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SMC Softball: Saint Mary’s earns key conference wins

Laura Myers | Monday, April 21, 2008

Saint Mary’s positioned itself well for the postseason, going 3-1 against two conference teams this weekend.

The Belles’ split doubleheader against Hope College Friday and their sweep of Adrian College Saturday left Saint Mary’s (20-7, 9-3 MIAA) solidly in third in the MIAA with four games left to play.

The top four teams advance to the postseason. The current top two teams, Alma and Tri-State, have yet to play each other, meaning one could fall back in the standings.

The Belles’ games at Hope were their first since the funeral of assistant coach Don Miller, who died April 13 after a battle with cancer. Head coach Erin Sullivan said Hope painted a circle in front of the Belles’ dugout with the letters “DM” in the middle.

“Hope is one of the classiest teams I’ve ever seen,” Sullivan said. “They made every effort to make us feel comfortable with a tough situation.”

The Belles lost game one 6-0 to the Flying Dutch. Hope pitcher Leah VanEnk pitched her fifth straight shutout, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning. Junior Katie Rashid and sophomore Ashley Peterson had the only two Belles hits.

Saint Mary’s continued its trend of winning the second game of their doubleheaders after an opening loss with a 7-5 victory in game two. The Belles scored early, leading 3-0 after the bottom of the first. But the Flying Dutch came back and tied it in the top of the fifth at 5-5.

“[Hope is] always a strong team with very strong base running,” Sullivan said.

The Belles rallied again in the bottom of the sixth, as sophomore Maureen Healy and junior Cathy Kurczak each scored to bring the Belles’ total to seven.

Senior McKenna Corrigan brought her record to 10-0, aiding her own effort by going 2-for-3 with four RBIs.

Saturday, the Belles played at home against the Adrian Bulldogs. In game one, junior pitcher Calli Davison gave up two runs early, but the Belles tied it 2-2 in the third and scored five more in the bottom of the sixth for a final score of 7-2.

Davison also went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and sophomore Ashley Peterson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

In game two, the Belles held a 9-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Bulldogs put on a rally to bring the score to 9-6 before Corrigan retired the side for her 11th win.

Sullivan said Saturday’s rain, which began in the seventh frame, had to do with the late rally, but the team pulled through in the end.

“Our fielders and pitchers really stepped up and played well against these hitters,” she said.