(Photo: Belle Vernon's Haley Bashada pitches against Elizabeth Forward on May 1. Bashada is one of the top players in the WPIAL and has started for the Leopards for four years. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette.)
"Since Tom Rodriguez arrived as head coach of the Belle Vernon Area High School softball team 11 years ago, the goal has always been to win section titles.
The Leopards have won section titles in the past, just never two in a row ... until this year.
Belle Vernon went 8-2 in Section 3-AAA for the second consecutive season to win its second consecutive outright section title. An 8-2 section record sometimes is not good enough to win a section title outright, but Section 3-AAA is a different animal.
It boasts programs such as Elizabeth Forward, Thomas Jefferson and South Park.
"Between Elizabeth Forward, Thomas Jefferson, South Park and us, everybody had their pitchers out," Rodriguez said. "We always strive for the section title, but its tough. Any game could have gone either way. As far as I could see, whoever got a couple key breaks and a little bit of luck won it.""