Bell-Jeff (8-9) — which tied St. Mary’s Academy for third place in the Santa Cruz League — was making its second postseason appearance in 14 years.
Despite the loss, Bell-Jeff Coach Patty Bertole gave her team credit for making it to Tuesday’s game.
“For us to finish third in league and make it this far that’s a big accomplishment for our team,” said Bertole, whose squad defeated Majestic League champion Lake Arrowhead Christian, 25-1, in a first-round game Friday. “I’m proud of this team for what they’ve done.”
The Guards didn’t play well in the early going against Baptist Christian (16-5), the Victory League champion. The Warriors scored three runs in the first inning, two in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth to take a 9-0 lead.
It also didn’t help that the Guards committed seven errors in the game.
“Some of our girls were very nervous,” Bertole said. “We made too many errors and we made a lot of mistakes on some little things.”
Warriors pitcher Marie Berger kept the Guards in check over the first five innings, allowing just two base hits to Sarah Salgado and Itria Lictra.
The Bell-Jeff bats finally came alive in the sixth inning, as it scored four runs. The big hit of the inning was a two-run scoring blast down the right-field line by Lictra. Ivanna Conteras, Joelle Hajj, Kristal Dirossa and Saldado had hits in the frame.
With a 9-4 advantage, Baptist Christian added two runs in the seventh inning.
The Guards staged a rally of their own in the bottom of the seventh. Shelby Ingram and Taylor Nelson had hits, as Bell-Jeff had two runners on with two outs. However, Burger got Salgado to fly out to end the threat — and the game.
“The girls’ have fallen behind in games before and they have been able to come back,” Bertole said. “But this time we gave up just too many early runs.”
Lictra was two for three with a run scored and two runs batted in and Salgado was two for four with a run scored.
With their success the past two years, things will change a little next season for Bell-Jeff, which loses five players to graduation.