Belles look for seventh straight win
Josh Dulany | Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Riding a six-game win streak, the Belles head to Manchester on Wednesday looking to stay hot against a Spartans squad that comes in having dropped four straight contests.
Belles coach Kelli Zache attributes her team’s successful run to increased mental toughness.
“Our composure has really gotten better,” Zache said. “Over spring break, I think we got in some tough spots, and we folded, but we’ve gotten much more confident, and our composure has really improved.”
On the field, Zache said she hopes senior pitcher Callie Selner’s stellar season continues against Manchester (3-9, 0-0 HCAC). Selner earned her fifth win of the season over the weekend and boasts a 1.98 season ERA to go along with her 51 strikeouts.
Selner has found success at the plate this season, as well. Her .448 batting average leads the team, and she had four hits in a doubleheader Sunday against Dominican, three of which were doubles.Zache said the Belles (8-4, 0-0 MIAA) also expect continued production from the sophomore duo of second baseman Angela Dainelli and first baseman Jillian Busfield. Dainelli collected three hits, scored two runs and tallied one RBI in the doubleheader. Meanwhile, Busfield is one of just three players to start every single game for the Belles, and her eight RBI lead the team.
Away from the batter’s box, Zache said she emphasizes a fundamental approach to help Saint Mary’s stay on-track during its winning streak.
“We’ve just got to keep working on basics, particularly on defense,” Zache said. “We’ve got a really young defense — we’re starting a freshman shortstop [Caitlyn Migawa], and our team is full of sophomores.”
In the opposing dugout, the Spartans will play at home for the first time this season. They enter the matchup on a skid that has seen them allow 33 runs in just four games.
Manchester will send out junior pitcher Ashlea Nash, who carries a 7.88 ERA and a 2-6 record.
Even though the Spartans are struggling, Zache insists her team will be focused.
“We just have to come in like we did Sunday and not take anyone lightly,” Zache said. “We have to work hard and, every at bat, make adjustments and just try to make a solid connection. If we do that, we’ll compete very well.”
The Belles and Spartans hit the diamond Wednesday at the Manchester softball field in North Manchester, Ind., with first pitch at 3:30 p.m.