As a team, the Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball squad dominated the Santa Cruz League this past season.
The Guards went 7-1 in league (losing via forfeit) and outscored its opponents, 23-8, to capture their fifth straight league championship.
Perhaps Bell-Jeff's most dominating player was senior Mia Acosta.
Acosta not only served as the Guards' starting pitcher, but she was also a dominant hitter at the plate. For her efforts, Acosta was honored as the Santa Cruz League Player of the Year, as well as being named the league's pitcher of the year.
"It is just an honor that other people thought that I was good enough to win something like league MVP," Acosta said. "It feels good that all the hard work that I put in was noticed by people in our league.
"But I couldn't have done it without all my teammates behind me. They were always there to pick me up and give me support when I needed it."
Bell-Jeff Coach Florencio Galindo said Acosta's versatility on the diamond made her a valuable player.
"Mia really can beat you in so many ways," Galindo said. "We played some tough teams this season, so her pitching results weren't quite as good as they had been in the past. But she is a very good fielder and she is just a great hitter at the plate.
"She was a player we knew we could always rely on when we needed something for our team, either as a pitcher or at the plate with a big hit. She always was able to step up."
Acosta was one of seven Bell-Jeff players to earn all-league accolades this season. First-team selections were senior first baseman Sofia Palacios, senior catcher Samantha Casarez, senior shortstop Tiffany Galindo and senior third baseman Cristina Colon. Earning second-team honors were senior outfielder Priscilla Panizo and junior outfielder Jessica Pereyra.
"I was happy with the number of girls that we were able to get on the all-league teams," Galindo said. "We had a lot of talent on this team this year and you could see that with how we did in league."
The Guards (15-5-2) sliced through the Santa Cruz League, winning all their played games in relatively easy fashion. The closest any opponent could get to earning a victory came May 13 when St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy played the Guards to a 6-2 loss.
Bell-Jeff, which was ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs and was the defending champion, used its league success to catapult it into the postseason. The Guards defeated Liberty Christian, 21-2, Alverno, 5-2, and St. Monica, 1-0, to advance to the semifinals. In the final four, Bell-Jeff lost to Cantwell Sacred Heart, 5-3.
"Looking back, it was a really fun season for me," Acosta said. "We had a good team and we were also close. It was nice that we could win a league title and keep it going."
Team stats were not available.
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