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SMC Softball: Belles take on elements

Casey Karnes | Friday, March 22, 2013

 

Saint Mary’s will have to contend with the prolonged Indiana winter this weekend as it battles Franklin in a road doubleheader.

After splitting 10 games on their spring break trip to Florida, the Belles (5-5) will look to build some momentum with victories back in their home state. 

The most difficult opponent the Belles face this weekend, however, may be Mother Nature. With temperatures in the 30s and freezing winds, the weather can play a role in early-season games. The snow and cold has canceled the Belles’ past two doubleheaders, against Carthage on Tuesday and Wheaton on Friday. 

But senior captain and shortstop Emily Sherwood said she is confident her team will be able to adjust.

“[The cold weather] is a factor that we cannot do anything about, so we don our Under Armour and push through,” Sherwood said. “We have a term we use in almost every facet of practice, games and life in general: mental toughness. [Belles’] Coach [Erin] Sullivan teaches us that from the very beginning and cold weather is just another instance where our mental toughness comes into play.”

Saint Mary’s will head to Franklin (3-9) for a road doubleheader Saturday. While the Grizzlies may not boast an impressive record, Sullivan knows her team needs to focus and play with intensity to win.

“It’s a really long bus trip down [to Franklin], and it can really throw off teams,” Sullivan said. “We need to hit the way we can hit … [and] have our pitchers do well. If we play the way we are capable of, we should win.”

Sullivan will count on Sherwood and co-captain senior catcher Morgan Bedan to stabilize the offense and defense this weekend. Their veteran leadership is essential to a team with 10 freshmen, many of whom were thrust into a starting role, including second baseman Angela Dainelli. Even with only of week of games under their belt, the rookie Belles have earned their captain’s trust.

“The freshmen played well in Florida. They were asked to step up and perform not as freshmen but as collegiate athletes, and they did a great job with that,” Sherwood said. “They were clutch in situations when we needed them to be. I am excited to see them keep improving and performing at this level.”

Sullivan said the freshmen’s performance will only improve with time.

“They’re definitely more excited now, they were nervous before,” Sullivan said. “With so many unknown things, the first college game and some unnecessary pressures might have gotten to them. Now they’re ready to get back on the field and do better than they did. They just want to keep going now and build off what we have.”

The Belles will travel to face Franklin on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Franklin, Ind.