Saint Mary’s looks to build on momentum from 2015
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Coming off its best season in nearly five years, Saint Mary’s begins its 2016 season at The Spring Games in Clermont, Florida, over spring break. The Belles finished fourth in MIAA play during the regular season and won a game in the postseason tournament. The Belles finished with a 23-14 overall record in 2015 and had three players selected to the All-MIAA second team.
Saint Mary’s returns 14 players from last year’s successful squad, including all three players named to the All-MIAA second team: senior catcher/first base combo Jillian Busfield and sophomores outfielder Cassie Young and infielder Jamie Young. Busfield led the Belles in slugging percentage last season, while also becoming the program’s all-time leader in home runs with 23. Cassie Young commanded the Belles’ offense on the season, leading the team in batting average, hits and stolen bases. Jamie Young was also a focal point of the offense, leading the team in runs scored.
On the mound, senior Sarah Burke will look to continue her success from last season. Burke had eight victories in 21 appearances in 2015, as well as having had the most starts for the team with 14. Sophomore Mary Green will also be an important contributor on the mound for the Belles this season. Green enters the season following a freshman year where she notched five wins in seven starts while posting a 3.40 ERA, lowest on the team.
As a team the Belles found success through a patient approach at the plate. Saint Mary’s ranked third in the conference last season in both walks and sacrifice flies. The Belles were also top five in the conference in home runs, stolen bases, slugging percentage and runs scored. These rankings should only increase as the Belles’ main contributors return this season with more experience. Team pitching was also strong with Saint Mary’s placing in the top five in the MIAA in wins, opponent batting average and walks allowed. The Belles on the mound were also second in the conference in runners picked off and triples allowed.
When the Belles begin their season in Clermont, Florida, they will play 11 games over the span of six days during spring break. Saint Mary’s will then begin its home season against Wheaton on March 19 at the newly-constructed Saint Mary’s College Softball Field, pending final construction operations. The Belles open conference play against Adrian on April 5.