"We still have next year, and probably the year after," Bell-Jeff sophomore center fielder Jalen Watson said. "But I feel bad for our older players. We really wanted to win it this year for them.
"It hurts to lose, yes. But we have some more chances and we have to take advantage of that."
Bell-Jeff shortstop Monique Landini had a fine defensive game against the Pacers (27-7), including a diving stop that saved a run in the seventh inning. Landini, a junior, hopes to get another shot at a CIF crown next year. However, the fact the team missed two chances in consecutive years is disheartening.
"I think this one hurts more than the loss last year," she said. "We thought we had a chance to win it this year because we had been so successful in the playoffs up 'til now. It's a blessing to be able to get here, but to lose by one run is really hard. To have it be so close two years in a row is tough."
The Guards (23-6-2) did put together the most successful season in school history in terms of victories. The team also captured its third straight Santa Cruz League championship and outscored its opponents, 56-0, in four playoff victories.
The Guards were attempting to win the third CIF title in the school's 68-year history. The Guards girls' basketball team captured championships in 1997 and 2009.
It was also the third time in 37 years that a team from the city was able to make it to a softball championship. Burbank High won a 3-A crown in 1975, which serves as the area's lone CIF softball title.
In convincing fashion, Bell-Jeff sophomore Tiffany Galindo thinks the Guards could break through and win that elusive championship in 2013.
"We're going to come back next year; bigger, better, stronger," she said. "I know we can do it. We saw them on the other side celebrating, and we're going to be the team doing the celebrating next year."