Belles dominate regular season, NCAA dreams fall short
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, May 18, 2018
Continuing its tradition of dominance, Saint Mary’s recorded its twelfth-consecutive winning season to launch it into earning the role of hosting the first round of the NCAA regional tournament May 11. It earned an at-large bid to the tournament after losing the automatic bid in a double header to Hope in the conference finals.
The Belles (36-7, 15-1 MIAA) kicked off the season strong with wins against Greenville and LaGrange, propelling them to win the next seven games. Although two different winning streaks were broken by upsets against Lake Forest and North Central, they still managed to build the best record in program history. Following the loss to North Central (31-10, 12-4 CCIW), the Belles went on to win 13-consecutive games, outscoring their opponents 104–27.
Throughout 43 games this year, the Belles held their opponents scoreless on 12 occasions. The sole regular-season conference loss to Hope earned the Belles their first regular-season conference championship.
In addition to the team success, several individuals were honored with conference awards, including three players who earned first-team MIAA honors and two who earned second-team honors. Senior pitcher Morgan Raymer was named conference pitcher of the year, the first in the history of the College. The right-hander’s 1.89 earned run average was the third-lowest in the league.
The Belles’ hopes for a deep run in the NCAA tournament were cut short, however, with two losses at home in the second round to Ohio Northern and Case Western.