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SMC Softball: Belles host Calvin for doubleheader

Nick Boyle | Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Looking to bounce back from a pair of losses to No. 24 Carthage, Saint Mary’s returns to conference play Thursday when it hosts Calvin for a doubleheader.

Saint Mary’s (13-7, 0-2 MIAA) will look to get back on track on offense, where the team has struggled lately.

“We need to bounce back from the last few games and improve our hitting,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “We haven’t been stringing hits together well lately. We’re swinging at a lot of bad pitches. This needs to improve if we’re going to win conference games.”

Though the Belles dropped their last two games, Sullivan said she believes the team is still mentally tough. She expects the team to be ready for Calvin on Thursday.

“I don’t think the two losses [against Carthage] ruined our mentality,” Sullivan said. “Carthage was a great team and it was good to play against them, even though we lost. The team should be prepared for Calvin.”

With the conference schedule about to enter into full swing, Saint Mary’s will need to be focused Thursday and weeks to come, Sullivan said. With only four teams qualifying for the MIAA tournament, Saint Mary’s cannot afford to drop many conference games if they want to compete in the playoffs.

“Every game is really important if we want to finish in the top four,” Sullivan said. “We need to beat the teams we should beat, and with all respect to Calvin, these games are ones we should win.”

In order to capture two wins, Sullivan believes her seniors will have to provide leadership Thursday and through the rest of the season.

“We need to have some senior leadership Thursday,” Sullivan said. “They are good players and they know how to win. They just need to have confidence, play with swagger, and go into the games with a positive mentality.”

Sullivan said the team can look to senior outfielder Kristen Nelson to provide this kind of mentality.

“Nelson has been playing outstanding as of late,” Sullivan said. “She’s been a real offensive spark for our team. She’s playing free of any pressure, just playing to have fun. The rest of the team should take a page out of her book.”

Saint Mary’s continues its conference campaign when it takes on Calvin at home Thursday at 3:30 p.m.


Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu