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SMC Softball: Belles drop three over weekend

Joseph Monardo | Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Belles dropped three of their four weekend games, but recorded a win against No. 13 Adrian, the last remaining undefeated team in college softball.

Saint Mary’s (11-10, 1-5 MIAA) snapped Adrian’s (25-1, 5-1 MIAA) 24-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory over the Bulldogs in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader before dropping the second game 11-2. The win was the first in conference play for Saint Mary’s this season, and was a fitting reward for a well-played outing by the Belles.

“It was amazing, it is a great feat to beat the only undefeated team in all three divisions,” junior outfielder Lauren Enayati said. “We worked really hard, stayed up the whole time and we strung hits together … and we played really strong defense so we prevented them from getting on and scoring.”

A couple of freshman led the charge in the victory, as pitcher Callie Selner recorded two strikeouts with the bases loaded to end the first inning. Meanwhile, first baseman Chrissy Porter delivered the game’s only run with her fifth-inning home run — the first of her career. Despite the team’s strong performance, Saint Mary’s disappointed in the second game.

“We just haven’t proven that we can play 14 innings in one day,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “Our pitching has been struggling a little bit and our run production has been down. When we struggle on defense, it shows on the offensive side instead of being able to draw the line [between the two].”

There was no rest for the weary, however, as the Belles had to return home for a Sunday doubleheader against North Central (14-6, 1-1 CCIW). In the opener, Saint Mary’s failed to get a hit in all five innings of the shortened game and fell 12-0. The Belles lost the second game 8-1, but showed improvement both from the pitcher’s circle and the batter’s box.

Junior Angela Gillis took the ball for the first time this season for the Belles and turned in an impressive performance, even while her team was hampered by a number of untimely errors.

“Angela Gillis pitched a fantastic game,” Sullivan said. “I think every one of her runs must have been unearned. She hit every spot, she missed her spot three times. We can’t ask for any more. She fielded her position well, she got a base hit, so she was fantastic. We throw her in against a team that was shelling us in game one and she was just awesome, lights-out. We are definitely going to have to keep going with her.”

Despite Gillis’ praiseworthy performance and a few other scattered highlights, Sullivan said that she was unimpressed by her team’s showing on Sunday.

“[We displayed a] lack of confidence, we did not come out with any intensity or energy, and we had way too many errors,” she said.

To ensure that they are victorious moving forward, the Belles will have to focus on bringing base runners home, Sullivan said.

“When we have runners on, we need to score them,” she said. “We were really good at doing that in the first 10 games, we haven’t done that since.”

Having lost seven out of their last eight games, the Belles will have to pick themselves out of the mid-season slide. With six doubleheaders remaining before the conference tournament, Saint Mary’s is tasked with demonstrating that it can play at a high level for an extended period of time.

“I think we need to do better and pick ourselves up and have more confidence,” Enayati said. “We are a great team and we have really great players. We just need to believe it, and everything else is just mental.”

The Belles will not have to wait long to prove that they are capable of playing better, as they travel to Franklin on Tuesday for a non-conference match-up.