Cardinals win in thrilling game


Rohan Parikh

Junior Ainsley Pinkerton throws the ball back to her pitcher after a strike. She was an integral part of the stifling defense that only gave up one early run to Lamar.

The Cardinals softball team survived an extra-inning thriller against Lamar, defeating their rivals 5-1 on Tuesday at Delmar Stadium. 

Senior Claire Shelley was dominant on the mound, allowing only one run from a first-inning RBI single. The right-handed starter tossed a complete game, not allowing a single run after Lamar’s opening score.

“It is all about trusting that your teammates, your defense has your back,” Shelley said. “I just had to trust that we were going to get an inning, breakthrough, and find that hit when we need it.”

Offensively, Bellaire couldn’t capitalize on Shelley’s exceptional pitching, managing one hit in five innings against Lamar’s starter. After an hour of play, Shelley opened up the sixth with a single, giving the Cardinals an early base

Freshman Alessandra Filis takes an at-bat in the extra innings. This would be a crucial period for the Cardinals’ offense which got their first lead in extra innings (Jonathan Chiriboga)

runner. They would be able to capitalize on the early hit, with a sacrifice fly from senior Callie Hester that would tie up the game. The score remained 1-1 past the seventh inning mark, even after Lamar loaded the bases with no outs, prompting the game to go into overtime.

The Cardinals’ ace pitcher remained on the mound at the start of overtime but found herself in a difficult situation after allowing a runner to reach second base. With two outs in the inning, Lamar pulled a ground ball past the infield. Lamar’s baserunner on second dug for home plate with every intention of scoring the walk-off run.

By the time the hard-hit ground ball reached the glove of sophomore left fielder Meaghan Lande, the runner had already rounded third base and was 30 feet away from the plate. 

“During the play, I was aware that it was going to be a difficult throw,” Lande said. “But I knew that if I didn’t make the throw, Lamar was going to win the game.”

Lande’s throw to the plate was on time, reaching junior catcher Ainsley Pinkerton’s glove before the runner tagged home plate, as Bellaire lived to see another inning. 

In the top of the ninth, the Cardinals erupted onto the scene. After a quiet evening, they only needed one inning to make their mark, scoring four runs and putting distance between themselves and Lamar. The scoring onslaught began with junior Mia Lopez’s double to center field, scoring two runners and pushing all the momentum back toward the Bellaire dugout. 

“That was a huge inning for us, scoring four runs,” Lopez said. “After I drove in two runs I knew we were capable of playing defense and ending the game.”

Senior Claire Shelly throws up the deuce, telling her team that they have two outs. Her pitching helped keep the Cardinals alive until their bats started swinging. (Rohan Parikh)

After the go-ahead inning from the offense, it was up to Shelley and the Cardinal defense to close out the game. Lamar desperately looked for solutions at the plate, but none ever came as Shelley put the Texans to rest in just nine pitches, ending the ballgame.

“It feels amazing when you are pitching with the lead,” Shelly said. “There was a little bit of stress there knowing that you have to keep fighting and keep your focus.” 

Last week’s victory against their arch-rivals increased the team’s confidence as they approach the end of the district season, currently in pursuit of their 14th district championship in a row.

“The win really helps us because we lost one of our first games to Heights and that set us back a bit,” Shelly said. “But, getting this win and getting this momentum and energy is big for us to keep going and keep winning.”