GROSS PARK — With a swing of a 15-year-old freshman's bat, the Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball team made history.
The CIF Southern Section Division VII semifinal playoff game between the Guards and visiting Rolling Hills Prep was tied at 4 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Center fielder Jaylen Watson stepped to the plate after teammate Monique Landini doubled to left field with one out. Watson connected on an offering from Rolling Hills pitcher Jessica Pasco, sending the ball over the head of retreating left-fielder Bianca Malkoc.
Landini rounded third base and stamped home plate, completing a 5-4 comeback win, sending Bell-Jeff to its first-ever CIF championship softball game.
"Nobody knew who Bell-Jeff was," Guards Coach John Castaneda said. "Hopefully, they kind of know where it's at now."
"It's really something special," Watson said of playing for a CIF championship. "Usually people say it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Watson's walk-off effort was her lone hit of the game. "My coach just told me to relax and not think about anything," she said.