Belles set to play two twice over weekend
Josh Dulany | Friday, April 4, 2014
Saint Mary’s gets started with conference play this weekend with a doubleheader on the road Saturday against Albion. They will also play a Sunday doubleheader with non-conference foe Defiance.
Leading the way for for the Belles (8-6) is their lone senior, pitcher Callie Selner. Her 5-3 record and 2.52 ERA have set the pace from the circle and her .382 batting average and six RBI are both second on the team. Selner said she is excited for her final season of MIAA play and has her team concentrating on the basics heading into the conference schedule.
“We are focusing on starting off conference play on the right foot and setting the stage for the rest of the season,” Selner said. “We are focused on capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes and executing the plays we need to make. Just executing a little bit more on our opportunities and scoring the runners that are on base.”
On a roster checkered with freshman and sophomores, Selner says she feels pressure to lead, but has been impressed with the team’s maturity and unity.
“I feel I am responsible to help this team unify and build a foundation for years to come,” Selner said. “We are young, but that will only give these girls more experience for next year. I’ve been impressed by our ability to not give up. That shows a lot about our character and our desire to be successful.”
In addition to Selner, sophomore first baseman Jillian Busfield has also been productive at the plate, leading the team with a .395 batting average and nine RBI. The Belles have also gotten solid production from their second pitcher, sophomore Sarah Burke. She has racked up 50 strikeouts to go with her 3.52 ERA and 3-3 record.
Albion (1-12) enters Saturday in the midst of a rough stretch, winning just one game over the past season and a half. Most of their production has come from two freshmen — pitcher Monica Brugnoni and outfielder Erica Wagner. Brugnoni has the team’s lowest ERA, leads the team in RBI and her .317 batting average is second on the team to Wagner, who is batting .366 with four RBI.
Sunday’s opponent, Defiance (3-8), is also struggling, having dropped four-straight contests. Both contests provide the Belles with a chance to bounce back after dropping a pair of games to Carthage on Tuesday.
“We will be determined and ready to play,” Selner said. “[Tuesday’s] doubleheader does not determine what kind of team we are. We have confidence when we walk on the field and are ready to fight no matter what.”
The Belles square off with Albion starting at 1 p.m. Saturday in Albion, Mich. Sunday’s doubleheader against Defiance will be played in Defiance, Ohio, and also gets under way at 1 p.m.