Success continues to be the standard for the Saint Mary’s softball program. The Belles won at least half of their games for the eleventh consecutive season, made their eighth appearance in the top-four MIAA Tournament, and earned their first regional ranking under head coach Kelli Zache. The team looks to improve on those benchmarks from last season while continuing the program’s tradition of success in 2017.
Caitlyn Migawa ’17, Cassie Young ’18, Jamie Young ’18, and Morgan Raymer ’18 help lead a group whose sites are set on surpassing recent success in 2017. The four Belles had nearly half of the team’s hits in 2016 while having a hand in over 400 outs defensively. Migawa, the lone senior on the squad this upcoming spring, has been a consistent contributor to the team’s success on and off the field. She has collected over 100 career hits in just over 100 games and boasts better than a .960 career fielding percentage on defense.
Cassie Young, Jamie Young, and Morgan Raymer all earned All-MIAA recognition from league coaches in 2016. Cassie Young was named Most Valuable Player and had a spot on the All-MIAA First Team after leading the conference in batting average and total hits while posting multiple hits in nine of 16 league games. Jamie Young was also tabbed as an All-MIAA First Team honoree, and Morgan Raymer was an All-MIAA Second Team selection. Both Cassie and Jamie Young were named to the All-Central Region list by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Classmates Makenzie Duncan '18, Kelsey Richards '18, Mary Green '18, and Jessica Alberts '18 all return and will help contribute to the team's success in 2017. Duncan set a new single-season school record with eight triples a season ago while posting the second-highest batting average on the team. Richards was a defensive stalwart at second base, boasting a 1.000 fielding percentage in 30 games. Green and Alberts helped round out a pitching corps which posted a collective .282 opponents' batting average while surrendering fewer earned runs than the Belles put up on the scoreboard.
Along with several returning players and a handful of eager newcomers, the Belles have high expectations for the 2017 season. The team will be tested early and often during their season-opening spring break trip to the Spring Games in Clermont, Florida. Saint Mary's squares off against three teams who made an appearance in the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament, including NCAA Super Regional participant Manhattanville, while also taking on three additional foes who boasted at least 20 wins in 2016. A challenging non-conference slate of competition sets the Belles against NCAA Tournament participants Aurora and Wheaton as well as 20+ win North Central and Manchester. That challenging non-conference slate will prepare the team for the highly-competitive, tough slate of MIAA play. Saint Mary's opens conference action on March 29 when they travel to Olivet for a doubleheader.