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SMC Softball: Belles split with rival Hope in doubleheader

Kevin Baldwin | Thursday, April 22, 2010

Quickly approaching the final stretch of the season, the Belles split a doubleheader at conference rival Hope Wednesday.

“They’re always a really tough team. They play hard every time,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said of the Flying Dutch. “Their first pitcher was tough and they did a good job of adjusting to us. Game two was a real battle, they didn’t go out without a fight.”

The Belles (19-15, 8-4 MIAA) took the first game 8-4, capitalizing on a rally at the plate between the second and fourth innings that exhausted the starting Hope pitcher. Saint Mary’s held the Dutch on defense with great support form sophomore pitcher Monica Palicki, who notched her 10th win of the year.

However, the momentum ran short in Game 2, as Hope managed to come out with the 5-4 victory. Though the Belles had a consistent performance in the field, they struggled to keep up on offense and put runs on the board.

“It was one of those games where someone had to win, someone had to lose, it was such a battle,” Sullivan said. “The home runs hurt us — we left too many people on base. Angela coming out today … took a lot of mental toughness for her after last year.”

Sophomore Angela Gillis was out for redemption after pitching in both games against Hope last year, both of which the Belles surrendered.

Senior Ashley Peterson, who was recently recognized as the MIAA Player of the Week, added her name to the Saint Mary’s record books. Peterson belted two of her nine in Wednesday’s games to secure sole possession of the single season homerun record.

“Hope’s a great team. We would have preferred the sweep, but Olivet, Calvin — they’re the team’s we’re supposed to beat,” Sullivan said.

Saint Mary’s will have a week off before taking the field again against Calvin at home on April 28. With only two contests remaining in conference play, the Belles hope to gain a high seed for the start of the MIAA tournament on May 6.