Belles get off to a strong start
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, March 17, 2016
The Belles (8-3) returned from their spring break trip to Clermont, Florida with eight wins in a total of 11 games.
Saint Mary’s started the week on a strong note with three consecutive wins. The Belles took down Saint Joseph’s (Maine) on March 6 in an 11-2 rout and went on to beat Bethany by a score of 7-1 later that day. The Belles maintained a consistently strong offensive presence, while also holding their opponents to a total of three runs on the first day of games. Four players had multiple hits against Bethany (4-8), led by sophomore Makenzie Duncan, who went 3-3, including a two-run home-run. Senior catcher Jillian Busfield led the Belles’ offense against Saint Joseph’s (5-5), knocking in two RBIs.
Sophomore pitcher Mary Green got the 11-5 win against Ohio Wesleyan on March 7, while the offense was spurred forward by an early charge. The Belles scored five runs in the first inning with the aid of a wild pitch.
The Belles’ first loss of the week came later that day to Wittenberg, falling 7-4. The Belles’ starting pitcher, senior Sarah Burke, gave up five earned runs over the course of her six innings, including two home runs. The Belles entered the seventh inning down by six, and were able to make a three-run charge, but the deficit proved to be too much to overcome.
Saint Mary’s bounced back from the loss, completely controlling its first game the following day. The Belles faced off against Lancaster Bible and dominated, winning 11-0. Pitchers Jessica Alberts, a sophomore, and freshman Zoe Bruni, put up a strong showing, giving up a total of one hit. The team got off to a quick start offensively, scoring three times in the first inning. However, they broke the game open in third inning, scoring seven runs off of doubles by sophomores Jamie Young and Kelsey Richards.
The Belles’ second game of the day was more closely contested, but they were able to outlast Misericordia 8-7. Three players had multiple hits in the game, but the crucial difference was the Belles’ ability to close out innings. They left only three players on base, compared to the Cougars’ eight.
Once again, the Belles began the next day by dominating Cornell College 8-0 and finished the day with a come-from-behind victory against the Sage Colleges, 6-5. Against the Rams (6-4), the Belles’ nine hits resulted in six earned runs. Saint Mary’s’ starting pitcher, sophomore Morgan Raymer, gave up one hit in her five innings. In the second game, the Gators (3-7) entered the bottom of the sixth inning with a 5-2 lead. However, an error allowed the Belles to gain some momentum and score four runs to take the lead and win the game.
Thursday brought a double-header against Alfred, which the teams ended up halving. The Belles took the first game against the Saxons (8-4) with a score of 7-5. Duncan scored three runs and had two RBIs, while Busfield and senior Kayla Chapman also drove in two runs each. The Saxons won the second game 13-8, but the Belles’ offense was still able to maintain its momentum from the rest of the tournament. Young drove in three runs, but the Belles were plagued by errors in the sixth inning and gave up seven runs.
Saint Mary’s finished its trip with a second consecutive loss, 4-2, in a rematch with St. Joseph’s. The Belles offense struggled against the Monks. Only five Belles players had hits in the game and none had multiple hits.
Coming off of their road trip, the Belles will take on Wheaton in South Bend at St. Joseph’s High School at 2 p.m. this Saturday.