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SMC Softball: Momentum propels Belles forward

Casey Karnes | Thursday, April 4, 2013

After a victorious home stand, the Belles will head on the road again to play Anderson.

Saint Mary’s (8-6) will look to build on the momentum they developed with a dominating series against Defiance last Thursday. They rode small ball and dominating pitching to a 5-1 victory in the first game.

The second game was even more lopsided, with the Belles tacking on five runs in the first and never looking back. The game ended via the mercy rule in the fifth inning with Saint Mary’s leading 10-2.

Senior catcher and captain Morgan Bedan said she believes the doubleheader was encouraging but also that the Belles could not afford to let it go to their heads.

“[Winning via mercy rule] is a definite confidence boost,” Bedan said.  “We’re keeping [our] confidence in check, but I think it will help us get a better sense of [our] talent levels. We weren’t playing to our full potential in our first couple games, but I think last week showed how good we can be.”

The Belles will need to be sharp again against Anderson (8-8). While the Ravens come in on a three-game losing streak, this will be the Ravens’ home opener this season and the Belles have had trouble on the road. Their last trip resulted in a disappointing split with a struggling Franklin team.

Luckily for the Belles, their pitching staff has been fantastic lately. Junior pitcher Callie Selner was named MIAA Pitcher of the Week last week, and leads the Belles with a 0.29 earned run average. Her win against Defiance gave her 30 for her career, the second-most wins in Saint Mary’s history. In addition, Selner leads the Belles in hits, RBIs, and batting average, and she plays third base when not pitching.

Selner is joined on the pitching staff by freshman Sarah Burke. Burke threw five innings against Defiance and only allowed two runs, really impressing her older teammates.

“Sarah Burke threw the best games she’s thrown all year,” Bedan said. “She was big for us, and I think she’s really starting to come alive.”

Captains Bedan and senior shortstop Emily Sherwood also are impact players, not just with their play, but also because of their calming influence on their younger teammates. At this point in the season, Bedan is stressing that her talented team must focus on the little things.

“We are a hardworking team but we struggle with consistency,” Bedan said. “At this point, if we can be more consistent, we will be a very successful team.”

One obstacle the Belles are happy to be done with is the snow and cold wind of Indiana winter. After having several games cancelled due to weather, the Belles are looking forward to warmer temperatures.

“It’s definitely a lot easier on our bodies and boosts our spirits,” Bedan said. “We’re hoping the weather continues to improve.”

The Belles and Ravens will square off at 3:30 p.m. today in Anderson, Ind.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu