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Belles Fall Twice on Opening Day

Kelsey Keilman, wearing a navy blue uniform with white socks and a white helmet, prepares to hit a pitch.
BRIGHTON, Mich. - The Saint Mary's softball team fell in a 10-2 (5 innings) contest against Madonna before shouldering a 3-2 setback against Concordia Ann Arbor at the Legacy Center on Friday.
The Belles had a scoring opportunity in the top of the first inning as Kelsey Keilman led off the game with a ground-rule double. The junior stole third base two batters later, but the Belles were unable to push her across in their first at-bats of the year.
Madonna plated three runs in the bottom half of the first inning to establish the lead early. Megan Knudsen then led off the top of the second inning by belting a solo home run to left-center field to put Saint Mary's on the scoreboard. The Crusaders, however, responded with two runs in the bottom of the second inning before adding four in the third and one run in the fourth to build a 10-1 lead.
Zoe Bruni hit a one-out single through the right side as the Belles battled to keep the game alive. Molly Keenan pinch ran for Bruni, and Alyssa Gutierrez drew a two-out walk two batters later to put runners on first and second. Kelsey Keilman delivered a key single to center field as Keenan scored from second base. The late comeback effort was not meant to be for Saint Mary's as a pop up on the next play ended the game by the 10-2 final in five innings.
Kelsey Keilman went 2-for-3 in the opener with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base. Megan Knudsen was 1-for-2 with a home run, and Zoe Bruni added a 1-for-2 effort at the dish. Bruni suffered the loss in the circle after going all four innings and striking out two.
In the second game of the day, Concordia plated a run in the bottom of the first inning. The Belles came up with a strong defensive play to get a runner out between second and third for the second out of the inning, but a two-out double allowed the Cardinals to take the lead.
Saint Mary's turned the tables on Concordia in the top of the third inning. Krystal Harris hit a one-out double, and Kelsey Keilman drove in Harris with a triple to the right-center gap. Two batters later, Megan Knudsen drove in Keilman with a single to put the Belles ahead 2-1. The bottom half of the inning saw Saint Mary's shut the door on a scoring chance for the Cardinals to end the frame. With a runner on second and two outs, Concordia laced a single to left field. The runner from second had the green light to try to score on the play, but Harris was able to cut down the runner at the plate with Natalie Quinlan applying the tag to end the inning.
The Belles got out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings after Mandi Hettinger came into the game in a relief appearance in the circle. Concordia put a runner on third with two outs with the chance to knot things up, but a pop up in foul territory was caught by Winnie Tomsheck to end the fourth. The Cardinals again put a runner on third base with two outs in their next trip to the plate, but a ground out to second base ended the threat in the fifth as the Belles held the 2-1 lead. Concordia, however, broke through in the bottom of the sixth with two runs to go ahead 3-2. Down to their final at-bats, Saint Mary's was unable to get the offense needed to tie or pull ahead as the Belles were retired in order to close out the game.
Krystal Harris was 1-for-2 with a double and a run. Kelsey Keilman went 1-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, and a run. Megan Knudsen and Sydney Swartz each added a single. Mandi Hettinger shouldered the pitching loss after allowing two runs in three innings of relief work. Hailey Hisaw had a no-decision after going three innings and striking out three while walking none.

The Belles (0-2) are off from competition until their spring break trip to Arizona in March. Saint Mary's opens that week of competition off against Dickinson and Cornell College on Sunday, March 10.