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Monique Landini lifts Bell-Jeff softball to CIF championship

Softball: Senior belts two home runs and Guards turn triple play to defeat Mary Star, 8-4, in Division VI title game in program's third straight attempt at winning a crown.

June 01, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
  • The Bellarmine-Jefferson softball team rejoices after Monique Ladini hits a home run in the CIF Division VI championship game against Mary Star.
The Bellarmine-Jefferson softball team rejoices after… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

IRVINE — Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball player Monique Landini had felt the sting of losing two straight CIF Southern championship games. She wasn’t going to endure a third.

The previous two years, the Guards advanced to the championship contest in Division VII, only to walk off the field at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine heartbroken after suffering one-run losses both years.

Saturday brought new hope for Bell-Jeff, which was trying to break its losing string in another division — VI. Landini did her share to make that happen. The senior shortstop belted a pair of home runs and the Guards used a big five-run fifth inning to earn an 8-4 victory against Mary Star of the Sea.

Bell-Jeff (22-10) did it with hitting, which included three home runs, and with its defense, as it turned a rare triple play.

“This just feels amazing. I can’t believe we won it,” said Landini, who is headed to St. Johns. “We wanted to win this so bad and we were finally able to get it done.”

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A leader of the Guards, Landini has been a four-year starter in the program.

“Really, we wanted to win this title for Monique,” Bell-Jeff sophomore first baseman Sofia Palacios. “She means a lot to all of us and this is something we wanted to get for her.”

The Guards pounded out 10 hits in the contest and turned the triple play in the fifth inning against the Stars (20-9).

“I think after losing those two years, this was finally our year,” Bell-Jeff Coach Florencio Galindo. “This might not be the best hitting team we’ve had at a championship game, but they really hit the ball today.”

After having limited results against Mary Star starting pitcher Marina Vitalich through the first four innings, the Guards clobbered the ball in the fifth. Alexis Lopez hit an infield single and the Guards had two runners on when Tiffany Galindo reached base on a fielder’s choice. Landini followed, powering a ball to center field for a three-run home run. The next batter, Bell-Jeff junior pitcher Mia Acosta, came through with a solo homer to right-center.

The Guards added to their lead in the fifth, a frame in which they brought nine players to the plate. Cristina Colon doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Samantha Casarez.

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