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SMC Softball: Improved Belles reach playoff goal

Michael Todisco | Thursday, May 13, 2010

Entering the 2010 season, Belles coach Erin Sullivan expressed three challenges for her team to accomplish. Sullivan hoped to win 20 or more games, qualify for the MIAA tournament, and have a team grade point average of 3.3 or higher.

Saint Mary’s accomplished two of the three during a double-header against Calvin on April 28. In sweeping the twin-billing, the Belles earned wins 20 and 21 to earn a place in the conference tournament.

Nevertheless, Sullivan is hopeful that her team can achieve all three goals this season.

“We were looking at the semester break with a 3.25 … I am confident we will get the GPA goal as well.”

Although the squad was ousted in the conference tournament in a 3-2 loss to Adrian, Sullivan said the program has taken a significant stride this season.

“We truly establish ourselves as an excellent program in being able to compare ourselves to excellent teams like Alma, Adrian and Trine,” Sullivan said.

The catalyst to the Belles’ successful tournament run this season was their prolific offense. Every starter in the line-up had a batting average over .300, as the squad had a conference-best .356 batting average.

“I was really proud of how well this team has done offensively this season,” Sullivan said. “They have been a fun group of hitters to watch this season.”

Senior outfielder Ashley Peterson was a key factor in the team’s offense Peterson set the MIAA conference record for home runs (eight) and RBIs (31) in a single season. She also won conference position player of the week honors three times and led the league in batting average.

The Belles will be losing three seniors this season — Peterson, shortstop Maureen Healy and catcher Sara Montelongo.

“All three have taken this team on their shoulders and put it upon themselves to show everyone how playing as a team, believing in yourself and achieving goals is what makes this game so great,” Sullivan said.