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Belles fall to Olivet and Saint Xavier

Bobby Griffin | Monday, April 19, 2004

The Belles went into this weekend with the idea that win or lose, the non-league games against Olivet Nazarene and Saint Xavier would be important in preparation for the MIAA tournament.

After getting swept in the first series against Olivet Nazarene and then splitting the second with Saint Xavier, the team’s mentality has not changed.

“Playing four games within 48 hours against top teams, it definitely prepared us for our last conference game and the conference tournament,” Saint Mary’s coach Anna Welsh said.

Olivet Nazarene defeated the Belles 2-1 and 14-6 Saturday, proving its 34-11 record was not a joke.

In the first game, the Belles fought hard, led by Libby Wilhelmy, who tossed four solid innings for Saint Mary’s, giving up one run on five hits. She also struck out five but did not factor in the decision.

Kate Sajewich took the loss for the Belles, giving up a leadoff double in the sixth, followed by a single later in the inning that allowed the go ahead run to score.

Bridget Grall went 1-for-3 for the Belles with an RBI. Erin Sullivan was 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored.

The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was more offensively oriented, as Olivet Nazarene exploded for five runs in the first inning and never looked back. Olivet added two more in the second and three in the third and fourth, putting the Belles in a 13-1 deficit heading into the fifth inning.

Saint Mary’s finally showed signs of life in the fifth, scoring five runs on five hits, but it proved too little too late.

Sullivan went 2-for-3 in the game, with a run and an RBI. Katrina Tebbe was 1-for-3 with two RBI’s for the Belles.

Grall started for the Belles, only lasting one full inning before being pulled before the start of the second. She allowed five runs on five hits and walked three batters.

Pitching for the second time in two days, Sajewich had trouble solving Olivet Nazarene as well, giving up eight runs on seven hits in three innings, although only two of the runs were earned.

Things weren’t much better defensively, either, as the Belles committed four errors in the game.

After dropping the first game Sunday to Saint Xavier 4-1, the Belles battled back in the second with a 2-1 win in eight innings.

Jean Downes led off the eighth with a double and advanced to third on a Laura Heline groundout. Angie Ellison then singled, driving in Downes. The Belles then retired Saint Xavier in order in the bottom of the eighth, securing the win.

Winning the last conference games are absolutely imperative for the Belles to advance to the MIAA tournament. The top four teams make it, and the Belles currently sit tied for fourth with Albion at 7-5.

“We definitely have to sweep Kalamazoo on Thursday,” Welsh said.