Softball Season Recap
- The Belles won at least half of their games for the eleventh consecutive season, and the team made their eighth appearance in the top-four MIAA Tournament.
- Cassie Young was named MIAA Most Valuable Player as she, Jamie Young, and Morgan Raymer were All-MIAA selections.
- Both Youngs were tabbed All-Region by the NFCA.
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, and the team made their eighth appearance in the top-four MIAA Tournament.
The team opened the season on a tear at the Spring Games in Florida. Saint Mary’s posted an 8-1 record while outscoring the opposition 73-32 through their first nine games. The lone loss during that stretch was a 7-4 final against NCAC Tournament champion and NCAA Tournament participant Wittenberg. The eighth win of that stretch was a 7-5 decision against then-ranked No. 8 Alfred.
The Belles stayed competitive in doubleheaders against NCAA Tournament participants Wheaton and Aurora while coming up short in all four games. A decisive 10-2 win in six innings over North Central put Saint Mary’s back on track in late March, and the Belles earned their tenth win of the season in a 9-0 win at Manchester just after Easter.
The first of two weather-halted doubleheaders saw the team make quick work of the resumption of game two against Adrian with a 13-5 win in five innings for their first MIAA win of the season. Two days later, the Belles took down Alma in a 3-2 ten-inning nailbiter to hand the Scots their first conference loss of the year. A setback in game two was followed up by a stretch where the Belles claimed five of six league games to sit at 7-3 in MIAA play and saw the team earn their first regional ranking (eighth) in head coach Kelli Zache’s tenure. The offense deluged the opposition as Saint Mary’s held a 45-12 edge over the competition during that same span of play.
After dropping both ends of a conference doubleheader at Hope, the Belles nearly clinched a fourth place finish in the league with their doubleheader sweep at Kalamazoo during the last week of the season. The Belles finished tied for fourth, and by virtue of their win over Alma earlier in the year, Saint Mary’s made their eighth appearance in the top-four MIAA Tournament at the start of May.
Facing off against top-seeded Alma in their opening contest of the conference tournament, Saint Mary’s broke through with a run in the top of the sixth inning. A pair of solo home runs – one in the sixth and a walk-off shot in the eighth – put the Belles in the elimination side of the bracket. Squaring off against Trine just a short while later, the Thunder ended the season for Saint Mary’s in a 5-0 final.
In 37 games during 2016, the Belles were shut out just four times and were not on the short end of a mercy-rule game. As a team, Saint Mary’s was 52nd in triples, 55th in fielding percentage, 60th in batting average, 85th in doubles, 88th in scoring, and 92nd in slugging percentage out of more than 400 NCAA Division III softball programs. Makenzie Duncan ranked third nationally with a school-record eight triples while Cassie Young was in the top 20 in batting average. Jamie Young had her name among the top 100 players in both runs per game and toughest to strikeout categories.
Cassie Young, Jamie Young, and Morgan Raymer all earned All-MIAA recognition from league coaches after the completion of the regular season. 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 in 2016. Jamie Young was also tabbed as an All-MIAA First Team honoree, and Morgan Raymer was an All-MIAA Second Team selection.
A few weeks later, both Cassie and Jamie Young were named to the All-Central Region list by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Cassie was one of 15 student-athletes to earn All-Region First Team honors while Jamie was one of 15 selections for the All-Region Third Team. It marked just the third time since 2007 that multiple members of the Saint Mary's softball team have been recognized with All-Region accolades by the NFCA.