Brashear wins 4th straight City crown
While her teammates packed their bags and picked up a few congratulatory words from their parents, Brashear senior Kaylee Girdwood was joking around with her softball coach's daughter, Alexa Hogle, tossing the game ball — left in the pitching circle — back and forth.
“Don't you want to keep that,” a fan yelled to Girdwood.
No way, Girdwood thought. After all, she has a City League title to commemorate this day. Four of them, actually.
Girdwood settled down after a rocky start, and the Brashear bats produced two huge innings, leading the top-seeded Bulls to an 8-3 win over No. 2 seed Allderdice in the City League championship game at Sam Bryen Field in Brookline on Wednesday.
The win gave Brashear's six seniors four consecutive City League titles, and it enabled Girdwood to finish her career without a loss to a league opponent as Brashear stretched its unbeaten streak against City League competition to 49 games.
“We didn't know what we were going into with high school softball,” said Girdwood, who allowed five hits in seven innings while striking out two. “When we won that first year, we said, ‘Well, we might as well take three more.' ”
The Bulls, whose last City League loss was a 3-1 defeat at Perry on April 23, 2009, will play the District 10 championship winner — McDowell (10-8) and Strong Vincent (6-14) play Monday — next week for a berth in the PIAA Class AAAA tournament, which starts June 4.
Center fielder Chelsea Minsinger, second baseman Kelly Flaherty and left fielder Danielle Paez finished with two hits apiece for Brashear, which hadn't played a game closer than 10 runs this season — discounting 7-0 forfeits.
In fact, Brashear trailed for only the third time this season when Allderdice pitcher Sam McKown doubled home Tina Nguyen and later scored on Girdwood's throwing error in the top of the second inning.
But the Bulls (17-0) answered with three runs in the third. Karlee Ralston walked and Girdwood reached on an error before Jena Kolb smacked a double into the right-field corner.
Minsinger followed by turning on an inside fastball and drilling a double off the fence in left that scored two.
“That was in my sweet spot,” Minsinger said. “I was proud of that one. Good hit.”
Brashear blew it open in the fifth, as Kolb scored on an errant throw to second, and Paez singled to right to bring home Flaherty. Ralston walked with the bases loaded, and Girdwood had a two-run single to round out the scoring and enable Bulls coach Hank Hogle to breathe a little easier.
Allderdice (11-8) tacked on a run in the seventh after Balzer tripled and scored on an error, but it did little to derail the Bulls' dynasty of late.
“This isn't the first time they've been in this position, and they play like it,” Dragons coach Dave Walchesky said. “There's a reason why they have that win streak. They're very well-coached, seasoned and very skilled.”
Jason Mackey is a freelance writer.