Posted: Apr 22, 2019
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's softball team bounced back from a 5-2 loss in game one with a 9-7 game-two victory over Alma on Monday afternoon.
Alma used a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to build a quick 2-0 lead, but the Belles responded right away in the bottom half of the inning. Kelsey Keilman led things off by being hit by a pitch, and Madelynne Keller hit an infield single to put two on base. JoAnna Keilman added an infield single of her own to load the bases, and Mandi Hettinger laced a single off the fully outstretched glove of the Alma third baseman to plate Kelsey Keilman. Zoe Bruni then grounded out to the right side of the infield to push Keller across to tie the game at 2-2. Megan Knudsen was hit by a pitch to load the bases back up, but a line drive and a ground out ended the scoring chance.
Krystal Harris and Kelsey Keilman led off the second inning with consecutive singles, but the Belles were unable to take the lead. Defensively, Saint Mary's forced the Scots into stranding a runner in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings.
Alma regained the lead by scoring three runs with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. A one-out single was followed by a two-out double, a walk, and a two-run triple to give the Scots a 5-2 advantage. Zoe Bruni wrung up a big strikeout to end the inning. In the sixth, Alma threatened again as the Scots loaded the bases with just one out gone before Megan Knudsen had an unassisted double play at shortstop by tagging out a runner and stepping on second to close the top half of the inning. The Belles, however, were unable to get the offense going enough to come back in the opener as Saint Mary's left two runners on base in the sixth and one in the seventh in the 5-2 final.
Mandi Hettinger was 3-for-4 at the plate in game one with an RBI. Krystal Harris added a 2-for-3 showing at the dish. Kelsey Keilman and Madelynne Keller each had a hit and scored a run. Zoe Bruni added a hit and an RBI. Bruni went the distance in the circle and struck out five.
The Belles took the lead in the top of the first inning. Kelsey Keilman hit a lead-off single and moved to second on a ground out. Two batters later, Mandi Hettinger drove in Keilman with a two-out double to left field.
Alma countered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Three singles saw the Scots push one run across home plate. A popped up bunt followed by a strikeout nearly got the Belles out of the inning, but a triple to right-center field allowed the other two runners to score for a 3-1 lead for Alma. Hailey Hisaw drew a foul pop up to first base, however, to stop any further scoring.
Alma added to their lead with a run in the bottom of the second inning, but the Belles shifted the momentum in a big way in the top of the third. Saint Mary's sent nine batters to the plate in the third inning as Alyssa Gutierrez, Kelsey Keilman, and Madelynne Keller each hit a single to start the inning with Gutierrez scoring on Keller's hit. Hettinger hit a sacrifice fly to push Keilman across from third base. Molly Mirabelli kept the inning alive with a two-out single up the middle, and Megan Knudsen drove in Keller with a single. A fielder's choice by Krystal Harris loaded the bases, and Mirabelli scored on a wild pitch to put Saint Mary's up 5-4.
The Belles added two more runs in the top of the fifth. Gutierrez again led off with a single, and JoAnna Keilman drove in Gutierrez from second with a two-out double down the left field line. Keilman then scored on a single by Hettinger as the Belles forged a 7-4 advantage.
Saint Mary's plated two crucial runs in the top of the sixth inning. Kelsey Keilman and Madelynne Keller hit back-to-back one-out singles. Two batters later, Hettinger lofted a fly ball into the outfield before the Alma left fielder failed to catch the ball. Keilman and Keller were both running on contact with two outs gone, and the pair scored easily on the error for a 9-4 lead.
Down to their final at-bats, Alma had a chance to tie or walk off with a win in the bottom of the seventh. A lead-off home run gave the Scots some life, and an error two batters later put a pair of runners on base. A fielder's choice gave the Belles a much-needed out, but a two-run double to right-center field cut the Saint Mary's lead to just 9-7 with a runner aboard for the Scots. A come-back grounder was snagged by Hettinger in the pitching circle, and the freshman threw out the lead runner trying to advance from second to third. A single by the next batter kept the game alive as Alma put the potential game-winning run up to bat. The Belles, however, closed out the game as a ground out to Alyssa Gutierrez at third wrapped up the 9-7 win for Saint Mary's.
Kelsey Keilman was 3-for-5 at the plate in game two with three runs. Hettinger posted a 2-for-3 effort with a double and three RBI. Alyssa Gutierrez was 2-fofr-3 with two runs. Megan Knudsen added two hits and an RBI, and Madelynne Keller collected a pair of hits, two runs, and an RBI. JoAnna Keilman had a double, an RBI, and a run while Molly Mirabelli scored once. Hettinger earned the pitching win in relief after closing out the final 5.2 of play with three strikeouts. Hailey Hisaw had a no decision after 1.1 innings of work.
The Belles (11-20, 7-5 MIAA) are back in action on Thursday when they host Hope for a conference doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m.