Denfeld News

May 25, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Bellamy’s bat, arm lift Hunters
By Rick Weegman

Laura Bellamy doubted she could have pitched a third game Saturday, so the Duluth Denfeld junior figured she better put an end to her day when she had the chance.

Bellamy singled to right field in the 10th inning, driving in Jessica Havron with the winning run in the Hunters’ 2-1 victory over top-seeded St. Francis in the winners’ bracket of the Section 7AAA Elite Eight high school softball tournament at Wheeler Field.

The win kept Denfeld (13-7) unbeaten in the double-elimination field and put the fifth-seeded Hunters in the winners’ bracket final against Forest Lake (15-7) on Wednesday in St. Francis, Minn.

Bellamy, who gave up 11 hits and struck out 24 in 18 innings Saturday, said her arm felt sore when she came to the plate with Havron on second base in the top of the 10th inning of a 1-1 game.

“It gave me some extra drive; I just wanted to get this game over with,” Bellamy said afterward, a bag of ice taped to her right shoulder.

She laced a hit to right field to score Havron, and then kept the Fighting Saints off the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning to seal the win. Bellamy allowed just four hits and struck out nine after putting together a seven-hit, 15-strikeout performance in a 4-1 eight-inning win over Chisago Lakes earlier in the day.

Kaitlyn Bagley came through with the key hit in that game, a two-run single in the eighth that scored Jena Dieryck and Brittany Yagoda.

“We’ve really started finding ways to win,” Hunters coach Dick Swanson said.

That wasn’t the case early in the season when the Hunters started 1-5. They’ve won five straight and 12 of 14 since.

“We really turned it around,” Bellamy said. “Once we got some wins under our belt, we’ve been doing pretty well.”

Swanson, in his 16th year at the helm, could see the team progress at midseason, but even he was a bit surprised at the toughness the players showed Saturday.

“It took them a long time to grow up, but they finally figured out how to play together,” he said. “We finally got enough confidence that they were thinking, ‘Hey, we can beat people.’ ”

Denfeld relied heavily on a pair of its four seniors — catcher Dieryck and shortstop Yagoda — as well as Bellamy, a five-year letterwinner. Bellamy utilized that experience when it counted Saturday.

“If she ever does get down, she knows how to pull it together,” Dieryck said of her pitcher.

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