Belles Split With Scots to Conclude Season
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Both games had their fair share of dramatics as the Saint Mary's softball team won the opener 6-4 and lost in the nightcap 7-5 in eight innings against Alma to end the season.
The Belles broke through first in game one with a run in the bottom of the second and a run in the bottom of the third. Jillian Busfield and Callie Selner led off the second with back-to-back singles. After Busfield moved to third on a fielder's choice, the sophomore scored on a squeeze bunt by Nina Vlahiotis for the 1-0 Saint Mary's lead.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Selner put the Belles ahead 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Caitlyn Migawa from third.
The Scots tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning with a two-run home run, but the Belles regained the lead two innings later with a four-run outburst. Cecily Reyes started the inning off with a lead-off single, and Maria Roberts came in to run for the first baseman. Jillian Busfield laced a single to center field to put runners at the corners. Roberts then stole home after Busfield swiped second to put Saint Mary's ahead 3-2.
Busfield advanced sixty feet on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jackie Martinez to give the Belles the 4-2 advantage. Vlahiotis drew a two-out walk, and the Belles made the Scots pay as Victoria Connelly belted a double to the right-center gap, which allowed Vlahiotis to score. Sarah Callis capped off the scoring with a single to left field that plated Connelly from second to put the Belles ahead 6-2.
The seven inning proved to be an interesting one. After the Scots' lead-off batter was retired on a fly out, Alma cut the lead in half two batters later with a two-run home run to center field. The Scots kept the rally alive with a double and a single to put runners on the corners with just one out. The next batter for the Scots sent a high-arcing hit toward the right field fence. Nina Vlahiotis tracked the ball and made the catch with her back against the fence and fired the ball in to first base to double off the Scots' runner to end the game.
Callie Selner earned the pitching win in the circle after going the distance and striking out a pair.
Jillian Busfield went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Sarah Callis, Callie Selner, Jackie Martinez, and Victoria Connelly each added a hit and drove in a run in the game one win.
Saint Mary's claimed a 1-0 lead through the first inning of play in the second game of the day. Kayla Chapman scored from second after Jillian Busfield bounced a single between the Scots' third baseman and the foul line with two outs.
The Scots tied the game in the bottom of the second, but Saint Mary's regained the lead in the top of the third. Sarah Callis drew a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kayla Chapman, advanced to third on an infield ground out, and scored on an illegal pitch to make it 2-1 for the Belles.
Alma, however, plated a run in the bottom of the third, a run in the fourth, and two in the fifth to establish a 5-2 lead through five complete.
The Belles had a big answer in the top of the sixth inning. Migawa dropped a single into left-center field to get aboard. Two batters later, Jillian Busfield sent a line drive well over the left field fence for her sixth home run of the season to make it 5-4. Callie Selner battled to a full count and fouled a pair of pitches off before sending a blast over the scoreboard in left-center field to tie the game at 5-5.
Neither team was able to get a runner past first base until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Scots ended the game with a two-out, two-run home run to center field to claim the 7-5 contest.
Sarah Burke had a no decision outing in the circle after going four-plus innings and striking out two. Callie Selner came in as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning and was dealt the loss after going three and two-thirds and striking out one.
Selner led the Belles with a 3-for-4 effort in the final game of her collegiate career with a double and a home run. Jillian Busfield added another multi-hit performance after going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. With her home run, Busfield takes over sole possession of second place all-time in career home runs in Saint Mary's softball history.
The Belles end the season 16-16 with a 6-10 record in MIAA contests.