Anacortes softball coach Tom Swapp has been around the game a long time.
Forty years to be exact.
So when Swapp says, “We’ve had some great igniters at the top of our order over the years, but there’s never been one like Megan (Bellusci),” it’s duly noted.
For the second consecutive year, Bellusci has been named Skagit Valley Herald Softball Player of the Year.
This season, the senior rewrote the Anacortes record books.
Her batting average of .725 topped her record of .717 set a season ago.
“That was a goal this season, to beat my batting average from last year, and I did that,” Bellusci said.
For her four-year career, she batted a school-record .665, while her on-base percentage was a school-record .709.
Her 66 hits is a school record for a season as is her 266 career hits, pushing past her sister Tara’s 186 hits between 2008-2011.
Bellusci said she never thinks about stats when she’s in the batter’s box.
“I relax my mind,” she said. “I think about fishing or I usually have a song stuck in my head, something.”
She had a school-record six hits against Granite Falls, and her 51 career extra-base hits places her third all-time in that category.
“That’s interesting because the two ahead of her are Madison Bundy and Amber Writer, both power hitters who became college stars,” Swapp said. “Megan is thought to be a slapper.”
Bellusci’s hitting style is to make contact with the ball as she moves forward, allowing her to move toward first base while at the same time directing the ball’s trajectory.
Bellusci is a master at this style, and that isn’t by accident.
“I was able to get on base because of my speed,” she said. “I could bunt, slap, or hit away. I practiced slapping at the batting cage. I’d set up a bucket and try to hit the ball to it. You learn to pick your spot, get the timing down, to go on contact and that makes it easy.”
Though Bellusci didn’t shy away from crushing the ball hard and deep when the opportunity arose, she knew that wasn’t her true value to the team.
“My job was to get on base,” she said. “Then let someone else get the glory. Slap, bunt, whatever it took.”
Bellusci’s season helped the Seahawks to an unbeaten regular season in which they went 18-0.
In the playoffs, they were 1-2 to see their season end at the bi-district round.
“I wish we’d went further,” Bellusci said. “An undefeated senior (regular) season, that was great.”
As for what next year holds for her, Bellusci has made no decisions. She said she originally wasn’t looking to play softball in college, but has changed her mind.
“I was done with softball and now I’m not,” she said. “I know wherever I go I’ll have a good time. Just where that will be, I’m not sure.”
Wherever she lands, Bellusci plans to work toward a career in science.
“I’ll figure out what I want to do and see what happens,” she said. “If that means I take a gap year, I’d be fine with that. I love school. I have no senioritis at all.”