While it was not in the stunning fashion of the night before, Bellarmine used another late comeback to claim the Narrows 4A softball tournament title on May 11, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 6-3 win over Central Kitsap at the South End Recreation Area.
“I can’t say enough about the heart of these girls. There’s never a lead or a situation they can’t overcome,” said Bellarmine head coach Craig Coovert. “There’s not one girl or two girls carrying this team, it’s every one of them – different girls stepping up on every day.”
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Alexa Ostrander gave the Lions the lead by lacing a two-out single to right to score Alexis Mendez, who led off the inning with a single. Alex DeStephano followed three batters later by driving a double just inside the chalk of the third base line to score Ostrander and Haley Dusek, making it 6-3.
“We obviously want to win every game, and if we’re not doing it then we’ve got to make it happen,” DeStephano said. “Sometimes it comes down to the last inning, but we seem to pull through every time.”
The Cougars jumped on Bellarmine starter Courtney Schwan early, as Central Kitsap pitcher Caylee Coulter hit a run-scoring triple and scored on Tristine Vandeman’s single for a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Schwan singled to score Kelly McLaughlin in the bottom of the first, but the Cougars added another run on Kari Fetters’ single in the second to make it 3-1. But Schwan then settled down, holding Central Kitsap to just four hits in the final five innings.
“We changed the locations of the pitches, they seemed to be hitting the outside really well,” Schwan said. “We switched it up to the inside and they seemed to roll over the ball a lot more.”
The Cougars loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but Schwan snagged a sharp grounder to retire Fetters and end the threat. The Lions then launched the comeback with two outs in the bottom of the inning when Dusek and Schwan singled, DeStephano walked and Sarah Sorenson hit an infield single to plate two runs and tie the score.
“We left some runners on early,” Coovert said. “I always felt like we were going to be able to come through, and then we got a couple clutch hits to tie it. And then obviously a couple really clutch hits there in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. It’s a fun group to watch, and hopefully we can keep it rolling into districts.”
The win came 24 hours after the Lions scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 9-8 win over South Kitsap. The Lions won their first ever Narrows Tournament title after claiming their first ever regular season league championship this year, and have won 13 straight games.
“It’s a big deal for us,” DeStephano said. “We’re really close, we’re a family, and I think that’s really helped us. There’s never been a tighter-knit team than this one. We work really well together, and that really wins games when it comes down to it.”