OSSIAN — The pressure was on for Bellmont softball in the Class 3A Sectional championship game at Norwell on Friday.
The team defeated the host Knights 4-1 to win its second straight sectional title a year after graduating one player from last year's team.
"I think that us coming in last year and dominated how we did, we had big expectations," sophomore pitcher Macy Montgomery said, "and I think everybody expected us to come in and win. I think the pressure was a lot for us and we didn't want to let anybody down and I didn't want to let my teammates, our fans and our coaches and this win means a lot to all of us."
Montgomery, who moved into the school last year as a freshman, has been dominate in her first two years with Bellmont.
She struck out 12 batters in the win, went 2 for 3 at bat and scored a run in the four-run third inning.
"(Montgomery) is one of the most competitive people I know," coach Sandy Busick said. "She's out to attack the batter, basically, and it's a duo. She's very special, don't get me wrong, but our catcher (Tori Miller) and her work together very well. We're one of a few teams that allow them to call the pitches. They see it best and we let them do that and I think she has confidence throwing to her and they work well together.
"She's known for her rise-ball, she's known for her speed, she just makes a lot of things happen out there. This year, more than ever, she's used her change-up so she just has the batters up there guessing as to what's coming."
In the third inning, Bellmont went ahead 2-0 on a Norwell throwing error and made it 4-0 on a Rachel McBride single.
Norwell scored in the top of the seventh when Logan Rowles scored off a grounder from Brielle Wilson. Pitcher Amanda Hartman struck out four and gave up five hits in the loss.
"We play small ball. Everybody knows that," Busick said. "They were prepared for us. We do a lot of bunting. Didn't do that much bunting tonight. The one we put down, it made the difference in the game. We definitely did a lot of that, focusing on being ready every single pitch."
The fact the team only lost one player from last year has translated to off- and on-the-field friendship and camaraderie.
"Our bond has gotten stronger," senior left-fielder Jill Roth said. "We hang out all the time outside of season, even. We're so much closer, we have so many jokes from last season, long winter season of open gyms so we've just been together for so long.
"We communicate with each other well, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses, we have faith in each other. Everybody knows their roles. We have a lot of subs on the bench and each of them do an important role for a win and even I've sat that position but even I know my role's important and all of us working together. "
Bellmont will play host to Yorktown or New Castle in Tuesday's regional championship.