Winning is easy - The Explorer: Sports

Winning is easy

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:04 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Martha Bleyl’s eyesight worked just fine last Friday.

No cataracts, nor macular denigrations, caused mirages that the tight one-run softball game her granddaughters nurtured had indeed vanished in a sixth-inning hail of leather apparently slung by an A-10 wandering off-course from the Barry Goldwater firing range.

Nope. From out of nowhere, Phoenix Northwest Christian drubbed Pusch Ridge Christian with eight fast runs in the semifinals, a 9-0 final.

Four of Bleyl’s optometrist’s kids suited up on the Northwest Christian team, she said. Worse, the doctor-patient duo traded ribs all week over the upcoming matchup. So when the Lions’ dam broke, Bleyl felt obliged to stride over to the opposing bleachers and humorously concede “things weren’t going too well.”

Pusch Ridge (21-8) had already fallen to the other three teams in the 2A Final Four, during the regular season. This loss to the Crusaders — beaten a day later by Benson in the finals — bookended the Lions’ season, after an opening-day 15-1 defeat.

Another underdog leashed, it would seem.

“I thought it was a good game up until it got so lopsided, but I thought they did real well,” Bleyl offered. “But they play respectfully of the other teams, and to me that’s the way it ought to be played.”

Bleyl was onto something with her stodgy sportsmanship notions, as a curious occurrence took place afterwards.

No gloves were cast to the ground — as were by some other banished squads during the weekend. No half-hour sniffle-huddles seeped from the Lions. And no trash-talking came from the victors, for that matter.

Each side ringed the pitcher’s mound and joined hands, offering respect. Then they broke, and Pusch Ridge offered some more props, skyward. Afterward, the Lions left the field, chins held high.

With class.

Despite the Crusaders’ onslaught, Lions coach Phil Fileccia’s girls knew it was only a game; played for God, Family, School and Softball — in that order.

Fileccia never considered pulling his pitcher (and Martha’s granddaughter), Shawna Bleyl, as she was battered in that final inning. The senior’s been accepted to West Point next fall — presumably to study engineering, definitely to sink Navy with her throwing arm.

“You don’t take the ball from someone like that,” Fileccia said, almost radiantly. “You look her in the eye, smile and know that she’s got it.”

As Martha congratulated Shawna outside the fence, you might’ve guessed the affable pitcher left her high school days behind capped with the title.

“It didn’t feel like we lost by that much. It might look harsh when you look at the score, but it doesn’t feel that bad,” Shawna said.

Perhaps winning’s the easy part. Losing respectably takes class, and the Lions showed proper.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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