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SMC Softball: Saint Mary’s ready for doubleheader

Kevin Baldwin | Friday, March 19, 2010

After splitting a doubleheader with Goshen Tuesday, the Belles are ready for another doubleheader Saturday at Manchester College.
Saint Mary’s started the day with a decisive 4-2 victory, but could not repeat their success in the second game, which the Maple Leafs won 5-3.
In the first game, the Belles came back from a 2-1 deficit. Saint Mary’s bats came to life in the fifth inning when they scored two runs to take the lead after a series of clutch base hits. With the support of the defense, including a solid performance on the mound by sophomore Monica Palicki, the Belles were able to hold off Goshen for the win.
Palicki pitched the entire game, closing with seven strike outs, one walk and not giving up any earned runs in her fourth win of the season. Seniors Maureen Healy and Sara Montelongo and sophomore Kristen Nelson each went 2-3 in the game. Healy had a pair of RBIs while Montelongo had a RBI and a run.
Despite a good defensive effort from the Belle’s in the second game, the team was unable to produce at the plate and many times left runners stranded at the end of an inning.
The second game saw the Belles unable to keep up with the Goshen scoring drive after scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth. But Belles coach Erin Sullivan was happy with her team’s overall performance.
“Our pitchers both had good days,” she said. “I was very happy with Kristen Nelson. She has been really hot at the plate lately and continued to help make things happen for our team on offense.  Maureen Healy and Sara Montelongo came up with some key hits for us as well.”
Healy was responsible for batting in the two winning runs in the fifth inning of the first game while Nelson batted in Montelongo in the seventh inning to seal the win.
“The hitters were thinking too much at the plate. Goshen’s pitcher wasn’t throwing exceptionally well, but she kept our hitters guessing. We also let the umpire’s liberal strike zone affect us in a negative way. It took too long for the team to start hitting in the second game,” Sullivan said.
This week, the team has sharpened their game in preparation for Manchester. Sullivan said she sees it as a prime opportunity for the Belles to continue the improvement they have shown throughout the season.
“I think we have more confidence, but we’re still trying to find ourselves,” Sullivan said. “What’s great about that though is we haven’t peaked yet, so I’m hoping we will peak near the end of the season when we need it most.”
The Belles will travel to North Manchester, Ind. to take on the Spartans in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday.