Bellevue Softball Places Fourth at NWAACC Championships
May 25, 2011
The Bellevue College Bulldogs softball team finished the year this placing 4th at the NWAACC Softball Championships at Delta Park in Portland May 20-23. The fourth place finish is the highest in BC softball team history.
The Bulldogs started the weekend winning two games on Friday. In game one, Bellevue beat Centralia College 8-2 behind the pitching of Danielle Orvella. Tobey Varney led off the game with a solo home run and the Bulldogs never looked back in route to the win.
Game two pitted the Bulldogs against Treasure Valley from the East Region. On the first play of that game Varney, Bellevue’s starting shortstop and lead-off hitter, made a stellar defensive play on a ball up the middle to get the first out of the game. Unfortunately, on that same play, Varney's left cleat got stuck in the ground and she went down with a severe knee injury. It was a big blow for the team, but they battled through the adversity to win a thriller. The game went back and forth with the Bulldogs taking a lead 4-3 after six innings. Treasure Valley tied it up at 4-4 in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of that inning, Breanna Wilson led off with a walk. Rogin Hardy advanced her to second on a sacrifice bunt. With one out and the runner on second base, Kristen Allen came up with a clutch base-hit to right field scoring Wilson from second for the game-winning run. Pitcher Breonna Chrisman picked up the victory for the Bulldogs.
On day two, the Bulldogs faced East Region champion Wenatchee Valley for a spot in the semi-finals. Wenatchee Valley proved to be too much for the Bulldogs that day as the Knights took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back on their way to an 8-0 victory, forcing the Bulldogs into the loser's bracket and into a must-win situation from there on out. It was the only game of the season where the Bulldogs were held scoreless.
In the second game Saturday, the Bulldogs faced Pierce College, the West Region Champions, in a loser-out game. Pierce took an early lead and held command of the game through six innings. With a 5-3 lead going into the seventh, Bellevue was down to their last three outs. The Bulldogs got two runners on and with two strikes on her, Emily Squiers hit a two-run single to tie the game at 5-5 forcing extra innings. Bellevue was able to hold Pierce scoreless in the eighth, then with a runner on and no outs, Hardy hit a two-run walk-off home run to give the Bulldogs the second last at-bat victory of the tournament.
The win against Pierce put the Bulldogs into the final four, guaranteeing them a trophy at the tournament, and setting up a Sunday morning match-up with North Region rival, Everett CC.
The Sunday game pitted pitchers Chrisman (Bellevue) against Allie Milless (Everett). The last time these two pitchers faced off during the regular season was a total pitcher’s dual, with Bellevue winning 1-0. This time, however, the bats for both teams took over as it became a hitter’s battle for seven innings. In all but one inning, runs were scored with Everett's big, and the decisive, inning coming in the third, when they scored eight runs. The Bulldogs battled the rest of the game, but could not overcome the early deficit and ended up losing by a score of 17-9. The loss ended the season for the Bulldogs with a 24-0 league record, and 38-3 overall.
"It was a great year for this team," said head coach Leah Francis. "While we would have loved to have brought home a title, I am very proud of the way this team battled, despite the loss of Tobey early in the tournament. Not a lot of teams could overcome the adversity of losing a player of her magnitude, but this team fought hard the entire way and a number of different players stepped up in key situations. The two wins against Treasure Valley and Pierce, were some of the top wins I have ever been a part of as a coach, and showed a lot about the character of this team. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to coach these student-athletes. This group accomplished a lot this year and winning the North Region and placing fourth at NWAACC should make the entire Bellevue College community proud!"
Awards received by the Bellevue College Softball Team for 2011:
2011 NWAACC Softball Championships - 4th Place
2011 NWAACC Softball Championships All-Tournament Team: Rogin Hardy, Nicole Rogers
2011 North Region Champions
2011 NFCA NWAACC All-Americans: Tobey Varney, Kristen Allen, Rogin Hardy
2011 North Region Player of the Year: Tobey Varney
2011 North Region Pitcher of the Year: Breonna Chrisman
2011 North Region Coach of the Year: Leah Francis
2011 North Region First Team: Haylee Baker, Kristen Allen, Nicole Rogers, Nellie Root, Rogin Hardy
2011 North Region Second Team: Emily Squiers, Rachel Tingley, Danielle Orvella
CONGRATULATIONS, BULLDOGS SOFTBALL ON A GREAT YEAR!