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SMC Softball: Team off to MIAA Championships

Laura Myers | Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Saint Mary’s heads to the MIAA conference championships for the third straight year Thursday. The tournament will be held Thursday and Friday at Alma College.

The Belles are a No. 2 seed in the tournament, and will play No. 3-seeded Tri-State Thursday morning. The match-up provides some familiarity as Saint Mary’s faced the Thunder on Saturday. That doubleheader was split, with Tri-State taking the first game 8-3 and Saint Mary’s winning the second contest 8-0.

Belles coach Erin Sullivan said that she feels her team has an advantage playing Tri-State again so soon.

“They are going to be nervous to play us again, especially after our convincing win in game two,” she said.

The tournament is double-elimination, so if the Belles win, they will play the winner of a game between No. 1 seed Alma and No. 4 seed Hope. If the Belles lose, they will play the loser of that game.

Sullivan did not say which of her two starting pitchers – junior Calli Davison (11-8) and senior McKenna Corrigan (12-0) – she plans to start in the first game.

“We will warm up both for our first game,” Sullivan said. “Either one of them will be great against Tri-State. They both pitched well on Saturday.”

The Belles bring a formidable offense to the tournament, led by Corrigan and sophomore Ashley Peterson, whose .580 in-conference batting average was good for the regular-season batting title. Peterson also leads the MIAA in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored and total hits, and is tied with two others for the most doubles. Corrigan leads the conference in RBI and home runs.

Saint Mary’s has won the MIAA tournament only once, in 2004. Sullivan was a senior that year. However, because the current system awards points based both on tournament place and regular season place, the Belles did not get the MIAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Sullivan said that in 2006 and 2007, when Saint Mary’s came in third and fourth, respectively, they tired in the postseason. However, she does not expect that to be the case this year.

“Our plan is to play hard and leave everything on the field,” Sullivan said. “No regrets.”