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Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's splits doubleheader with Calvin

After sweeping Olivet on the road this past weekend, Saint Mary’s returned home to split its doubleheader Monday with Calvin, winning the first game, 4-0, before dropping the second contest, 6-4.

Defense was the key for the Belles (15-12, 5-3 MIAA) in their win of the two-game set, as they managed to shut out the Knights (14-12, 4-6 MIAA). Saint Mary’s starting pitcher, sophomore right-hander Morgan Raymer, tossed a gem, giving up just five hits in her seven innings. The Mt. Washington, Kentucky, native pitched a complete game, walking one batter and striking out three.

The game was a close one throughout, despite Raymer’s strong showing. The sixth inning became the turning point in what had been a scoreless affair up to that point. Calvin's first two batters of the frame were able to get on base, leaving Raymer to work her way out of a tough situation.

The runners advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, and then Raymer walked the next batter to load the bases with one out. The Belles were quickly able to control the situation and get off the field, however, as Calvin’s next two batters flied out and grounded out, respectively. Belles sophomore shortstop and co-captain Jamie Young said those two outs made for a huge turning point in the game.

“Calvin had bases loaded and didn't score,” Young said. “That was a momentum shift in our favor.”

The Belles harnessed this momentum to score the only runs of the game in the bottom of the frame. Six different Belles reached base in the inning, highlighted by Young stealing second base, an RBI by senior third baseman Kayla Chapman and a run-scoring single to center by junior first baseman and co-captain Caitlyn Migawa. The Belles scored two earned runs and two unearned runs, which were the result of an error by the Knights’ third baseman.

Young is pleased with her team’s performance in the first game and their ability to stay focused.

“[Calvin freshman right-hander Anna Gernant] pitched very well in the first game,” Young said. “We were able to play good defense when we were unable to score, and eventually we were able to put runs on the board. Our pitching was great.”

The second showdown of the day between the Belles and Knights did not carry the same result for Saint Mary's. Sophomore right fielder Makenzie Duncan ensured that the Belles got off to a strong start, tripling down the right-field line in the top of the first inning to give the Belles a two-run lead. Duncan was eventually driven home by Chapman, extending Saint Mary's lead to 3-0. The Belles’ momentum was stifled quickly, however, as they failed to score again until the sixth inning.

Saint Mary’s’ starting pitcher, sophomore right-hander Mary Green, struggled to contain the Knights’ offense. The Brighton, Michigan, native gave up three solo home runs in the 2 1/3 innings she pitched.

The Belles entered the sixth inning trailing by three runs. A solo home run from senior catcher and co-captain Jillian Busfield helped to close the gap slightly, but the Belles were unable to make up the deficit and ended up falling to the Knights, 6-4.

Although splitting the two-game set with Calvin was not ideal, Young said she was not particularly concerned about it affecting the rest of the season.

“I think that we're playing good softball right now,” Young said. “We just need to keep practicing the fundamentals so we can stay ready and focused. Our goals for the rest of the season are to win games and make the conference tournament.”

Saint Mary's will next take the field against Albion at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Dempsey Field.