Mexico graduate Bellamy, STL CC small steps lead to big stage in college

By Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
Posted 6/12/24

Bellamy, STL CC small steps lead to big stage

Mexico graduate plays in NJCAA Division II Softball World Series

For years, Abby Bellamy has been capable of getting the big hit. 

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Mexico graduate Bellamy, STL CC small steps lead to big stage in college


For years, Abby Bellamy has been capable of getting the big hit. 

The Mexico graduate, who is coming off her freshman year at St. Louis Community College, fit in with an Archers lineup that averaged 7.2 runs per game and advanced to the program’s first NJCAA Division II Softball World Series since 2019. After five games, including four elimination-round contests, the season ended May 23 for St. Louis CC and Bellamy, who finished the season with a slash line of .306//340/.612 and seven home runs, 24 RBI, 30 hits and 15 extra-base hits in 98 at-bats.

“I was given challenges that I overcame to the best of my ability,” the former all-state Lady Bulldog Bellamy said. “Those have continued to help me grow as a player. I have learned so much from that.”

The Archers finished 45-13 and earned an at-large bid into the national tournament in Spartanburg, South Carolina, following a season they won the Region 16 championship for the seventh straight year and a Central District Tournament run that ended after a narrow 4-3 loss to nationally ranked No. 1 Parkland College. Every game except two of their 12 games in May was decided by three runs or less, including the 10-9 season-ending loss to Murray State College.

Way before that, though, Bellamy’s career didn’t start as well as she would have liked. She said had knee swelling that hindered her performance and then a concussion she sustained in practice that kept her out about a month and was limited to 41 games this season. Bellamy believes she was able to get back into the swing of things thanks to her years of travel ball experience and the instruction from her coaches.

“I had to change some stuff with my stance or the way I was fielding the ball,” Bellamy said. “I was still adjusting to that because my stance and my swing was changing throughout the whole season. I was making sure I kept my hands through the ball so I was hitting hard line drives and hitting it to somebody and getting out. Being more coachable was the thing that helped the most.”

The changes at the plate didn’t just happen from game-to-game as Bellamy said that was the case from one plate appearance to the next. Depending on the pitching the Archers faced, she said the women adjusted to better attack the pitch.

Assistant coach Joe Swiderski is someone who has played college baseball and has many years of coaching experience. Because of that, Bellamy said predicting a game’s future events and the necessary course of action comes easy to him and she has benefitted from his helpful advice aplenty. 

“He is incredibly smart,” Bellamy said. “He always knows what’s going to happen next. He most likely knows what the pitcher is going to throw to us, where the fielders are going to be standing and that kind of stuff. He’ll tell us to do something, and we’ll do it. If we execute, it will literally go exactly how he said it.”

Having coaches like that around easily convinced Bellamy to be as coachable, she said. The talent at the college level is an easy motivator too, meaning the skilled teammates Bellamy had with the Archers.

Bellamy, who is Mexico’s program single-season home run record holder among several other records, ranked third on the team in home runs behind sophomores Gretchen Trello and Jazmin Reinkmeyer, who hit 15 and nine home runs, respectively. 

“Everybody on the team wanted to be better to a certain extent,” Bellamy said. “You’re fighting for position. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and you’re better than the person by far so you’re going to get that spot no matter what. But you still have to work to maintain that position. Every game, you’re fighting to keep that position. On our team, everybody is on par with each other.”

With not just games but also time within games on the line, practice becomes a central focus and Bellamy said none of the Archers’ practice time five days a week was wasted. She said the program has a clear plan marked down on paper on what the women need to work on and the minimum amount of time they need to spend on each mechanic.

“All of those drills were small little drills that focused on mechanics basically,” Bellamy said. “Every single day at practice, we’re focusing on all those baby mechanics that people don’t really tend to think about.”

There are so many baby steps or small pieces of hitting that Bellamy said the Archers would spend 30-45 minutes hitting off tees. Little did Bellamy know that she would have to ease back into those practices when St. Louis Community College was announced as an at-large nationals team.

Bellamy admitted that she wasn’t excited right after the announcement because she expected to transition into summer and go home. However, after she and the rest of the women had the chance to get back into the season headspace at the first practice, Bellamy said the Archers were ready to go.

“Literally right after we found out, we went and started practicing,” Bellamy said. “After that first day, everyone was like, ‘We’re going, we’re going to win, we got this bid and we deserved it.’”

Bellamy said the Archers had that confidence going into their first game against Central Alabama Community College – a 5-4 loss – because they had almost defeated the No. 1 overall seed Parkland not too long ago. It was just a matter of getting accustomed to the much bigger stage, with “coordinated” procedures that involved scheduled practices for each of the 20 teams.

After all of the dust settled, Bellamy thought the Archers played some of their best softball and were more connected as a team but still wonders what could have been. Bellamy’s highlight performance happened in St. Louis CC’s third elimination game when it won its rematch against Central Alabama CC 10-8 partially thanks to Bellamy going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, a RBI and a triple.

“We kicked it into high gear and started going into it like, ‘This is our time. We’re going to do it,’” Bellamy said. “Some games, we were slow to get there, but we still came in hot at the end. I guess we had that drive where we were like, ‘We’re not losing this.’”

Bellamy said the Archers’ season-ending game against Murray State was “mentally taxing” after three lead changes through the first four innings and two occasions where St. Louis CC tied the game only to lose the lead soon after. She said she tried her best to keep the energy up in the dugout after what felt like the Archers fighting against themselves, Murray State and the umpires.

Regardless, Bellamy said she and her teammates are satisfied with how hard they played until the end until “their breath gave out.” She now has first-hand experience how consistently good the pitching is in college with its combination of speed and spin. The most important thing to keep in mind from this point on, she said, is to take more baby steps that can lead to big progress in the future.

“What I want to take into next year is being more adaptable and being more aware of the bigger picture – not the then, there, right now aspect – and not trying to be so perfect all the time,” Bellamy said. “I just always wanted to be perfect. I tell myself all the time that nobody can be perfect, but all the time, I’ll catch myself doing something over and over and over again just wanting it to be perfect. I just need to focus on getting to a point, stopping, letting it be for a second, and then coming back and trying again. I just need to work with it and not change it.”