Softball Coaches

Leah Francis

Head Coach

Leah Francis

Francis is entering her 13th season as head softball coach at Bellevue College. During her first 12 seasons as head coach, Francis led her team to 12 consecutivef NWAC Championship Tournament appearances, including a school-best third-place finish in 2016.  The Bulldogs were among the NWAC leaders in almost all offensive categories, including belting an impressive 97 home runs during the 2016 season, where they spent the entire year ranked in the polls with most of the year at the No. 1 spot.   For their efforts, Francis and her staff were named the NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year – an honor bestowed on the top coaching staffs in the nation.  This is the second time this staff has received this honor (the first being in 2005).

Prior to 2016, Francis led the Bulldogs to three straight fourth-place finishes (from 2011- 2013, they were one of only two teams to earn a trophy at the Championships each of those three years), division titles in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2006 and 2005 (the first region title in school history) and a second place finish in 2014, 2010 and 2007. Each year at the helm, Francis’s teams have posted impressive records and over her 12 years, her teams are a combined 431-115 (a .789 winning percentage). Francis and the Bellevue staff have won the 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008 and 2005 North Region Coaching Staff of the Year Honors.

Francis also coached the only NWAC All-Americans in Bellevue history; Rachel Delamore in 2016, Autumn Isaacson in 2013, Isaacson and Haylee Baker in 2012, Tobey Varney, Kristen Allen and Rogin Hardy in 2011, Varney, winner in 2010, Erica Addison, Dawn Norcross and Korri Heidemann winners of the award in 2008 and Caitlin Storkson, who won the award in both 2006 and 2005. Francis is geared up for her 13th season at Bellevue and looks forward to the challenges ahead.

Prior to coming to Bellevue, Francis was the head coach at Sedro-Woolley High School where she guided her team to a 28-1-1 record, including league and district championships and a 3rd place finish at the 3A State Championships. Four players from her roster that year earned softball scholarships at Division 1 programs.

Prior to coaching at Sedro-Woolley, Francis was the head softball coach for the Washington Sidewinders and the Washington Ladyhawks; two elite summer ball programs in the state. She began her coaching career at Seattle University, where she was the assistant softball coach from 1999-2002, and coached several all-league players.

Francis attended the University of Washington where she played softball from 1995-1999, and was a member of the 1996 Pac-10 Championship team and the 1996 national runner-up team. She also competed in the College World Series in 1997 and 1998, where the team placed third both years. As a senior, Francis was team captain, and was on the Pac-10 All-Academic Team her sophomore, junior and senior years.

Francis earned an undergraduate degree in Business and Accounting from the University of Washington and a masters degree in Physical Education/Athletic Administration from Seattle Pacific University. A Washington native, Francis attended North Mason High School in Belfair, Washington and was a four-sport standout athlete in soccer, basketball, softball and track and a two-time state champion in the javelin. In 2004, Francis was inducted into the Kitsap County Sports Hall of Fame for her success in high school and college.

Along with her duties at Bellevue, Francis also works as the Director of Finance and Operations for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, which oversees high school sports in the state. She has been with the WIAA for 16 years.

Danielle Orvella

Assistant Coach

Orvella returns for her fourth season coaching the Bellevue squad. Danielle (“D”) brings a great deal of experience and energy with her and will help in all aspects of the game with her primary duties being the pitching coach.  Orvella was an integral reason that the Bulldogs had their best finish in 2016 and was a part of the staff that won North Region Coaching staff of the Year and NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2016.  In addition to her on-field coaching duties, she helps with marketing, social media and promotional efforts for the team. A team leader as a player, Orvella’s understanding of the BC softball program, strong knowledge of the game and expertise as a pitching coach has provided a tremendous benefit to players and staff.

Prior to coming to BC as a coach, Orvella spent the previous two seasons as a member of the Concordia University (Portland, Ore.) softball team. Orvella, a softball scholarship award winner, helped guide Concordia to the national playoffs both of her years (2013 and 2014). In addition to being a standout player, Orvella was also highly successful in the classroom, graduating with Cum Laude honors while receiving her bachelor degree in Business Administration and minoring in Marketing. Prior to Concordia, she was a member of the BC softball program in 2011 and 2012. As a player, Orvella earned all-league honors as both a freshman and sophomore and was named North Region Pitcher of the Year in 2012. As a pitcher, Orvella was stellar going undefeated in the North Region play over her two years and helped guide the Bulldogs to North Region Titles and fourth-place finishes at the NWAACC Championships. During Danielle’s stint as a Bulldog her teams were a combined 82-8 for a .911 winning percentage.

In addition to coaching at Bellevue, Orvella manages the softball side of Base by Pros, which offers camps, clinics and individual lessons, while providing mentorship for young athletes.

Orvella graduated from Kentridge High School in 2010 and played for the Washington Nighthawks travel team.

Sarah Hyatt

Assistant Coach

Sarah HyattA 10-year assistant softball coach at Bellevue College, Hyatt came to Bellevue after playing for four years at the University of Washington. Sarah assists in all aspects of the game. During her first 10 seasons, Hyatt helped guide Bellevue to first place North Region finishes in 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009 and 2008. She also helped guide the program to NWAC appearances during each of her first 10 years at Bellevue and was a member of the staff that was awarded the 2016 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

 

 

 

Last Updated February 22, 2017