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SMC Softball

Belles set to face Trine and Dominican

| Thursday, April 23, 2015

After Wednesday’s scheduled game against Aurora was canceled, the Belles are set for a busy weekend featuring games against Trine, who ranks No. 1 in the conference and No. 6 in Division III, and nonconference foe Dominican.

After sweeping its doubleheader against Kalamazoo on Tuesday, Saint Mary’s (22-10, 9-5 MIAA) now sits at fourth in the conference standings, only four games behind Trine (31-2, 13-1). The Belles will get their first shot against the Thunder this Saturday, who are currently on a 12-game win streak, outscoring their opponents 147-27 during that stretch.

Following their game against Trine on Saturday, the Belles will not have much time to relax as they travel back home to face off against Dominican (23-11) on Sunday. This matchup was originally scheduled to be played on March 22 but was postponed due to rain.

As the regular season nears its end, Belles head coach Kelli Zache reflected on her team’s progress, crediting her team’s resiliency in close games as their most impressive attribute.

“I think our ability to come back in the later innings [is what impressed me the most],” Zache said. “That seems to be more often than you’d think. I always make the joke to the girls after those wins that I can finally breathe now.”

As the team prepares itself for the MIAA tournament, Zache said she hopes her team is able to continue to make progress on the mound in order to help them finish strong.

“Our pitching has tightened up quite a bit since the beginning of our season, which I’m excited about,” she said. “As long as we hit like we did against Kalamazoo, like I know we are capable of doing, it’s going to [lead to] close and exciting games.”

The Belles have seen plenty of production out of their freshmen this season, most notably from the bat of freshman outfielder Cassie Young and from the arm of freshman pitcher Mary Green. Young currently leads the team in batting average (.426), hits (46) and on-base percentage (.442) and has only struck out six times all season. On the mound, Green leads the team in ERA (2.46) and opponent batting average (.255) and has walked the least amount of batters (five) despite pitching 37 innings.

“The biggest surprise of the year has been the freshman class in general,” Zache said. “They are competitive, and they will only get better.”

The Belles square off against the Thunder in Angola, Indiana, this Saturday at 1 p.m. and will travel back home to play the Stars at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

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