Monique Landini paced around the softball diamond clutching her right hand, wishing the pain would go away.
Landini, a senior shortstop and four-year starter for Bellarmine-Jefferson High, suffered an injury to the ring finger of her throwing hand Tuesday in a CIF Southern Section Division VI semifinal game against host Santa Paula at Harding Park. Landini was taking infield practice in between innings and looking in another direction when a teammate rifled a ball her way. The ball struck her hard in the hand.
The game was halted momentarily as Landini was being attended to by the Guards' coaches and athletic trainer, while the Bell-Jeff faithful was left to ponder Landini's fate.
"I knew she wasn't coming out," Bell-Jeff Coach Florencio Galindo said. "She's as tough as they come. I knew if there was a way she could play she was going to be in there."
A day after the injury, Landini was still dealing with a painful finger that was swollen and bruised.