Malden rallies past Bernie 8-4 for fifth straight district softball championship
BERNIE, Mo. — The second-seeded Bernie Mules built leads of 3-1 and 4-2 before the top-seeded Malden Green Wave scored six unanswered runs to win the Class 1 District 3 championship 8-4 at Bernie High School Wednesday.
Malden coach Angela Rodgers said that her players didn’t let the early struggles get them down.
“They just let it go and worked on what they were doing right that second,” Rodgers said of the program’s fifth straight district title. “That’s one thing we’ve been talking about. You’ve just got to let bad things go. … Anything that’s not going the way you want it, let it go and play for the moment, and that’s what they did later in the game.”
The Green Wave, which beat Bernie in each of the past four district title games, strung together six hits and took advantage of two Bernie errors while scoring three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. They finally got to starting pitcher Alyson Marcum, who held them to two unearned runs on two hits through four innings.
“We had some mistakes during the game,” Bernie coach Brad Botsch said. “Our mistakes led to some runs for them.”
The Mules committed five errors, leading to four unearned runs.
Malden scored three runs with two outs in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead.
Lana Reed and Gracie Thomas hit back-to-back singles, and Hope Hartman drew a walk to load the bases. Reed raced home on a wild pitch, and Hailey Rojas singled home Thomas and Hartman, who also advanced on the wild pitch.
In the sixth, Lexi Campbell doubled with one out and scored on Thomas’ single to left-center field. Reed, who drew an intentional walk, scored on an errant throw to third by the pitcher. Thomas scored on an error by the shortstop.
The Green Wave took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Hartman singled, reached second base on an error by the shortstop and scored on an error by the first baseman.
Bernie scored three runs in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Taylor Anthony drew a leadoff walk, Marcum singled and Cymber Arnold drove home Anthony with a double to right field. Jackie Corbin drew a walk to load the bases, and Cassidy Freed doubled home Marcum and Arnold.
Rojas doubled, dashed to third on an error on the ensuing relay throw and stole home.
“You’ve got to take those chances sometimes,” Rodgers said. “If you want it … that’s why we were being aggressive.”
The Mules restored their two-run lead in the top of the fifth. Corbin drew a walk with two outs and scored when Shianne Spitzer drew a bases-loaded walk.
Malden starter Hartman issued three walks in the fifth before Campbell replaced her to record the final out.
The Mules left the bases loaded in the fifth and stranded 10 baserunners overall.
“We loaded the bases at least four times today, and really only one time, punched a runner or two in,” Botsch said. “You get that many opportunities against a quality club, you’ve got to find a way to cash in. We just didn’t get that timely hit like we needed.”
Bernie hit into two double plays and ran into two outs on the basepaths.
Campbell secured the win, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. She didn’t allow a hit, walked two and struck out three.
Marcum was charged with the loss, permitting eight runs (four earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts and four walks in six innings.
Hartman gave up four runs on six hits with three strikeouts and six walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Bernie finished its season 21-3.
“(This loss) doesn’t take anything away from the season,” Botsch said. “I think the kids had a great year and did a lot of great things. I’m proud of them.”
The Green Wave (21-4) will face Park Hills Central (19-3) on Monday at Park Hills.
“We’ve been on a rollercoaster all year long,” Rodgers said. “We couldn’t ever put everything together, but we kept working, and this proved that we wanted it. We have some experienced and some inexperienced players. Our leaders stepped up and showed our inexperienced players that it can happen if we work hard.”