SMC Softball: Belles double up on Manchester
Casey Karnes | Monday, April 15, 2013
Saint Mary’s swept a nonconference doubleheader at home Sunday against Manchester, winning 8-5 and 9-1 in five innings.
With Sunday’s pair of victories, Saint Mary’s (12-10, 2-0 MIAA) has won all six home games this year. Belles coach Erin Sullivan said she believes the confidence her team plays with at home has contributed to its home-field success.
“I think our team was itching to get playing again, and we have been playing extremely well at home,” Sullivan said. “It was nice to finally get outside on a beautiful day and our team capitalized on the opportunity to play.”
The Spartans (15-11, 7-3 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) did not make it too easy on the Belles in the first game, jumping out to a 4-0 against the Belles’ ace, junior pitcher Callie Selner. Manchester’s pitching kept the Belles down through four innings, but senior captain and shortstop Emily Sherwood’s solo home run built some momentum for Saint Mary’s. The team scored seven more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to open up its lead.
Sullivan credited Selner and Sherwood for their perseverance in helping the team rally back.
“Callie Selner was very effective and managed to come back strong after some defensive miscues,” Sullivan said. “I think senior Emily Sherwood had an outstanding day. She hit the second HR of her career and started our scoring in the first game.”
Sullivan also recognized freshman third baseman Kayla Chapman, who went 3-for-6 for the day. After the seven-run fifth inning, the Belles cruised to the final margin of 8-5 behind Selner’s strong pitching.
Heading into the second game, Sullivan said she wanted her players to stick closer to the game plan they had established prior to the first game.
“We wanted to score first, which did not work in the first game, but we made an adjustment for game two,” Sullivan said. “We also wanted to bounce back quickly from errors and make sure to capitalize on the other team’s errors. I believe we did this very well and I think it bodes well for our remaining games.”
Chapman was the star of Game Two, hitting a game-breaking home run in the third inning. The Belles had already stretched their lead to 3-0 by capitalizing on passed balls, but Chapman’s three-run home run gave them an insurmountable lead. After the Spartans scored a run in the top of the fifth against freshman pitcher Sarah Burke, the Belles responded with three more runs to end the game in the bottom of the inning.
Between Chapman’s performance at the plate, and Burke’s pitching in the circle, Sullivan said she is happy with how the team’s freshmen have developed this season.
“We knew from the beginning of the year we would need the freshmen to step up and fill big roles, especially with only five returning players,” Sullivan said. “I think they have really bought into the program and are gaining more and more confidence every day.”
The Belles will look to keep their winning streak going when they meet Calvin at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Contact Casey Karnes at email@example.com