Belles Split with Scots, Clinch Tournament Berth
Game One Box Score - Game Two Box Score
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's softball team put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh in game one against Alma to take a 2-1 win and secure a top-four spot in the MIAA on Senior Day. The Scots were on the top side of a walk-off play in game two with a 1-0 win in eight innings for the split.
The Belles were poised to strike first in the opener with a strong scoring threat in the bottom of the second inning. Angela Gillis saw her hit spin away from the Alma left fielder for a one-out double for Saint Mary's. Jordie Wasserman then punched a single back up the middle to put runners on the corners, but back-to-back outs left Gillis and Wasserman standing at the corners to end the inning.
Alma used the momentum from getting out of the second by scoring a run in the top of the third. With one out gone, the Scots had a single, a sacrifice bunt, and a double to push a run across for the 1-0 advantage.
Saint Mary's threatened again in the bottom of the fourth inning. Callie Selner had a one-out single up the middle, and Gillis added her second hit in as many at bats to give the Belles runners at first and second. Again, however, back-to-back outs left the Belles empty-handed through four complete.
Defensively, Saint Mary's shut Alma down with several key plays. Kate Mitchell and Emily Sherwood accounted for eight of the 21 defensive outs in the game as Mitchell stole more than one line drive away from the outfield while Sherwood took away several potential flare pop-fly singles in shallow left field. In the top of the sixth, the Scots had a lead-off double for their first runner in scoring position since the third inning. Callie Selner rung up the next batter looking, and Mitchell and Sherwood closed out the inning defensively. Mitchell caught a line drive, and Sherwood drifted into foul territory to make a catch and retire the side.
Down to their final at bats of the game, the Belles continued to plug away. Angela Gillis reached base safely for the third time on a fielding error by the Scots' second baseman. Jordie Wasserman dropped a single into left field to put a pair on for Saint Mary's. Two batters later, Emily Sherwood hit a slow roller to shortstop that could not be fielded in time for an infield single to load the bases. With two outs now gone, Lauren Enayati was battling after falling behind in the count. After fouling three pitches in-a-row off, the senior got just enough on the ball to loft it over the Alma pitcher as the ball settled between the circle and second base for an infield single, driving in Gillis with the game-tying run.
The two-out rally would not end there for the Belles. Victoria Connelly also fell behind in the count and fouled off a 1-2 pitch before punching the ball in play. The freshman sent a gruonder to the third baseman, who tried to cut Wasserman down at home. The throw, however, was off the mark and Wasserman slid in safely with the game-winning run.
Callie Selner earned her 17th pitching victory of the year. The sophomore allowed just one earned run on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks while going the distance in the circle.
Angela Gillis and Jordie Wasserman both went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the win. Gillis had a double for the Belles' lone extra base hit in the contest. With the win, Saint Mary's secured a top-four finish in the MIAA and clinched a spot in the MIAA Tournament, which will be held May 3-5 at Trine University. It will be the sixth time the Saint Mary's softball team will make an appearance in the top-four only tournament.
In game two, the Belles had a two-out single by Morgan Bedan followed by an error by the Scots' defense to get runners on first and second to outs in the top of the first only to have the offensive effort stopped short.
The Saint Mary's defense continued to shut the Scots down in game two. The Belles held Alma at bay in the top of the first inning by forcing the Scots to strand a runner at third. In the second, Alma had a runner on second just to see Kate Mitchell pull a foul ball back from the stands and record the out before Callie Selner tallied another strike out. In the bottom of the fourth, the Scots' second hitter of the inning bounced a shot off the top of the fence, but Kristen Nelson played the ball off the fence and kept the runner at first just a single.
With the game still at a 0-0 deadlock in the bottom half of the seventh, the Scots looked as though they would end the game in regulation. After a lead-off walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a single with an advance on the throw home, Alma had runners at second and third with just one out gone. The next batter for the Scots hit a grounder to Mitchell at third, who fired a throw home to Morgan Bedan. The junior catcher then ran the Scots' baserunner down for the tag out to record the second out of the inning. Alma then popped up to third to end inning and send the game into the eighth.
Alma, however, would push across the lone run of the game in the bottom of the eighth on a suicide squeeze play to end the game 1-0.
Callie Selner was handed the loss in game two, surrendering just one run on six hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
Lauren Enayati had an infield single in her final at bat at the Saint Mary's softball field. Morgan Bedan was 1-for-2 with a single and a walk. Kate Mitchell added a single that drew a cloud of chalk from the left field line for the Belles.
Saint Mary's (27-11, 10-6 MIAA) will await the outcome of the final MIAA doubleheader of the season tomorrow to see who they will play in their opening game of the MIAA Tournament on Thursday, May 3. The tournament will take place on the campus of regular season champion Trine University.