High school softball: Bellefonte captures O’Leary Memorial Tournament crown

April 6, 2014 

— When the Bellefonte softball team scored on Saturday, it scored in bunches.

The Lady Red Raiders had five-run innings in both of their victories as they captured the O’Leary Memorial Tournament by defeating Altoona 5-1 and Bellwood-Antis 7-3 at O’Leary Field.

In the opener, Bellefonte (4-1) trailed Altoona 1-0 before erupting for five runs in the fourth inning. Liz Linn and Olivia Ripka each had RBI singles in the frame and Erin Pugh added an RBI groundout. Two more runs scored on passed balls.

Rachel Bernier (1-1) dominated Altoona, allowing five hits in six innings, while striking out 10 and walking one. Ripka had two of the Lady Raiders’ four hits.

In the nightcap, the Lady Raiders survived a rough start. Bellwood-Antis scored three times and had the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the first before Stevi Confer got a strikeout, a force out at the plate and a fly ball to end the threat. The Lady Raiders allowed just one more hit after that inning.

Bellefonte got within 3-2 on RBI singles from Linn and Vanessa Cooper in the top of the fifth. The Lady Raiders struck for five runs in the sixth. Pugh tied the game with an RBI single. Linn’s two-run single gave Bellefonte the lead and Cooper’s single tacked on two insurance runs.

Confer (2-0) went 5 2/3 innings with four walks and five strikeouts. Tara Baney pitched a perfect final 1 1/3 innings.

Sarah Menna, Cooper and Linn had two hits each to pace Bellefonte’s 10-hit attack. Emily Nagle had two hits, including a leadoff triple, for the Lady Blue Devils.

“Our team played well and kept its focus,” Bellefonte coach Gregg Kohlhepp said. “We had a solid approach and in the fifth and sixth innings our persistence paid off and we started driving balls around the field.”

Bellefonte plays at Central on Monday.

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