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SMC Softball

Belles fall twice to Hope, face Kalamazoo

| Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Saint Mary’s entered Saturday the winner of 10 of its last 12 games but left the loser of two straight, dropping a doubleheader to No. 21 Hope on Senior Day.

In the first game, the Belles (20-10, 7-5 MIAA) entered the final frame tied at two but surrendered seven runs in the top of the seventh to lose, 9-2.

The Flying Dutch (25-5, 10-2) took advantage of five Belles errors in the inning to blow the game open.

Belles freshman Mary Green took the complete-game loss to drop to 3-2 after surrendering 11 hits and three earned runs.

Hope did not waste any time in scoring to start the game and took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. However, the Belles struck back in the bottom of the first with a run on three hits. Freshman shortstop Jamie Young started the rally with a bunt single, and she advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior left fielder Sarah Callis. Freshman center fielder Cassie Young added a bunt single, and the Belles had runners on the corners with nobody out. When Young then attempted to steal second, the Flying Dutch catcher threw the ball away, and Young came around to score. The Belles, however, could not plate another run in the inning, stranding two.

Hope retook the lead in the top of the third with an RBI single through the left side, but the Belles tied it back up in the sixth.

With runners on second and third, sophomore first baseman Caitlyn Migawa executed a squeeze play to score Cassie Young to knot the game up at two, putting the Belles in position to steal a win from their nationally-ranked opponent.

But then the wheels came off in the seventh. After a quick groundout, seven consecutive Flying Dutch batters reached base on four hits and five errors, and all of them came around to score to secure the victory.

In the nightcap, the Belles fell behind early and never mounted a serious comeback effort, losing 12-4 in six innings

In the second inning, Hope jumped on freshman starter Morgan Raymer and tagged her for seven runs. Raymer loaded the bases with nobody out, and Hope’s big inning progressed from there. Saint Mary’s scored three runs in the next half-inning, but it did not threaten again until the sixth, when it pushed across a run before Hope ended the game via the run rule with two scores in the bottom of the sixth.

The Belles now look ahead to another conference doubleheader Tuesday against Kalamazoo. Saint Mary’s, which currently sits fourth in MIAA standings, will look to consolidate its hold on a spot in the four-team conference tournament, while the Hornets (8-18, 5-9) will look to keep their faint tournament hopes alive.

Today’s doubleheader is the penultimate conference one of the season for the Belles, and if other results go their way today, they could clinch a spot in the tournament with a pair of wins.

If Saint Mary’s is not able to secure qualification tonight, it might have to get something from a doubleheader Saturday with first-place Trine to close the conference slate.

Kalamazoo split a doubleheader with Olivet last time out, dropping the first game Saturday and winning the nightcap.

Saint Mary’s and Kalamazoo will get underway with their doubleheader Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Saint Mary’s softball field.

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