Posted: Mar 26, 2019
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's softball team earned a pair of matching 3-1 victories over visiting Manchester on Tuesday in the Belles' first home doubleheader of the season.
Game one saw the Belles jump out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Kelsey Keilman led things off with a bunt single before stealing second base. Molly Mirabelli laced a single into the outfield, allowing Keilman to score from second for the 1-0 advantage. A pair of walks by Mandi Hettinger and Zoe Bruni loaded the bases with one out. JoAnna Keilman hit a fielder's choice to the Spartans' shortstop, who over-threw the catcher at home to allow Mirabelli to score from third to double the Belles' lead. A force out at home on the next play followed by a ground out to the first baseman ended the threat before Saint Mary's could inflict any further damage.
The Belles had chances to score in both the second and third innings but were unable to push another run across. In the top of the fourth, the Spartans got on the scoreboard with a two-out double followed by a single to shallow center field to make it a 2-1 game. Zoe Bruni shut the door on the inning with a strikeout as the Belles held the narrow lead.
Saint Mary's regained a two-run lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Megan Knudsen led off with a double to left-center field. Mandi Hettinger then hit the bottom of the right-center field fence for a double of her own, which allowed Knudsen to score easily from second base.
Manchester hit a lead-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kelsey Keilman then collected a fly ball in center field before JoAnna Keilman caught a pop up behind home plate to give the Belles two outs. Megan Knudsen and Alyssa Gutierrez connected for a put out at third base on the next batted ball to end the game.
Mandi Hettinger went 2-for-2 at the plate in the opener with an RBI double. Molly Mirabelli had a hit, a run, and an RBI. Kelsey Keilman added a hit, a run, and a stolen base. Megan Knudsen had a double and a run for the Belles. Zoe Bruni picked up the pitching win after going the distance in the circle. The senior allowed one run on eight hits with five strikeouts.
The Spartans got on the scoreboard first in the nightcap as Manchester used a double, a single, and a foul sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning to plate a run for a 1-0 advantage. The Belles evened the score in the bottom of the fourth inning. Madelynne Keller bounced a single up the middle, and JoAnna Keilman drew a walk to put a pair on base. An unusual fielder's choice saw Keilman forced out at second to put runners on the corners for Saint Mary's, and Sydney Swartz delivered an RBI single to right field to score Keller.
An inning later, the Belles went ahead with a pair of runs. Kelsey Keilman drew a lead-off walk and moved up on a passed ball. Megan Knudsen dropped a triple into the right field corner near the foul line to easily score Keilman for a 2-1 Saint Mary's lead. Mandi Hettinger then drove in Knudsen with a ground out to the right side of the infield to make it 3-1. Saint Mary's nearly added another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as JoAnna Keilman led off with a triple to right-center field, but the Belles were unable to push the sophomore across as the game went into the seventh inning.
Manchester led off their final at-bats with a single to left field. Hettinger, however, wrung up back-to-back strikeouts and drew a ground out to third base to end the game by the 3-1 score.
JoAnna Keilman was 2-for-2 in game two with a triple. Megan Knudsen added a 2-for-3 effort with a triple, an RBI, and a run. Madelynne Keller collected a pair of hits and scored a run. Hailey Hisaw earned the pitching win after going five complete innings and allowing one run one just three hits while striking out a pair. Mandi Hettinger earned the save by shutting out the Spartans over the final two innings of the game and striking out a pair.
The Belles (3-12) open up their conference schedule on Saturday when they travel to Trine for a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.