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Belles Tripped Up by Knights

Six members of the softball team huddle together prior to the start of an inning.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Saint Mary's softball team fell in a pair of conference games against Calvin by 2-1 and 7-2 scores on Saturday afternoon.
In game one, the host Knights put a pair of unearned runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. A lead-off walk was followed by a single. Zoe Bruni drew a fly out for the first out, but an error on the next play allowed the runner to score from second while the Knights put runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly then plated the second run before Bruni closed out the inning with a strikeout.
The Belles had the bases loaded in the top of the third inning. Krystal Harris hit a lead-off single, and JoAnna Keilman added a two-out single. Mandi Hettinger drew a walk, but the Belles were unable to cut into the deficit. Calvin, meanwhile, had a runner on third base in the bottom of the fifth until Bruni shut the door with a strikeout swinging.
Down to the final at-bats of the game, the Belles worked to put together a two-out rally in the top of the seventh. Sydney Swartz laced a double down the left field line. Krystal Harris then followed suit with a double of her own to left field, allowing Swartz to score on the play. Unfortunately, that was as close as Saint Mary's would get to Calvin as a strikeout ended the game by the 2-1 score.
Zoe Bruni went the distance in the circle as the senior did not allow an earned run while surrendering just one hit - a first-inning single - and striking out three to go along with four walks. Krystal Harris went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Sydney Swartz was 1-for-3 with a double and a run. JoAnna Keilman, Mandi Hettinger, and Zoe Bruni each added a hit.
The Knights posted six runs in the top of the first inning of game two with only one of those runs being earned. Calvin used five hits, two errors, and a walk to score those six runs.
The Belles responded right away in the bottom half of the inning. Kelsey Keilman led off with a walk before moving to second on a wild pitch. Madelynne Keller drew a walk, and Keilman stole third to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch then allowed Keilman to score as Keller moved to second. The sophomore advanced to third on a ground out, and an error on a ball hit by Mandi Hettinger then allowed Keller to score to make it a 6-2 game. Hettinger advanced to second on a passed ball, and Alison Alberts drew a walk as the Belles kept the inning going offensively. A pitching change by the Knights was followed by a ground out and a flyout, however, as the inning ended with the two runners left in scoring position.
Saint Mary's had a chance to score in the bottom of the second inning as a pair of Calvin errors led to the Belles having runners at the corners with two outs. A pop up ended the scoring chance as the game moved onward.
Calvin added a run in the top of the fifth inning. The Knights led off with a triple, and an infield single scored the runner for the 7-2 lead. Another single put runners on first and second, but a big defensive play gave Saint Mary's some momentum. Alyssa Gutierrez collected grounder at the hot corner and stepped on third before making the throw across to first in time for the 5-3 double play. Mandi Hettinger then drew a ground out to second to end the inning defensively. The Belles had their last strong scoring chance of the game in the bottom half of the sixth. Hettinger led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch before making it to third on a ground out, but the offense was unable to push the freshman across as a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.
Hailey Hisaw had the game-two loss in the circle after two-thirds of an inning. The freshman allowed only one earned run on five hits. Mandi Hettinger closed out the final 6.1 innings with an earned run, two strikeouts, and no walks. The Belles were unable to tally a hit in the nightcap as Kelsey Keilman, Madelynne Keller, Mandi Hettinger, and Alison Alberts each drew a walk. Keilman and Keller each scored once.
The Belles (9-18, 6-4 MIAA) have postponed their home softball doubleheader originally scheduled for Sunday against Elmhurst. The team is back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Franklin for a makeup doubleheader starting at 3:30 p.m.