Belen softball ends season with win

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When Amber Bertrand started the season as an assistant coach with the Belen Eagles, she could not have envisioned how she and the Eagle softball players would end the season.

Bertrand’s hard work as the interim coach ended on Saturday with the Eagles win over Grants, 8-3. Belen finished the year with a 7-16 overall mark and a 3-7 District 6-4A mark, placing fourth. Bertrand was given the reigns of the team in the middle of the season.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Emma Gonzales of Belen High prepares to throw to first base in her team’s season-ending win Saturday over Grants.

Belen was 3-10 under Bertrand, with most of the lighter part of the schedule occurring before she took the leadership role with the team.

Two things have improved vastly under the young assistant coach’s leadership; attitude and executing the fundamentals of the sport.

“We needed the win. It is a nice way to end the season with a strong win like that,” said Bertrand. “The girls were hitting finally.”

Agusta Amaro had the big hit in the six-run second inning. Her double, hit solidly over the centerfielder’s head, hit the deepest part of the wall on one bounce and cleared the bases, which were full of Eagles. Snoie Vallejos, Alex Baca and Tabathia Zamora scored on the game-changing hit that made the score 8-0.

“It was a new bat that I was using,” said Amaro. “I just turned and followed through. That is all you have to do.”

She had another double to leadoff the fifth inning, but was left stranded.

Amaro was glad the team finished upbeat.

“It feels good,” said Amaro. “It feels like it hasn’t felt in awhile. I am happy for the win, but I am not the glad the season is over.”

Emma Gonzales got the win for the Eagles and struck out four Grants batters along the way.

Belen took the lead in the first inning when Vallejos’ single brought in Mariah Armijo and Reyna Aguirre for a 2-0 lead.

Virginia Gonzales made a saving catch in left field, racing back to catch a ball hit to deep left in Grants half of the fourth inning. The snag came with the bases-loaded, and Vallejos got the double play with a throw back to second base before the Grants baserunner could get back in time.

Bertrand noted the change in attitude from the time she took over the team and credited the girls with playing more as a team in the last few games of the year.

“Everyone is more positive now,” she said. “There is no more bickering back and forth; everyone is here to play softball.”


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.