Bristol softball captures remarkable 26th BAL title with win over Christopher Dock

NEW HOPE — From a Bristol perspective, the Bicentennial Athletic League’s Independence Division softball championship is back where it belongs.

Winning the game on a dramatic walk-off double by Marlee Sutterley in the bottom of the seventh inning, Bristol defeated Christopher Dock, 2-1, Thursday, May 21 in a special tiebreaker to determine the BAL champion after the two teams had split during the regular season.

This was an entertaining game with a lot more action than the three runs might indicate. It was also a game that could have gone either way at any moment.

In the end, Bristol (16-3) was able to capture a remarkable 26th BAL title and unseat defending champion Dock (16-5) behind the resilient pitching of Bryanna Vearling, some big defensive plays and two very timely hits.

“This was a fun game to be a part of,’ said Bristol coach Mike Lalli, whose team will open district play on Tuesday, May 26 against Calvary Christian at a site that has yet to be announced. “Our girls were determined to get it (the title) back.’

Helping matters were some questionable decisions by the Dock coach, who ran his team out of two innings by foolishly trying to steal against Warrior catcher Tianna Brewington and then ordered up an ill-advised safety squeeze in the sixth.

The squeeze failed miserably as Bristol first baseman Jade Stevens alertly fielded the ball and threw to third to catch the runner, who had gone only halfway down the line before turning back. Stevens also turned a double play by spearing a line drive in the third and stepping on first.

Although Dock had nine hits and Vearling had control issues at times, what the Lansdale club could not to do was get the key hits. Its lone run came in the third inning when Lauren Weidler singled with one out.

Bristol had just five hits against two Dock pitchers and scored first when Stevens doubled and scored on a two-out single by freshman Cara Fabiano in the second. After each team failed to cash in on a couple of opportunities — Dock stranded 12 runners on base — Fabiano reached first to start the seventh inning on an error.

Up stepped Sutterly, who laced a double in the gap as speedy pinch-runner Tiana Nelson flew around the bases to beat the tag by a comfortable margin.

Just like that, Bristol was back on top of the BAL and appears primed to capture another in a very long line of district titles.

Last year was the first time in nine seasons the Warriors did not capture the league title. But Bristol went on to capture another district crown then made it all the way to the state semifinals.

Winners of the past four District 1 Class A championships, the Warriors advanced in states with wins over GAMP (24-0) and South Williamsport (5-0). Bristol won districts with wins over Morrisville and Friends Select.

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