Good things seem to happen when Sofia Palacios steps into the batter’s box.

The senior first baseman enjoyed one of her best performances of the season at the plate Thursday for the Bellarmine-Jefferson softball team.

Palacios finished with four hits and drove in five runs to power visiting Bell-Jeff to a lopsided 9-0 victory against rival St. Anthony in a Santa Cruz League matchup at Pan American Park in Long Beach.

“With Sofia, she’s our biggest hitter,” said Bell-Jeff Coach Florencio Galindo, whose team improved to 8-3-2 and 2-0 in league and is ranked No. 1 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division VI poll. “When she’s on a roll hitting, she lifts the spirit of the team and lifts the pressure off our other hitters.

“This was a big win overall. We knew we’d be in for a good game. It’s huge to get the win because if we had lost, then we would have to win out going into the next time we play them.”

St. Anthony dipped to 10-4, 1-1. The teams will meet again May 8 at Gross Park.

Palacios gave the Guards, who captured the Division VI championship last season, a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring triple in the second inning. She then had a run-scoring single in the third to extend Bell-Jeff’s lead to 4-0.

Samantha Casarez had a run-scoring triple in the fourth to provide the Guards with a 6-0 advantage. Palacios wrapped up the scoring with another run-scoring single in the sixth.

“We wanted to come out and scores some runs early and we were able to do that,” Galindo said.

Casarez, Mia Acosta and Tiffany Galindo finished with two hits apiece for the Guards, who finished with 12 hits. In the circle, Acosta struck out eight and scattered three hits to earn the shutout.

Bell-Jeff will next compete in a league home game against St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy at Gross Park.

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Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .