Saint Mary's, who won eight of 10 games over its spring break trip in Ft. Myers, Fla., will look to add two more wins to its record as the Belles host Manchester today in a doubleheader, Saint Mary's home opener.
"We don't plan on making any changes," head coach Erin Sullivan said. "We will approach Manchester the same way we approach every game, by coming out with intensity."
Sullivan said her team's has good mental toughness and enthusiasm headed into the matchup with Manchester. She said this mentality is helped by an oft-repeated phrase - "win every inning."
Junior pitcher Calli Davison will start the first game of the doubleheader. Davison (5-2) won every game she started in Florida, and pitched shutouts in three of the games. Sullivan said Davison continues to improve every year.
"[Davison's] hard work this summer, especially on her rise ball, has paid off," she said. "She has really become a great No. 1 pitcher for our team. She is going to have a great season for us."
Saint Mary's is known for its explosive offense, which has so far outscored opponents 76-26. Highlighting this offense are sophomores Ashley Peterson and Maureen Healy, junior Ashley Fusaro, and senior McKenna Corrigan. Corrigan also serves as the team's second starting pitcher.
The team is continuing to improve in several offensive areas. In practice, the Belles are becoming more aggressive on the bases and have worked on hitting outside pitches. Sullivan looks to implement these skills against Manchester.
Sullivan sees an advantage in playing at home.
"We tend to do very well at home, so we would like to start strong again this season," she said. "I think it's important to have the mindset of winning every game, whether it's home or away."
Manchester is the first of three non-conference teams the Belles will play before beginning conference play. Saint Mary's, a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, plays its first conference game March 29 against Calvin.
During the 2007 season, the Belles finished third in the MIAA.
"[Today] is just another test before we start playing conference games," Sullivan said.