A bizarre finish kept the Malden High softball team from springing the upset of the state tournament in a Division I North game Monday.
The eighth-seeded Golden Tornadoes (15-7) took a 2-1 lead into the last of the seventh inning against top-seeded Central Catholic (22-1). But the Raiders scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, the winning run scoring on an obstruction call against a Malden player for a 3-2 final.
After Malden fought back from a 1-0 deficit to score two runs in the top of the sixth inning, sophomore pitcher Kiara Amos was one out away from locking up the victory.
With runners on first and third in the bottom of the seventh, Central’s Kayla Maloney roped a base hit into the gap in right-center field. The runner from third scored easily to tie the game at two, but the runner at first, Brianna Martin, took a turn at second base and then collided with Malden’s shortstop, Jen Tamindzija.
Martin fell to the dirt immediately, grimacing in pain and holding her right arm. Maloney turned and ran past Martin and ordinarily would have been ruled out for passing the runner.
But the umpires ruled that Martin had been obstructed by the shortstop, and not only awarded her third base, but also gave her home for the winning run. Martin eventually walked herself off the field and appeared to be OK.
The Malden players, unsure of how the game had ended, slowly walked off the field, visibly upset. The coaches were even more upset, and appealed their case to the umpires but were turned down.
“It might be the right call, but it’s a tough way to end the game.” said Golden Tornadoes coach Rich Cullen.
Central Catholic had routed Malden, 17-2, during the regular season, but Amos kept Malden in it all the way on Monday.
Francesca Richardson scored the first Malden run on a double by Renee Santo to make it 1-1 in the sixth and the Golden Tornadoes took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Santo scored on a double by Amos that nearly cleared the outfield fence.
Amos allowed just 1 earned run, 7 hits, and struck out 7.
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