Written by: Jesse DeLange The greatest softball team in BCC history ended its season with back-to-back losses and an early exit in the 2008 NWAACC tournament. Three times this year BCC lost back-to-games. In fact, the only time the Lady Bulldogs lost a game this season they coupled it with another. The first two times it acted as a wakeup call as the team rallied for winning streaks of 26 and 15. Dropping two in a row at the NWAACC’s may have been a wakeup call for the team but losing two there sends a team home, awake or not. BCC beat Centralia (14-26 West) 6-3 in their first game of the NWAACC tournament then they never won again. They lost their second game in extra innings against Clackamas (26-23 South) a team that finished just three games above .500 and a team BCC had beaten at the Crossover Tournament 10-1 on April 20. The next day BCC got hit for 13 runs before getting on a bus headed for Bellevue. “We just didn’t hit the ball very well … you can’t expect to win with no bats,” said pitcher and designated hitter, Michelle Ruby. BCC had just 3 runs on 7 hits in the loss against Clackamas falling in extra innings by a single run, 4-3. “We really thought we had them,” said Ruby. Clackamas needed just 3 outs after Brianne Rowley hit an eighth inning one-run home run. They got the outs, in order. “We had a huge target on our backs … we didn’t realize how hard it was going to be.” The Clackamas Lady Cougars led by pitcher and 2007 NFCA All-American, Renee Santos, were looking for revenge against BCC and they got it. Santos struck out eight BCC batters, five and a half below her average, but enough to win the game. All year BCC played as a team; all year they won as a team. When they hit, they all hit. When they won they all won. When they lost, they all lost, “When the bats slump they all slump … hitting is contagious,” said Head Coach Leah Francis, “Ruby threw a really good game and we couldn’t get timely hits when we needed them.” Santos also pitched in the 10-1 loss to BCC earlier in the year. According to Francis, Santos wasn’t looking her best that day and was pulled from the game after giving up three early runs. At that point it was her eighth loss of the year. When she met BCC at the NWAACC championships she had won nine out of her last 12 games and was prepared for the fiery bats from Bellevue. Despite four errors by Clackamas, BCC couldn’t win the game. Ten hits, three of which were home runs, were the difference in the game against Chemeketa CC, a team with a 24-24 overall record and a 12-18 record in the South Region. In the third inning BCC was down 13-1. This time BCC bats did come to life, it was the pitching that was the problem. The Lady Bulldogs rallied late in the game to bring the score to within five, well in reach for a team used to scoring runs at will, but that’s as close as they came. Ruby and Christine Miller-Long were pulled from the game after Chemeketa put 13 runs on the pitching duo. Allison Sanford came in, in relief and pitched three scoreless innings. The late rally wasn’t enough to keep the Lady Bulldogs in the tournament. They finished the season with a loss. Despite the poor performance at the NWAACC’s, BCC did have a very successful season. They finished with a 42-6 overall record (best in the league), a North Region championship (their third in four years), and had three players (of 12) make the All-American team (Erica Addison, Korri Heideman, and Dawn Norcross). Addison was also named the North Division player of the year. “We didn’t do well one weekend,” said Francis, “you can’t discredit the fact that we won for three and a half months.” Three and a half months and two days of winning would have been enough for the 2008 championship… Two days.