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Belles Prevail Over Pacers, Saints in Florida

Mandi Hettinger throws a pitch.
LEESBURG, Fla. - The Saint Mary's softball team claimed a 10-3 win over Marywood before out-dueling St. Scholastica in a 1-0 contest on the Belles' second day of competition in Florida.
The Belles took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning against Marywood. Mandi Hettinger hit a lead-off single and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by JoAnna Keilman. Alison Alberts laced a single to put runners at the corners. Two batters later, Winnie Tomsheck drove in Hettinger from third while Paige Madden - who reached on a fielder's choice - advanced to second. The pair both advanced 60 feet on a passed ball before Alyssa Gutierrez drew a walk to load the bases. Kelsey Keilman drove in Madden and Tomsheck with a ground rule double for the 3-0 advantage.
After a three-up, three-down effort defensively, Saint Mary's picked up right where they had left off with two more runs in the top of the third. Sydney Swartz laced a double to right-center field, and Hettinger collected her second single in as many at-bats to put runners at the corners. JoAnna Keilman drove in Swartz with a ground out. With Hettinger on third two batters later, a wild pitch allowed the sophomore to score for a 5-0 lead.
The Belles added on to their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Kelsey Keilman hit a one-out triple to right-center field and scored on a Mandi Hettinger sacrifice fly to make it 6-0. The Pacers cut the Saint Mary's lead in half with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The Belles, however, responded in the top of the sixth with four more runs. Kelsey Keilman led off the inning with a walk and stole second base. Sydney Swartz hit a one-out single as Keilman raced over to third. An error allowed Hettinger to reach first as the Belles loaded the bases with one out. All three advanced 60 feet with Keilman scoring on a wild pitch, and JoAnna Keilman drove in Swartz with a single up the middle. Alison Alberts put down a well-executed squeeze bunt for a sacrifice out, and Hettinger and JoAnna Keilman both scored on the play.
Defensively, the Belles limited the Pacers to just seven batters over the final two innings of play as Saint Mary's did not let Marywood generate any threatening offense. JoAnna Keilman closed out the game with three ground outs at shortstop in the bottom of the seventh to secure the 10-3 win.
Mandi Hettinger, Sydney Swartz, and Kelsey Keilman each posted two hits for the Belles. Hettinger scored three times and drove in one run. Swartz had a double and scored a pair of runs. Keilman added a double, a triple, two runs, and two RBI with a walk. JoAnna Keilman drove in two runs and scored once, and Alison Alberts collected a pair of RBI. Winnie Tomsheck collected an RBI and scored a run.
Hailey Hisaw earned the pitching win after going four-plus innings with four strikeouts and no extra-base hits. Mandi Hettinger collected a save after entering the game with a three-run lead and allowing only two singles over the final three innings with one strikeout.
Game two against St. Scholastica proved to be a pitchers' duel. The Belles forced the Saints into stranding a runner on second in the top of the first inning, but St. Scholastica returned the favor in the bottom half of the inning as Kelsey Keilman was stranded at third base. Mandi Hettinger shut the door on an opportunity for the Saints with a runner on second as the sophomore dialed up a strikeout looking to end the inning. Offensively, Sydney Swartz was unable to move beyond second base in the bottom of the fourth, and Alison Alberts had a lead-off double in the bottom of the fifth come up empty-handed in terms of runs for the Belles.
In the top of the seventh, the Saints led things off with a double before Hettinger drew back-to-back pop ups. The next batter drew a full-count walk, but Natalie Quinlan cut down the runner trying to steal third base on the play - her second runner caught stealing in the game - to end the inning. Hettinger then helped her own cause in the bottom of the seventh with a lead-off double of her own. She moved to third on an infield ground out before setting up one of the more bizarre endings of a game. Paige Madden battled at the plate before working to a full count. The freshman then drew a walk while the St. Scholastica defense thought a strikeout had been called. The Saints' catcher tossed the ball back to the pitching circle and broke toward the dugout. Hettinger was on top of the play and raced home, sliding in before the throw to score the game-winning run in the 1-0 final.
Alison Alberts was 2-for-3 in the game with a double. Mandi Hettinger went 1-for-3 with a double and scored the lone run of the game. Natalie Quinlan added a hit and caught a pair of runners trying to steal defensively. Hettinger, meanwhile, picked up the complete-game shutout win after scattering three hits over seven innings with two walks and one strikeout.
The Belles (4-2) face Rhodes and Ohio Wesleyan on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., respectively, at Hancock Park in Clermont, Florida.