BELLAIRE - Sometimes it's not how you start, but how you finish.
That was such the case for Bellaire on Wednesday afternoon in softball action on the sun-baked Bellaire Middle School diamond in St. Joe.
The Big Reds (9-11) were held hitless for nearly four innings, but scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning and twice in the seventh to rally past rival Shadyside, 5-4.
Bellaire coach Melissa Lahna is hoping the come-from-behind victory will jumpstart Bellaire down the stretch run.
''It's good that this type of win came toward the end of the season because that is the way you want your team to be playing when tournament time rolls around,'' Lahna said. ''Not the start of the game, or our season, but the end of the game and hopefully we can build on that.''
The Tigers (13-4) were rolling along with a 4-0 lead after five innings as they tallied three runs in the second and one in the fifth.
Megan Heagney provided the big hit in the second with a two-run bloop single down the rightfield line with one out. The third run scored on an error.
Karli Bonar legged out an infield single with one out in the fifth. Sarah Benedetto dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw to first hit her in the back as Bonar alertly chugged to third. With Benedetto stealing second, the Big Reds tried to catch Bonar napping at third, but the throw sailed into leftfield and she raced home.
Heagney, Shadyside's hard-throwing freshman, was perfect for 3 2/3 innings before allowing a full-count walk to Taylar Canter. Casey Garloch followed with a sharp single to left and Macy Cordy singled up the middle.
However, Bellaire failed to score as Benedetto came up firing from center and tossed a laser to catcher Angelina McKeever, who applied the tag to the sliding Canter to end the inning.
Winning pitcher Megan Ging helped herself with a leadoff double to left-center to start the sixth inning. Sarah Marlin's fly ball to left was misplayed as Ging scored and Marlin ended up at second.
Canter reached on an error as Marlin went to third, from where she raced home on Garloch's groundout. Cordy followed with a run-producing single to center.
Elisha Gillespie started the game-winning rally by reaching on an error. Talia Duffy walked and both runners moved up a base on the next pitch. Ging then walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.
With the count 0-2 on Marlin, Heagney uncorked a wild pitch and Dallas Messenger, running for Gillespie, sprinted home with the tying run. With one out, Canter lined a 1-1 pitch down the right-field line to complete the comeback.
''We changed the lineup around a little, and Taylar came up with a big hit,'' Lahna said. ''That's something we haven't really had all season as we've left way too many runners on base.''
Shadyside coach Jillian Ongley said her team relaxed when it led 4-0.
''We've lost four games this season, and we've given three of them away,'' she noted. ''The girls relaxed. At the beginning of the game we're all into it, but we relaxed and it came back to bite us.''
Cordy had two singles and an RBI for Bellaire. Heagney doubled twice for the Tigers.
Heagney finished with 10 strikeouts and two walks. Ging fanned two and walked one.
Bellaire hosts Barnesville today for Senior Day, while Shadyside entertains Bishop Donahue Friday.