ST. JOE - The fact that Bellaire is now 6-0 in softball action following a 7-2 triumph over visiting Barnesville Thursday afternoon is sweet.
However, the fact that veteran head coach Melissa Lahna recorded her 100th victory made the win on the Bellaire Middle School diamond even sweeter.
"It's not about me at all," Lahna downplayed the milestone after being presented with a cake and a sign signifying 100 wins, which drew tears to her eyes. "It's about all of the girls that have played for me in the past and the present."
BARNESVILLE CATCHER Blair Thompson concentrates as she tags Bellaire’s Megan Ging out at the plate Thursday night. Ging was trying to score on a fly out, but was doubled up. The Big reds won, 7-2, however, to go to 6-0.
Bellaire, which is off to its best start in quite some time, didn't waste any time in jumping ahead. Winning pitcher Megan Ging ignited a first-inning outburst with a 1-out walk. She went to second on a wild pitch and scooted to third when Mary Garloch struck out, but reached first when the ball got away from the catcher.
On the first pitch to Mackenzie Conroy, Garloch broke for second and drew the throw as Ging started for home. The throw was cutoff and relayed back to the plate, but Ging scored on the back-end of the double steal to make it 1-0. Garloch came around on Conroy's bad-hop double to center for a 2-0 lead.
The Shamrocks (1-3) finally solved Ging when Marrissa Burga drilled a solid 1-out single to left in the top of the third. She was sacrificed to second and went to third when Paige Gibbons' grounder was misplayed.
Barnesville then executed its own double steal as Gibbons swiped second and Burga sprinted home.
It looked as though the Big Reds would add to their margin when Ging led off the bottom of the third with a single to center. The ball skipped past the centerfielder as Ging raced around to third. Garloch's fly ball to left wasn't deep enough to score Ging as Hunter Weiss's throw to catcher Blair Thompson just beat the runner on a bang-bang play.
A 4-run fourth bumped the count to 6-1. Taylar Canter struck out but reached when the ball got away leading off. Elisha Gillespie singled and Megan Maffe walked to load the bases. Canter scored on Morgan Runyan's single to center. Gillespie sprinted home on a wild pitch. Maffe crossed the plate on Dallas Messenger's single to left and Runyan accounted for the final run of the frame when she raced home on an error.
A groundout by Weiss chased home P. Gibbons in the seventh. Gibbons led off with a double to the fence in right-center.
Messenger reached on a bunt single with one out in the bottom of the sixth. She would round the bases on Ging's triple to deep center.
Despite the setback, Barnesville head coach Matt Johnson is pleased with his team's progress.
"We've only been outside four days, but everyone is going through that," he said. "But when we come to play and play defense, we'll be alright. I like where we are at right now."
Ging finished with five strikeouts and no walks. She allowed four hits.
"We're playing really good ball right now," Lahna said. "Our hitting has been our weakness thus far, but today it picked up."
Bellaire will remain at home today as Monroe Central visits for a 4:30 p.m. twinbill. Barnesville hosts Caldwell today.
Barnes. 001 001 0 - 2 4 3
Bellaire 200 401 x - 7 8 1
Batteries:?P. Gibbons, Ralston (5) and Thompson. Ging and Messenger.
North can be reached at email@example.com