Belles Battle Thunder, Bounce Flying Dutch in MIAA Tournament
ANGOLA, Ind. - The Saint Mary's softball team proved yet again that they can play with anyone. The Belles pushed fifth-ranked Trine to to limit in the opening game before falling 8-7 in nine innings. Saint Mary's turned right around and knocked off No. 20 Hope by a 7-3 score in the first elimination game of the MIAA Tournament.
Against Trine, the Thunder posted two runs in the second inning and two in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead. After stranding a runner on third in the fourth inning, the Belles broke up the shutout with a run in the fifth. Kayla Chapman dropped a one-out single into center field before Jamie Young and Sarah Callis hit back-to-back two-out singles to score Chapman from second.
An inning later, the Belles swayed the momentum and the score in their own favor with a dramatic four-run outburst. Morgan Raymer and Caitlyn Migawa drew one-out walks after Jillian Busfield had led the inning off with a walk. Kayla Chapman then delivered an opposite-field grand slam to give the Belles a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Cassie Young led off with a single to the shortstop. Saint Mary's then extended their lead to 7-4 after Jillian Busfield blasted a two-run home run. The home run was the 23rd of her career and gave her sole possession of the program's career home run record.
After Trine led off the seventh with a solo home run, the Belles came up with back-to-back outs to edge within the win. But a walk followed up by a home run pulled the Thunder even to send the game to extra innings.
The Belles put a pair of runners on base in the top of the ninth but were unable to push a run across to regain the lead. In the bottom half of the inning, Trine had a lead-off double before ending the game with a double down the left field line for the 8-7 final.
Mary Green suffered the loss in the circle after three-plus innings of work. She struck out one and had seven ground outs on 68 pitches. Morgan Raymer threw five innings and struck out three for the Belles in the no-decision effort.
Kayla Chapman was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four runs batted in for the Belles. Cassie Young went 3-for-5 and scored a run to help pace the Belles.
In the game against Hope, the Belles scored three runs in the first, two in the second, and one in the third for a quick 6-1 lead.
Jamie Young started off the first inning with a single and a stolen base. Two outs later, Jillian Busfield drove in Young with a single to center field. Makenzie Ducan then laced a double to center field to put runners on second and third. Morgan Raymer delivered a double of her own to plate both Busfield and Ducan for the 3-0 Saint Mary's advantage.
After the Flying Dutch plated a run, Kayla Raymer started off the bottom of the second inning with a walk and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Kelsey Richards. Jamie Young roped a single down the left field line to drive in Raymer before advancing to third on an error on the same play. Sarah Callis drove in Young with a single through the right side to push the Belles' lead to 5-1.
Morgan Raymer pushed the Saint Mary's lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the third inning with a line drive home run to center field.
The Belles added another insurance run and had the chance the end the game via the mercy rule in the fifth. Morgan Raymer started off the inning by reaching on a dropped fly ball by the left fielder. Kayla Raymer drew a one-out walk to put a pair aboard for the Belles. Jamie Young then loaded the bases after an infield single with two outs. Sarah Callis drew a walk to plate Morgan Raymer and put the Belles up 7-1 with the game-ending run on second. The offensive effort, however, was stopped short to end the inning.
The Flying Dutch plated a run in the sixth on a single and a double before adding one in their final at-bats with a solo home run, but the run support was more than enough for the Belles as Saint Mary's eliminated Hope by the 7-3 final.
Mary Green earned the complete-game victory in the circle with one strike out, no walks, and three runs on six hits in seven innings of work.
Jamie Young was 4-for-4 and scored two runs with an RBI in the win. Sarah Callis, Jillian Busfield, and Morgan Raymer each posted two hits. Raymer's two hits were a two-run double and a solo home run.
The Belles (23-13) return to Trine tomorrow to take on the host Thunder in another elimination game starting at 12:00 p.m. The winner of that game then plays Alma for the conference championship.