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SMC Softball

Belles take both games of doubleheader

| Monday, April 7, 2014

Saint Mary’s got its MIAA conference season off to a strong start Sunday with a doubleheader sweep of Albion.

The Belles (10-6, 2-0 MIAA) erupted for eight runs in each contest and allowed only a combined five earned runs as they won the opener 8-6 and finished the sweep with an 8-2 victory over the Brits (1-14, 0-4).

In the first game’s second inning, Belles sophomore first baseman Jillian Busfield opened the scoring with her second home run of the season to make the score 2-0. Two innings later, Saint Mary’s brought 12 batters to the plate and scored six runs to take an 8-0 lead. Freshman shortstop Caitlyn Migawa drove in two runs with a single, while sophomore third baseman Kayla Chapman and junior catcher Cecily Reyes each tallied an RBI as well. Belles coach Kelli Zache said it was exciting to see so many players contribute.

“[Busfield’s] home run was nice,” Zache said. “It was like, ‘Okay, we can do this. These pitchers are hittable.’ From there, it was nice to see other people outside the meat of the lineup step up and have big games. Reyes going 4-for-7 with two doubles on the day was great and [sophomore second baseman Angela Dainell] did great going 3-for-6, which she hadn’t done all season. It was just great to see. Even [sophomore pitcher Sarah Burke] went 4-for-7 in the doubleheader, and she’s only had like 20 at-bats all season.”

Burke was not only a force at the plate, but she also earned the win in the first game, pitching five innings, allowing three runs and striking out five.

Senior pitcher Callie Selner finished off the first game and then tossed the entire second to earn her sixth win of the season. In the first game, Albion cut the Belles’ lead all the way to 8-6 before Selner pitched two shut out innings to seal the win.

Albion senior first baseman Kaitlyn Downey hit a two-run home run in the third inning, but those were the only runs Selner allowed. All told, Selner pitched a combined nine innings allowing just two runs and racking up nine strikeouts.

Zache said she was particularly pleased with Selner’s performance because the senior was not feeling 100 percent.

“Normally I start her in the first game, but she had a slight injury, and I wanted to give her more time to heal,” Zache said. “I ended up bringing her in late in the first game, and she did really well ¾ closed it out. Then she just shut them down in the second game.”

Selner’s work was more than enough for a Saint Mary’s offense that got off to another strong start in the doubleheader’s second game. After scoring two in the first inning, the Belles used five consecutive singles and a two-RBI double from Reyes to stretch their lead to 7-0 at the end of the second inning. After the Brits’ home run, Reyes hit another RBI double in the fourth inning to finish the day’s scoring.

Zache said that, although the performance was not perfect, she was excited about the strong start to conference play.

“We made some mental errors, particularly in the fist game,” Zache said. “We’ve been working on those, and if we can eliminate them, our momentum will carry over even better. It was nice to get under way and start to see where we are in the conference. We have a tough week ahead, but this start allowed us to make a statement.”

The Belles’ week features two conference doubleheaders on the road. They will visit Hope on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. before traveling to face Olivet on Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m.

About Josh Dulany

Originally from Texas, I grew up overseas and attended high school in Ethiopia. I have always followed sports intently and enjoy watching and playing practically any sport. I am double majoring in Marketing and FTT.

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