average in the league and have a solid and consistent hitter in freshman outfielder Ashley Peterson, who is hitting .430 in 86 at bats.

The Belles also have a stronger pitching lineup than the Dutch. Saint Mary’s sophomores Kristin Amram and Calli Davison combine for a 2.35 ERA, which is second in the league. The Dutch are third in the league with a 2.38 ERA.

Both teams’ best pitchers have winning records: Amram (1.06 ERA) is 8-4, while Dutch freshman pitcher Deidra Enochs (2.00 ERA) is 8-5. Amram and Davison have held their opponents to low batting averages – 125 and .260, respectively. Opponents bat an equally low .250 against Enochs.

Healy said execution of play will be the edge the Belles have against Hope.

“Doing the little things like stringing hits together and not leaving runners on base [will give the Belles the advantage],” she said. “Hopefully luck will be on our side too.”

The Belles will look to sluggers senior Sarah Miesle, sophomore catcher Ashley Fusaro and Peterson to widen the gap between the Belles and Dutch similar offenses. Miesle is second in the league with 33 runs and third with 32 runs batted in. Fusaro is second in the league with seven homeruns and fifth for runs batted in (29).

The Belles hope to ride momentum from sweeping the last three teams they’ve faced-Goshen, Olivet and Albion.

“We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing the last three games and win every inning,” Healy said.

The Belles will take on Hope today at 3:30 p.m.