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SMC Softball: Sullivan expresses confidence in Belles’ stamina

Meredith Kelly | Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Belles will look to overcome their poor road record when they head to Grand Rapids, Mich., to face Calvin at 3:30 p.m. today.

The Belles (12-12, 2-0 MIAA) hope to continue their winning streak, which began when they swept Manchester in a doubleheader Sunday.

Belles coach Erin Sullivan said Saint Mary’s is at the top of its game heading into the matchup against Calvin (11-9, 2-4). 

“We have been building confidence all year,” Sullivan said. “I think coming back after being down 4-0 [on Sunday] helped our team believe in itself and the plan we have to bounce back from errors and after facing adversity.”

Sullivan said the Belles hope to stay sharp despite the lack of practice time. The team has been unable to practice outside for two weeks due to rainy weather.  

“We plan to go out [Monday], which will be a great change of pace from our indoor practice,” Sullivan said. “It is obviously much more game-like when we get on the field with the dirt and grass as opposed to a gym floor.”

Sullivan said although practicing inside in Saint Mary’s gym is not always as effective as practicing outside, the team was still able to improve key elements of its game.

“Inside, we work mostly on continuing to develop and maintain strength, especially core strength,” Sullivan said. “Also, we spend most of our time hitting. Preparing for different pitchers can be just as effective inside as outside.”

Sullivan said Calvin has improved greatly in the last couple of years by bringing in three junior college transfers who have all contributed to the team’s success. 

“They also have added to their staff with a few excellent former collegiate players,” Sullivan said. “That being said, I believe we are the stronger team. If we play to the best of our abilities, we should beat Calvin in both games.”

A potential obstacle for the Belles will be playing on the road. So far, the Belles are 6-0 at home, but 6-10 on the road. They have dropped their last two road doubleheaders to North Park and Anderson. 

“We need to put together seven full innings in each game and not let the travel to an opposing site throw off our confidence on the field,” Sullivan said. 

Saint Mary’s will take on Calvin today at 3:30 p.m.

Contact Meredith Kelly at mkelly29@nd.edu