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SMC Softball: Belles take two from Manchesterr

Katie Heit | Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saint Mary’s put on a strong showing against Manchester Tuesday, winning 10-5 and 12-4 in a double header to bring the Belles’ record to 10-3 on the season.

“It was nice to finally play at home,” junior infielder Kate Mitchell said. “We were comfortable and ready to put yesterday’s game behind us.”

In the first game Manchester scored early, leading 5-0 after only two innings. The Belles quickly took control of the game from there, earning their first run on a dropped third strike and scoring four in the third inning.

“We were much looser today,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “We looked confident at the plate, which was the biggest reason behind our success.”

Mitchell thought her team was able to stay focused despite a quick start from Manchester.

“They definitely jumped on us early at the plate in the first game,” Mitchell said. “We kept composure, and my teammates had some clutch hits to get our momentum going and keep us in the game.”

Freshman pitcher Callie Selner came up big for the Belles, hitting her first career home run, and senior captain and outfielder Hayley Bojorquez chipped in a three-run homer of her own.

Selner was an important player on both sides of the diamond, as she earned her fifth win of the season after throwing all seven innings of the game. At the plate, she tallied a double, two runs scored and three RBIs to go along with her home run.

In game two, Saint Mary’s got off to an early start, scoring two runs in the top half of the first inning. Manchester came back and scored two in the top of the second, but the Belles countered with six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the second.

“Manchester was well prepared,” Sullivan. “They definitely didn’t give up, even when they were down in game two. They made us better today.”

In total, the team amassed 31 hits in 12 innings of play.

“We were aggressive at the plate, but we weren’t over-anxious,” Mitchell said. “[Selner] and [junior pitcher Monica Palicki] both threw good games, and we just kept putting the ball in play and making things happen.”

Sullivan said she believes her team is performing at its best.

“When we play with confidence and win every inning we can, we are successful,” Sullivan said. “I tell my team I don’t want robots on the field. They are smart ball players and need to trust their instincts and experience.”

The Belles will begin conference play on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m. against Alma (17-2).