Belles brace for tough slate in Sunshine State
Kevin Baldwin | Wednesday, March 3, 2010
As Spring Break draws closer the Belles are preparing for a demanding week of games under the Florida sunshine. Saint Mary’s hopes to follow up a successful 2009 performance, in which they went 22-12 on the year in their season opening tournaments.
The team remains optimistic following a disappointing conclusion to their last season; the Belles started out very strong, standing at 22-4 at one point before fatigue set in and they struggled unsuccessfully to add another win to the record.
“Our expectations are high. We had a great season last year and sort of ran out of gas at the end, so we have been doing a lot of drills and exercises focused on finishing and coming back from being behind in games. I think our mental approach is going to be more focused on this for the season,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said.
Sullivan hopes that the team’s performance in the tournament will provide a good chance to evaluate their abilities in various aspects of the game.
“Our strengths are always in hitting and solid defense. I am very confident our aggressive batting will help us score a lot of runs and keep us in ball games,” Sullivan said. “Our hitters also bring confidence to our defense as they give us a cushion to play around with.”
With a veteran cast of mostly sophomores and upperclassmen, the team has a great deal of depth and experience that will be crucial in leading them on the field.
“Every member of my team is a role player. The starting pitcher is as important as the bench player who picks up on a runner stealing or the grip that gives away the pitcher’s change-up,” Sullivan said.
Seniors Ashley Peterson, Maureen Healy, and Sara Montelongo lead the team by example, always giving a strong showing at the plate as well as on the field and can be counted on to make some clutch plays next week.
“My lone junior, Hayley Bojorquez, had six outfield assists last year and not only has continued to look great defensively, she has made a couple of adjustments at the plate that will really make her a more solid hitter,” Sullivan said. “I’m very excited for our team this year.”