Softball Coaching Staff
Kelli Zache returns for her fifth season as the head softball coach at Saint Mary's in the 2017-18 academic year.
During her first season at the helm of the program, Zache led the Belles to their ninth season in-a-row of winning at least half of their games. She also coached a player to First Team All-MIAA and First Team All-Region honors in 2014. In the 2015 season, the Belles finished fourth in the MIAA and earned their first MIAA Tournament victory since the 2006 season. Three of her players were Second Team All-MIAA selections after the team posted a 23-14 overall record.
The 2016 season saw the Belles pick up the MIAA Most Valuable Player honor, two First Team All-MIAA performers, and a Second Team All-MIAA honoree while making their second consecutive MIAA Tournament appearance. In 2017, the Belles once again had the MIAA Most Valuable Player while boasting four All-MIAA performers. The squad strung together the program's longest winning streak (12 games) and had the best start in conference play in program history (10-0) while making their third consecutive MIAA Tournament. Academically, the 2017 squad excelled by boasting the best GPA among all eight Saint Mary's programs (3.633) on their way to picking up the MIAA Team GPA Award. A program-best ten softball student-athletes were named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll for maintaining a 3.5 GPA or above for the entire academic year.
A native of Niles, Michigan, Zache was a two-time first team all-state selection at Brandywine High School. She went on to play three seasons at Western Michigan University before finishing her career at Bethel College. While at Western Michigan, she threw a one-hit shutout win against Virginia.
In her final season at Bethel, she was a three-time Mid-Central Conference Pitcher of the Week and was a first team all-conference selection. She posted a 22-5 record in the circle with a 1.77 ERA in 166.1 innings pitched. A first team all-region pitcher, she was named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team at Nationals while also earning NCCAA All-American honors.
Zache has gained coaching experience at the University of Notre Dame's summer camps and served as an assistant coach at both Bethel College and St. Joseph High School. She was also an ASA certified umpire from 2008 to 2012.
Zache is a 2011 graduate of Bethel College where she earned bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Emily Ross enters her third season with the Saint Mary’s softball coaching staff in the 2017-18 academic year. A four-year letterwinner at Alma College, Ross played in 164 career games, tallied a .334 career batting average, and had a .560 career slugging percentage while playing first base for the Scots.
The Scots finished second in the MIAA regular season before winning the conference tournament and claiming an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament during her freshman year in 2009. Ross had the third-highest batting average among MIAA players that season with a .457 clip en route to being named First Team All-MIAA. As a sophomore, the Scots won the regular season conference title and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. Ross was again tabbed First Team All-MIAA after hitting .449 in league games.
In 2011, the Scots won their second consecutive regular season MIAA title and were an at-large selection for the NCAA Tournament. During her senior season, Ross was named MIAA Position Player of the Week in week three of the season. Alma placed second overall in the conference regular season standings before winning the MIAA Tournament for yet another NCAA Tournament automatic qualifying bid. Ross led the conference in RBIs (20) and was second in runs scored (18) as a senior. She was named Second Team All-MIAA for her third all-conference selection of her career.
Ross is a 2012 graduate of Alma College.
Deb Zache enters her fifth season as a volunteer assistant coach for the Belles in the 2017-18 academic year.
Deb has been involved in coaching softball at many levels over the past several years. She and her late husband, Rick Zache, were actively involved with instruction and coaching in the Niles Brandywine Girls Softball Association. The pair started the first travel team from the area, Intensity, in 2002. Intensity was a highly successful travel program and yielded many collegiate softball players over the years.
Kendra Zache enters her second season as a volunteer pitching coach for the Belles in the 2017-18 academic year.