GROSS PARK —The Bellarmine-Jefferson softball team picked up its league schedule where it left off roughly two weeks ago when the team defeated St. Matthias on April 4.
After faring well in nonleague action the past couple weeks, including traveling to Las Vegas for the Spring Jamboree Tournament where the team placed third, the Guards — ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division VII — were back on their home field in a league contest Tuesday with St. Genevieve.
Not missing a beat, the Guards stayed unbeaten in Santa Cruz League play, holding an opponent scoreless for the second consecutive league game. This time around it was a 12-0 convincing victory over St. Genevieve Gross Park.
The Valiants (6-1, 1-1 in league) — ranked No. 8 in the division — had been unbeaten before facing the two-time defending league champions.
"The team has been good all season, and I knew our hitting and pitching would be there in Vegas, and continue here," said Bell-Jeff sophomore Mia Acosta, who went two for two with a double and a home run.
Acosta got the scoring started for the Guards (12-5-2, 3-0) with a one-out double in the first inning that scored Monique Landini to fuel a seven-run inning and give starting pitcher Amanda Maalouf a comfortable lead to work with.
After picking up the win with a complete-game outing in which she struck out seven and walked three, Maalouf said her mind set was to stay aggressive in the circle after the early lead.
And stay aggressive she did, as the Valiants mustered just two hits — both singles — and put just one runner in scoring position, that came in the top of the first inning.
"I'm really comfortable out there, and I know my girls have my back," said Maalouf, who recorded two of her strikeouts in the fifth inning before the mercy rule took affect. "I know I can do whatever it takes to get the win for our team."
Bell-Jeff Coach Florencio Galindo played small ball to aid in the big first inning, as three of the team's five hits in the inning came on bunts which also resulted in the final three runs of the frame.
"It was the right situation, and the right setting," said the first-year head coach. "The purpose is to put runners on and then advance them."
From that point, the Guards relied on swinging the bats and making contact. Acosta's lead-off home run in the second inning and Cristina Colon's two-run single in the third capped the run production for the Guards, who received two hits each from Acosta and Samantha Casarez.
"We do what we have to do to get the wins, get to the playoffs, and eventually to the CIF Championship," said Galindo, who will try to accomplish that again this year after the program's first trip last season. "The girls really want to get there."