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SMC Softball: Belles face busy schedule

Meredith Kelly | Friday, April 12, 2013


Due to weather and field conditions, Saint Mary’s game scheduled for Thursday against MIAA opponent Hope was postponed until Friday, Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. 

Because of the postponement, Saint Mary’s (10-10, 2-0 MIAA) will now embark on a game-intensive weekend. The Belles will face Hope (12-10, 4-0) on Friday, Olivet (7-13, 0-6) on Saturday and finish the weekend on Sunday with Manchester (13-9, 5-3 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference). 

“We could have six total games in three days, with doubleheaders Friday through Sunday,” Sullivan said. “So, we have to make sure not to get down when errors are committed and to adjust quickly to pitchers, as there is no time to get in a practice to improve hitting a certain pitch.”

The weather forced practices inside during the week, which Sullivan said frustrated her. Yet she said she believes the Belles will be prepared, especially because their competition has been under the same restrictions. Sullivan also said the team’s playing style may need to be modified in wet conditions. 

“Weather is uncontrollable, so we as a team have to go into the games with a game plan of grabbing the seams of the ball when throwing, as it will likely be wet,” Sullivan said. “We also have to work on getting bunts/slaps out of the circle in front of the catcher, as hits won’t travel very far on a damp field.”

Saint Mary’s second opponent, Olivet, is ranked last in the MIAA, with a record of 0-6. Yet Sullivan said the Comets play with great passion, and Saint Mary’s cannot overlook them as an opponent. 

“I don’t think their conference record of 0-6 defines how they are playing this year,” Sullivan said of Olivet. “They have a lot of freshmen, and we need to go into the games with the mindset that Olivet wants to win and we cannot take these games as sure wins at this point in our season.”

Sullivan also said Olivet’s losses have been to very tough teams like Alma, which has received votes in the national polls, and Hope. 

Although Saint Mary’s third opponent, Manchester, will also be a tough challenge, Sullivan said MIAA games are the matchups Saint Mary’s has been preparing for all year. The top four teams in the MIAA conference play in the conference championships, and the winner automatically qualifies for the NCAA championships. 

“We know we need to be in the top four in the regular season as goal number one,” Sullivan said. “From there, our second goal is to win the tournament and advance to the NCAA tournament.”

Saint Mary’s will face Hope at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Olivet at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Manchester at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All games will be played at the Saint Mary’s softball field.

Contact Meredith Kelly at mkelly29@nd.edu