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SMC Softball: Belles sweep Defiance

Casey Karnes | Wednesday, April 3, 2013

 

The Belles earned their first sweep of the season, defeating Defiance in both games of a double header Thursday.

The Belles (8-6) came into the series with a .500 record but never trailed against the Yellow Jackets (7-7, 2-2 HCAC). Saint Mary’s won the opening game 5-1 and the second game 10-2 on a mercy rule.

In the first game, junior pitcher Callie Selner scored on a double by freshman outfielder Sarah Callis in the second inning after a bunt by freshman first baseman Jillian Busfield moved Selner into scoring position. In the third inning, the Belles used two sacrifice bunts by senior shortstop Emily Sherwood and sophomore outfielder Victoria Connelly to move freshman outfielder Ashley Watkins to third base. Watkins later scored on a wild pitch. According to senior catcher and captain Morgan Bedan, the Belles have focused on using small ball to manufacture runs.

 “We’ve realized that it is something that could be a very important part of our game plan and it’s something that we’ve worked very hard on,” Bedan said. “We needed to take advantage of chances to score and I think our strategy has given us a better opportunity to do so.”

The Belles held a 2-0 lead until the 6th inning, when Defiance was able to cut the lead in half. The Belles scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to quash any chance of a Yellow Jacket rally. The Belles’ confidence late in the game impressed Bedan, especially considering their early season troubles.

“We’re focusing on maintaining composure during pressure situations,” Bedan said. “It’s something that we struggled with earlier in the season but also something that we’ve worked very hard to improve.”

The second game was never in doubt as Saint Mary’s quickly took a 5-0 lead after batting around in the first frame. Freshman pitcher Sarah Burke allowed two runs in the fourth after starting the game with three perfect innings. The Belles never looked back, scoring five more en route to a 10-2 mercy-rule win.

Selner, who played third base in the second game, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Because of her performance in the circle in the first game, she was awarded the MIAA Pitcher of the Week award. Bedan says the value of a player like Selner can’t be overstated.

“She’s awesome and always willing to support her team. Building off of her confidence has been big to our team’s success,” Bedan said. “She’s very selfless and does everything for her team. She’s the kind of player that holds teams together.”

The Belles hit the road again Thursday in a game against Anderson. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu