Belles Bow Out of MIAA Tournament
- Jamie Young, Cassie Young, and Jillian Busfield each had two hits against Alma.
- Makenzie Duncan went 3-for-3 against Trine.
- The Belles ended the season 19-18 and had their eleventh consecutive season with a .500 or higher winning percentage.
ALMA, Mich. - The bounces did not quite go the Belles' way as the Saint Mary's softball team lost 2-1 in eight innings against top-seeded Alma and 5-0 against Trine to be eliminated from the MIAA Tournament on Thursday.
In game one, the Belles were deadlocked in a tight battle against the No. 13 ranked Scots as neither team was able to get on the scoreboard until late in the game. Saint Mary's shut down a two-out rally by Alma in the bottom of the third by forcing the Scots into stranding two runners on base. In the top of the fourth, the Belles aimed to put together their own two-out rally. Jillian Busfield blasted a double over the center fielder's head, and Caitlyn Migawa dropped in a single to left field to put runners on the corners. Kayla Chapman won a lengthy at bat with a walk to load the bases, but a strikeout ended the threat.
Saint Mary's was able to break through in the top of the sixth inning. Cassie Young led off with a bunt single, and Busfield added her second single in as many at bats to put a pair aboard. Migawa put down a sacrifice bunt and was safe on an error to load the bases. With Kayla Chapman up to bat, Migawa broke hard toward second base on a pitch, and the Alma catcher threw behind the Saint Mary's first baseman to try to pick her off. Immediately, Young took off to home plate and was safe at the dish as Busfield and Migawa both advanced into scoring position. A strike out and two run down plays between third and home prevented Saint Mary's from inflicting any more damage in the inning as the Belles took the 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
The Scots quickly knotted the score at 1-1 with a two-out solo home run, but the Belles immediately threatened to regain the lead in the top of the seventh. Jamie Young beat out an infield single before being forced out at second on a fielder's choice by Makenzie Duncan. Cassie Young then added a bunt single to put runners on first and second with two outs, but an infield ground out ended the inning.
The Belles got out of a big jam in the bottom of the seventh after Alma put their lead-off batter on base and moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. An error saw the Scots have runners at second and third with just one out, but Morgan Raymer drew a pop up and wrung up a strike out to end the inning. Alma, however, ended the game in the bottom of the eighth with a one-out solo home run for the 2-1 final.
Jamie Young, Cassie Young, and Jillian Busfield each went 2-for-4 for the Belles in game one. Busfield had a double and scored the Belles' run. Caitlyn Migawa and Kayla Chapman each registered a hit.
Morgan Raymer threw all 7.1 innings and struck out four while walking just one and shouldering the loss in the circle.
Against Trine, the Thunder jumped out to a 2-0 lead through the first half-inning of play with a two-out two-run home run. The Belles had their first strong chance of scoring in the bottom of the third inning. Jamie Young drew a two-out walk, and Makenzie Duncan dropped a single into shallow right field to put two on board. A running snag in right field by the Thunder right fielder ended the inning as the Belles were unable to capitalize with runners on base.
Trine added to their lead with another two-run home run and an unearned run in the fifth to go up 5-0 as the bounces continued not to go in favor of the Belles. Saint Mary's continued to fight and had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Duncan led off the inning with her third hit of the game with a strong shot up the middle. Cassie Young nearly beat out a sacrifice bunt, which allowed Duncan to move into scoring position for the second time in the contest. A pair of ground outs, however, ended the inning for the Belles.
Down to their final at bats, Sarah Callis drew a walk to put a runner on with two outs. Another infield ground out closed out the game and the season for the Belles in a 5-0 final.
Makenzie Duncan was 3-for-3 against Trine for the Belles. Jillian Busfield added a 1-for-3 effort at the dish. Mary Green suffered the loss in the circle after surrendering a pair of runs in 1.2 innings of work with a strikeout. Morgan Raymer closed out the final 5.1 innings of work and struck out a pair.
The Belles end the season 19-18 overall while making their eighth MIAA Tournament appearance since 2004. It is the eleventh consecutive season that the Saint Mary's softball team has won at least half of their games during the year.