Belles Belt Out Two More Wins in Florida
CLERMONT, Fla. - The Saint Mary's softball team used some big hits to bolster their offense while picking up two more wins on their spring break trip on Monday. The Belles earned a 7-2 win over Thiel in the morning before taking a 6-3 decision against Stockton a few hours later.
In the first game of the day, the Belles had strong scoring opportunities in the first, third, and fourth innings as Saint Mary's put runners on both second and third with fewer than two outs. The Belles, however, would strand all six of those runners through their first four trips to the plate.
Thiel, meanwhile, took advantage of their first strong scoring chance. The Tomcats pushed two runs across on a sharply-hit ball down the third base line to score runners from second and third in the second inning.
The score remained 2-0 in favor of Thiel until the Belles broke through in a big way in the fifth inning. Jamie Young had a one-out single to left field, and Cassie Young kept the inning alive with two outs after reaching on a grounder to second base which looked to have taken a tough final bounce before the defense could play it. Jillian Busfield made the extended inning count with a three-run blast to left field to put Saint Mary's up 3-2.
The Belles were not done yet. Caitlyn Migawa reached on a bouncy grounder to shortstop which allowed the sophomore to safely reach first base. Jackie Martinez followed Migawa with a strong hit which glanced off the end of the third baseman's glove to put a pair of Belles aboard. Kayla Chapman came in to pinch hit, and the junior hit what initially looked like it might be the inning-ending fielder's choice. Martinez, however, came up with the big hustle play and beat out the flip to second base to further extend the inning. Makenzie Duncan made the Tomcats pay for the miscues with a two-run single to right field to push the Belles' lead to 5-2.
Saint Mary's added two more runs in the sixth inning. Sarah Callis had a lead-off walk, Jamie Young was hit by a pitch, and Kayla Raymer beat out the sacrifice bunt attempt for a single to load the bases. Callis then scored on a sacrifice fly by Cassie Young. Two batters later, Jamie Young scored on a single by Caitlyn Migawa to put the Belles up 7-2 late in the game.
The offensive output was more than enough for the combined pitching efforts of Sarah Burke and Morgan Raymer. Burke went four complete while earning the pitching win while Raymer threw three innings and did not allow any runs.
For Busfield, the home run in the fifth inning was the 18th of her career. Jackie Martinez went 3-for-4 with three singles, and Sarah Callis added a double and a walk.
The Belles turned right around to square off against Stockton. Saint Mary's gained the upper hand first while keeping the Ospreys off the scoreboard early. Stockton had runners on first and second in the first inning as well as a runner on third in the second inning, but the Belles came up with the defensive plays when they needed them.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Belles posted four runs on just three hits. Cassie Young drew a lead-off walk, and Jillian Busfield punched a single to right field to put runners at the corners. After Busfield stole second, Caitlyn Migawa had a one-out single to right field to plate Young. Two batters later, Makenzie Duncan delivered a big punch with a three-run home run to center field to put Saint Mary's ahead 4-0 through two complete.
Stockton got a run back in the top of the third on three singles and added a solo home run in the fourth to cut the Belles' lead in half at 4-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Saint Mary's got a run back. Duncan tallied a double for her second hit in as many trips to the dish and scored on an error by the Ospreys' second baseman to make it 5-2 in favor of the Belles.
Stockton pushed another run across in the top of the fifth, but the Belles limited the damage by forcing the Ospreys to strand a pair of runners to end the threat.
Saint Mary's came up with the answer to Stockton again in the bottom half of the inning. Jamie Young singled on a bunt, and Kayla Raymer drew a walk to put two on base for the Belles. Jillian Busfield laced a single down the left field line allowing Young to score from second while putting Saint Mary's up 6-3.
The Belles' defense came up with a big double play in the top of the sixth and closed out the win while not allowing a runner to move past second base over the final two innings of play.
Jessica Alberts went 3.2 innings in the circle and allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out three. Mary Green threw an inning and a third with two strikeouts while surrendering a run. Sarah Burke, meanwhile, earned the win in relief after throwing two innings and allowing just one hit while striking out one.
Makenzie Duncan paced the Belles with a 3-for-3 effort at the plate against Stockton. The freshman had a three-run home run, a double, and scored two runs. Jillian Busfield went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Jamie Young was 2-for-4 at the dish against the Ospreys and scored a run.
The Belles (4-0) are back on the field tomorrow when they take on Bethany at 11:00 a.m. and Webster at 1:00 p.m. in Clermont, Florida.