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SMC Softball

Belles finish postponed series against Bulldogs with win

| Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Saint Mary’s split its two-game set with Adrian, as it dropped the first game, 6-5, last Tuesday, before winning the second game — which was started last Tuesday but postponed in the fifth inning due to darkness and finished Monday — 13-5.

In the first contest, the Belles (11-10, 1-1 MIAA) jumped out to a quick lead, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first frame. Sophomore shortstop and captain Jamie Young drew a walk, which sophomore outfielder Cassie Young followed up with a two-run homer. The Bulldogs (5-10, 1-3) responded immediately with a run in the top of the second frame and then took the lead with three runs over the next two innings. With another two runs in the fifth inning, the Bulldogs took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the frame.

In the bottom of the fifth, however, the trio of Jamie Young, senior outfielder Sarah Callis and sophomore outfielder Makenzie Duncan all reached base to give Saint Mary’s a golden opportunity: bases loaded with no outs. Cassie Young then drew a walk, scoring a run. Two batters later, junior first-baseman and captain Caitlyn Migawa drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to further narrow the gap to 6-4.

Saint Mary’s held Adrian scoreless over the next two frames to give itself an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. However, the Belles were only able to pick up one more run before the end of the game, ultimately falling 6-5.

Although the two teams started the second game of the doubleheader that evening, they would not finish it then. Midway through the contest, the umpires postponed the game due to weather. As per MIAA conference rules, the game was to be played the next day — last Wednesday — at 5 p.m.; however, this was also postponed as the bad weather persisted. Duncan said the postponement altered the team’s schedule over the next week .

“Due to this weather, we have spent the week practicing inside,” Duncan said. “Our coaches wanted to make sure that we were still staying upbeat and moving during this week to combat the fact that we couldn’t be on the field. At first, we were all down about being inside, but I definitely think we made the best of it and worked hard doing drills and having intersquad competitions. On Friday, we even played dodgeball and handball to break up some of the monotony. I think the inside practice helped us to refocus on the fundamentals so that we can come back this week and play hard and win these upcoming league competitions.”

Since the end of the game against the Bulldogs was postponed, the Belles have had their last five attempts at play postponed. This included three attempts to complete the contest with Adrian and previously scheduled games with Calvin and Defiance. Jamie Young said these postponements have been frustrating but allowed the team to return to the basics.

After almost a week, Saint Mary’s and Adrian were finally able to finish their game on Monday. Duncan said the game plan going into the game hadn’t changed since the postponement.

“Since we were the home team in the first game, we were the visitors in the second, and we were aiming to score first and score often,” Duncan said. “We wanted our pitchers to have a dominant presence on the mound and the hitters to be decisive with their pitches so that we were making solid contact. It’s really important for us as a team to get ahead so that we set the tone for the game.”

Already leading 11-5 from the innings played the previous Tuesday, the Belles were able to finish the contest in less than fifteen minutes. The final Saint Mary’s runs came from a two-run homer by senior third baseman Kayla Chapman, giving the Belles a 13-5 win over the Bulldogs. Chapman was a key bat for the Belles throughout the entirety of the game, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs, including her fifth inning long ball. Sophomore second baseman Kelsey Richards was also perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a run scored.

Belles sophomore catcher Kayla Raymer said her team’s ability to string hits together made the difference in the second game against the Bulldogs.

“I think we needed to start stringing together hits sooner in the game, which is what we did starting the second game,” Raymer said. “We made a good adjustment as a team. Our defense was pretty solid, which is what kept the game so close. Our pitchers did great.”

The Belles’ next game will be against Alma at Saint Joseph’s High School North Field on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

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