Young Blasts Walk-Off to Spur Belles' Sweep of Hornets
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Cassie Young drilled a walk-off grand slam home run to cap off a game-one comeback win against Kalamazoo for the Saint Mary's softball team as the Belles won 9-6 (8 innings) and 8-3 over the Hornets.
The Belles claimed a 1-0 lead through the first inning of play after Cassie Young reached on an error by the shortstop and scored on a double to right-center field by Morgan Raymer.
The lead disappeared in the top of the third inning when the Hornets scored four runs on five consecutive hits to pull ahead 4-1.
Saint Mary's got a run back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kayla Chapman led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Two batters later, Kelsey Richards dropped a hit into center field, which scooted past the center fielder and to the fence for an RBI triple.
The Belles threatened to cut further into the lead in the sixth inning. Morgan Raymer drew a one-out walk, and Victoria Connelly came on to pinch run. Makenzie Duncan laced a single off the first baseman's glove to put a pair aboard. On the next play, Duncan was forced out at second on a fielder's choice by Caitlyn Migawa. Nina Vlahiotis came on to pinch run for Migawa, but the runners were stranded at the corners to end the inning.
The Hornets plated a run in the top of the seventh, but the Belles limited the damage by getting out of a bases-loaded jam with a force out third to home to first double play to end the inning.
With their backs against the wall, the Belles headed into the bottom of the seventh knowing what they needed to do to stay alive in the game while keeping their hopes for a berth in the top-four MIAA Tournament alive as well.
Kelsey Richards reached first on a fielder's choice which saw Kayla Raymer get forced out at second. Richards then scored from first on a double to right-center field by Jamie Young to start the late-inning comeback. Sarah Callis sent a single up the middle to plate Young, making it a 5-4 game with just one out gone. Cassie Young then reached first on a fielding error to put a pair aboard. After a fly out, the Belles made the error-prolonged inning count as Makenzie Duncan drove in Callis for the tying run with a single to center field. The Belles could not notch the game-ending run in the seventh, however, as the game moved into the eighth after a ground out.
Kalamazoo responded with a run on a pair of hits and two ground outs to regain a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. Kayla Raymer hit her second single in as many innings with one out gone to start the rally. Angela Dainelli came in to pinch run, and Kelsey Richards drew a walk to put the game-winning run on base. After an infield fly by Jamie Young, Sarah Callis drew a walk of her own to load the bases with two outs. With a 2-1 count, Cassie Young got everything behind the next pitch and ended the game in dramatic fashion with a walk-off grand slam to center field, lifting the Belles to the 9-6 victory.
For Young, it was the first walk-off home run of her entire softball career. Kayla Raymer went 3-for-4 in the opener. Jamie Young was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run. Makenzie Duncan added a 2-for-4 effort with an RBI.
Mary Green picked up the pitching win in the circle. The freshman righthander came on in relief in the third inning and went 5.1 innings and allowed just one earned run while striking out a pair. Sarah Burke had a no decision after surrendering four runs over the first 2.2 innings of the game while striking out two.
Saint Mary's jumped out to the early lead again in the second game. Jamie Young drew a lead-off walk, moved to second on a sacrifice by Sarah Callis, advanced to third on a single by Cassie Young, and scored on a fielding error by the third baseman.
The Belles added three runs to the lead in the top of the second inning. With two outs gone, Jamie Young drew another walk before Callis reached on another fielding error. Cassie Young drove both runners in with a double to right field. Jillian Busfield sent a single through the left side of the defense, which allowed Young to score from second for the 4-0 lead.
The Hornets put a pair on the scoreboard in the third inning, but Saint Mary's came back two innings later with two more runs to maintain a comfortable lead. Morgan Raymer dropped a double into the outfield with one out in the fifth inning. Makenzie Duncan then came up and sent a two-run home run over the right-center field fence to make it a 6-2 game.
Kalamazoo answered right back with a run in their next trip to the dish on a double and a two-out single, but the Belles continued to respond.
Sarah Callis hit a lead-off double off the fence in the top of the sixth. Cassie Young followed up with a double of her own to plate Callis. Young tagged up and advanced to third on a fly out to center field by Jillian Busfield before scoring on a wild pitch to put the Belles ahead by the final 8-2 margin.
Cassie Young carried over the offense from game one into game two by going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, and three RBIs. Makenzie Duncan blasted a home run of her own in a 1-for-3 effort with two runs batted in and a run scored. Kayla Chapman was 2-for-3 at the dish, and Jamie Young and Sarah Callis each had a hit and scored two runs in the game two victory.
Morgan Raymer threw all seven innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out seven and walking none.
The Belles (22-10, 9-5 MIAA) return to action tomorrow when they host Aurora for a non-conference doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m.