Nine freshmen join a core of nine upperclassmen as the Belles look to vie for one of the four spots in the MIAA Tournament for the first time since the 2012 season.
Juniors Sarah Callis, Kayla Chapman, Sarah Burke, and Jillian Busfield are part of a large group of returning players with experience and success on and off the field for the Belles. Callis was one of two players who competed in at least 30 games and collected at least 20 hits and better than a .900 fielding percentage in 2014. Chapman continued to be a contributor on offense during her sophomore season while also improving her defensive output by eliminating more than half of her errors in the field from her first season.
Burke returns in her junior season with nearly 190 innings of collegiate pitching under her belt. In each of her first two seasons, she pitched in at least 94 innings and had at least 18 appearances. She has 21 complete games and picked up the first hit of her career – a double – last spring. Busfield has been a mainstay for the Belles on both sides of the field since her freshman season. A two-time All-MIAA First Team and NFCA All-Region honoree, her name can already be found in several categories of the program’s record book.
Seniors Victoria Connelly and Nina Vlahiotis, juniors Angela Dainelli and Jackie Martinez, and sophomore Cailtyn Migawa have all made significant contributions to the team’s success and will all be looking to put the Belles into a position to vie for a spot in the MIAA Tournament at the beginning of May. All nine returners registered multiple hits a season ago while helping the Belles to a solid .950 fielding percentage on the year.
The squad will be tested right off the bat as they move northeast for their spring break trip from Fort Myers to Clermont, Florida for the eighth annual Spring Games. The Belles are slated for two games each day from March 8 through March 12. Among their competition is a Roger Williams squad which won 20 games a season ago, a Heidelberg team which claimed 25 victories in 2014, and a Richard Stockton group which posted 26 games and won the ECAC Metro Championship last May.
That early slate of competition will get the Belles geared up for a busy spring in which they play NFCA Top 25 teams North Central and defending MIAA Champion Trine. The team is scheduled to open up at home on March 22 against Dominican. Saint Mary’s starts conference play on March 31 when they travel to Adrian.