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Bell-Jeff softball has to fight to win CIF quarterfinal

Softball: Guards able to take tight 3-1 contest against Cantwell Sacred Heart, move to semifinals.

May 23, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Raul Roa / Staff…)

BURBANK — The Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball team moved through the first two rounds of the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs with relative ease.

With wins against Frazier Mountain and Pasadena Poly, the Guards scored 18 combined runs and surrendered just one.

But in a quarterfinal contest Thursday against Cantwell Sacred Heart, Bell-Jeff found itself in a close contest. Fortunately for the Guards, they were able to receive a clutch hit in the third inning by Sofia Palacios to lift them to a 3-1 victory at Gross Park.

The win enables the Santa-Fe-League-champion Guards (20-10) to advance to the semifinals for the third straight year. The team reached the final four in Division VII in 2011 and 2012.

Bell-Jeff will take on host Santa Paula in a semifinal game at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. Santa Paula defeated host Boron, 8-1, in its quarterfinal game Thursday.

Guards Coach Florencio Galindo said the ability of his team to win a tight contest is something that it desperately needed.

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"Being in a close game to the end, that's only going to help us as we keep moving on," he said. "We haven't been in a lot of these close games and for them to know what it's like and what it takes to win is only going to benefit us. This is the kind of game we needed right now."

The Guards were never able to settle in against the Cardinals (18-7), who finished second in the Camino Real League. In fact, Bell-Jeff was able to hold off a late surge by Cantwell Sacred Heart to preserve the win, as the visitors had the tying run in scoring position in the final inning.

In the seventh inning with one out, Cardinal Julia Guzman reached base on a fielder's choice ball in the infield. The next batter, Britny Huerta, hit a ball that was mishandled for an error, putting runners at second and third. Facing the No. 9 batter, Stephanie Guerra, Bell-Jeff pitcher Mia Acosta delivered on a 2-1 count and Guerra hit it sharply to shortstop. However, Monique Landini scooped up the ball and made a hurried throw to first to nip Guerra.

"I just wanted to make a good throw," said Landini, who is headed to St. John's. "I wanted to make sure that I had it."

Acosta wasn't overpowering in the circle, striking out just three. However, she gave up three hits to pick up the win.

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