Belles set for MIAA action
R.J. Stempak | Friday, April 1, 2016
Saint Mary’s won two of its six contests this past week, with their scheduled game against Dominican postponed due to inclement weather.
The Belles (10-9) began the week with a two-game road series against Aurora, dropping both contests by a score of 7-5. In the first game, Saint Mary’s scoring opened up with a triple from sophomore centerfielder Cassie Young which drove in two runs at the top of the first. A home run in the second by sophomore captain Jamie Young extended the Belles’ lead to 3-0. The Spartans (9-5), however, managed to tie up the game at the bottom of the fifth and a three-run push in the bottom of the seventh clinched the opening game for Aurora. On the mound for the Belles, sophomore Morgan Raymer allowed zero earned runs and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings of work.
The second leg of the double header was highlighted by junior captain Caitlyn Migawa’s batting, going 3-for-3 with three runs batted in, but the rest of the team was only able to add six hits to Migawa’s strong performance. However, the Belles stuck in the game until the very end. The game was tied going into bottom of the sixth, but a two-run home run from the Spartans broke the tie and gave Aurora the win. Belles head coach Kelli Zache attributed the undesirable outcomes to shortcomings in various areas of play.
“All of the components have to work together,” Zache said. “Its not always the same thing. Our play has to be consistent all around: offense, defense and pitching will all have to come together to succeed.”
After a four-day break, Saint Mary’s took on North Central, splitting the series with a 10-2 win and an 8-6 loss. Sophomore right fielder Makenzie Duncan and Migawa led the Belles to the victory in the first game, as both knocked in three hits. Senior Sarah Burke commanded the mound, throwing a complete game and earning the win, with one earned run and three strikeouts.
The Cardinals (8-8) put up two quick runs to begin the second game. The Belles quickly responded, tying it up in the next inning, but the Cardinals regained the momentum and took an 8-2 lead by the end of the fifth. The Belles were unable to overcome the difference and finished the game with a score of 8-6. Saint Mary’s received hits from eight different batters, but it was not enough to pull out the victory.
Saint Mary’s then played a pair of games against Manchester, again winning the first and losing the second. A pair of runs in the top of the first got the ball rolling, as the Belles scored a total of nine runs in the first game, receiving multiple-hit performances from the Young sisters and Duncan. Burke threw a complete game shutout with six strikeouts as the Belles won 9-0.
Saint Mary’s cooled off in the second game, allowing two runs in the first. The contest saw both teams tallying runs throughout the game, until a three-run home run from Manchester in the bottom of the sixth broke the lead open to 8-6. The Belles were unable to close the gap in the seventh and ended the day with a win and a loss. Zache said she hopes the pattern of the past two outings does not become a trend for her team.
“I think the energy is the biggest thing,” Zache said. “We play the first game and come out full of energy and then we go into the second game and sometimes we underestimate our opponent because we got so fast the first game, and it hurts us. Being focused for two games is something we will definitely have to take into conference play.”
The Belles are back in action and open conference play against MIAA opponent Adrian on Tuesday at Saint Joseph High School’s North Field.