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SMC Softball: Belles host conference foe in doubleheader

Meredith Kelly | Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Belles will look to maintain their top-three standing in the MIAA after they host Kalamazoo today for an afternoon doubleheader.

Kalamazoo (5-11, 2-6 MIAA) is currently seventh in the conference, while the Belles (13-11, 3-1 MIAA) are third.

Belles coach Erin Sullivan said the Belles hope to transfer their energy from the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against Calvin, a game they won 3-2, into their matchup with Kalamazoo.

Sullivan said freshman pitcher Sarah Burke played really well in the second game against Calvin, and the team will continue to rely on her to perform in the series against the Hornets. Sullivan also said the Belles hitters came through in the clutch during the victory over Calvin.

Freshman third baseman Kayla Chapman leads the team in batting with an average of .394, trailed closely by junior pitcher Callie Selner, who boasts a .390 average, Freshman centerfielder Jillian Busfield is close behind with an average of .343.

With just over two weeks until the MIAA tournament, Sullivan said the team needs to keep up its strong early-season performance and focus on winning every game they can – especially within the conference.

 “Every conference game matters,” Sullivan said. “We don’t take any games lightly. These are two must-win games to qualify for the MIAA tournament.”

Kalamazoo is currently struggling a bit, as it enters the game on a two game losing streak. Nevertheless, Sullivan said the Hornets are not a team to be looked over. Kalamazoo has several new players on its roster this year, including two new pitchers who the Belles will need to prepare for, she said.

“We don’t assume we have won anything until the game is over, so we are going into this game fully prepared for a battle,” Sullivan said. “We aren’t assuming that Kalamazoo’s struggles the last few years have any bearing on their team this year.”

Forecasted thunderstorms today have the potential to postpone the proceedings, although Sullivan said they would wait as long as they can to call the game.

“We have 12 games in 10 days remaining,” Sullivan said. “If we lose the games tomorrow we could be playing four days in a row, which is really tough on any athlete.”

Despite the weather, the Belles hope to face Kalamazoo for two games today at Saint Mary’s, with the first game scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Contact Meredith Kelly at [email protected]