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Bell-Jeff softball hoping to win title on third try

Softball: Guards making third consecutive appearance in CIF championship game and will take on Mary Star of the Sea in Saturday's Division VI matchup.

May 31, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Tim Berger Staff…)

Most of the Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball players don't have fond memories of Deanna Manning Stadium.

The previous two seasons, the venue in Irvine has been the stage of two disappointing losses for the Guards.

In 2011, Bell-Jeff appeared in its first-ever softball championship game, only to lose to powerful Pomona Catholic, 7-6, in the Division VII final. It was another disappointing loss in 2012, as the Guards again fell short of a Division VII championship in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Pomona Catholic again.

Unfortunately for Pomona Catholic, it will not be making a third straight appearance in a title game; but Bell-Jeff will, having made it back to Deanna Manning Stadium despite making the jump to Division VI.

The Guards will play for the Division VI championship at 10 a.m. Saturday against San Pedro Mary Star of the Sea.

"Getting to the championship and not winning it two times in a row is tough," Bell-Jeff Coach Florencio Galindo said. "It takes a lot to get to a championship and to make it all the way there and lose by one both times is tough."

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The Bell-Jeff players are anxious to get the opportunity to redeem themselves and finally bring home a championship.

"We've been there three times in a row and we just want to win it," junior second baseman Tiffany Galindo said. "I'm really excited and I know the rest of the girls are, too. We just want the game to come right now so we don't have to wait."

Senior Monique Landini said she thinks the experience the Guards bring after being in two title games will be valuable.

"Since we've been there, we really know what to expect," the shortstop said. "I know we're going to be nervous, but we've been through it and it's not going to be all new to us. We're hoping that will help us win it."

Bell-Jeff (22-10) — which won its fourth straight Santa Cruz League championship — entered the playoffs as the division's No. 2 seed. The Guards breezed through the first two rounds of the postseason, defeating Frazier Mountain, 10-1, in the opener and easily downing Pasadena Poly, 8-0, in a second-round contest. The Guards found trouble, however, in the quarterfinals, squeaking out a 3-1 victory against Cantwell Sacred Heart before getting past Santa Paula, 5-1, in a semifinal Tuesday.

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