Belles Swept by Nationally-Ranked Flying Dutch
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - One big inning in each game was the difference as the Saint Mary's softball team lost to No. 21 ranked Hope by 9-2 and 12-4 (6 innings) scores on Senior Recognition Day.
The first game was neck-and-neck until the final inning of play. The Flying Dutch plated a run with a pair of singles, a sacrifice bunt, and a ground out to take a quick 1-0 lead. That lead, however, was very short-lived as the Belles responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
Jamie Young led off the first with a bunt single and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sarah Callis. Cassie Young then beat out a bunt single at first. In Hope's effort to try to cut down Cassie at first, the throw, which would have been too late, was off the mark and got away from the defense, which allowed Jamie to come around and score to knot the game at 1-1.
The Belles got out of a slight jam in the second inning thanks to an unconventional double play. With runners at first and second, the Flying Dutch shortstop punched a hard grounder into the dirt right in front of home plate. The ball took a high bounce on its way toward Jamie Young at shortstop. The freshman picked up the ball off of its second bounce and made the throw across to first to get the batter. The runners, however, were confused as to whether or not the ball was caught on the fly. The runner who had started on first turned just steps away from second base and headed back to first, where she was tagged out by Caitlyn Migawa to give the Belles two outs in the inning. Another ground out ended the threat completely.
The Flying Dutch did get a run in the top of the third on a pair of singles and a sacrifice bunt to regain the lead.
The score remained 2-1 in favor of Hope until the sixth inning. Cassie Young and Jillian Busfield led off the inning with a single and a stolen base each to put a pair of runners into scoring position. Migawa laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Young from third to tie the game at 2-2. Victoria Connelly came on to pinch run for Migawa and stole second to put two runners in scoring position with just one out gone. The Belles, however, were unable to push any additional runs across as the game moved to the seventh tied at 2-2.
The Flying Dutch shifted the momentum back in their favor for good in the top of the seventh. Hope scored seven runs on four hits and five errors to pull ahead 9-2. That seven-run differential was too much to overcome too late in the game.
Mary Green suffered the pitching loss in the circle after a complete game effort. The freshman allowed just three earned runs over seven innings while striking out two.
Cassie Young went 3-for-4 at the plate with two stolen bases while scoring a run. Jillian Busfield added a pair of hits. Caitlyn Migawa drove in a run, and Jamie Young chipped in a hit and scored once for the Belles.
In game two, the Flying Dutch jumped out to a big lead with a seven-run second inning. Hope scored their runs on five hits and two walks.
The Belles chipped away at the deficit immediately in the top of the third inning. Angela Dainelli dropped a single into right-center field, and Makenzie Duncan punched a triple down the left field line to score Dainelli from first base to get the offense going. Jamie Young beat out a bunt, which also allowed Duncan to score from third. Young advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Callis before moving up to third on a wild pitch. Cassie Young then drove in Jamie with a bunt single of her own to make it a 7-3 game.
The Flying Dutch got two runs back in the fifth inning, but the Belles continued to battle in the late innings of the game. Jillian Busfield led off the sixth with a single up the middle before Victoria Connelly came in to pinch run. Morgan Raymer drew a full-count walk, and Nina Vlahiotis came on to replace Raymer as pinch runner for the Belles. Caitlyn Migawa moved the pair of seniors up 60 feet on a sacrifice bunt, and Kayla Chapman drove in Connelly from third with a ground out to the right side of the field to make it a 9-4 game.
The Hope offense, however, was tough to stop. The Flying Dutch scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game 12-4.
Morgan Raymer shouldered the loss in the circle after 1.2 innings of work. Sarah Burke came on in relief in the second inning and closed out the final 3.2 innings of play.
Makenzie Duncan was 1-for-2 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored for the Belles. Jamie Young chipped in a hit, an RBI, and scored once. Cassie Young and Kayla Chapman each drove in a run, and Angela Dainelli and Victoria Connelly each scored a run.
The Belles (20-10, 7-5 MIAA) are back on the field on Tuesday, April 21 when they host Kalamazoo for a conference doubleheader starting at 3:30 p.m.