Malden rallies for victory
Tornadoes head to state title game
LOWELL - Malden rallied from a four-run deficit and defeated Bridgewater-Raynham Tuesday at Martin Field, 5-4, in a thrilling nine-inning battle to capture its first Division 1 EMass softball title.
In the bottom of the ninth, with Emily Moran on third and Erika Hanson on second, Malden’s Melissa Light hit the ball back to pitcher Audrey Dolloff, who misplayed it, allowing Moran to score the winning run.
“It feels unbelievable,’’ said Malden coach John Furlong. “Our motto is, ‘One city, one team,’ and you can see that. The girls, as a unit, they just go at it hard. They’re an amazing group of young women and it’s a pleasure for me to coach them.’’
Light, who went 2 for 4 with a triple, said she was confident stepping up to the plate.
“I knew I could do it,’’ said Light. “I went up there swinging. At first I thought [Dolloff] could catch it but it was a ground ball. I saw her bobble it and I realized we had a chance. It’s surreal.’’
The Trojans wasted no time getting on the board, scoring two runs in the first.
Rachel McCall walked and advanced on a single by Chelsea Correia. McCall and Correia then came around to score on Alyssa McKinnon’s single to put B-R up, 2-0.
“The first inning I honestly panicked because they got two runs. I thought it wasn’t going to be a good game for me,’’ said Malden pitcher Kiara Amos. “But I learned to pick myself and told myself to keep doing what I have to do to win.’’
Amos allowed seven hits and struck out three. Dolloff allowed nine hits and fanned five.
The Trojans added a run in the fourth and fifth innings for a 4-0 advantage.
McKinnon belted a triple to deep center and scored on a sacrifice fly from Sophie Perez in the fourth. Madi Shaw ripped a double to start the fifth, McCall reached on an error, sending Shaw to third and she scored on a sacrifice fly by Correia.
The Tornadoes finally caught up to Dolloff in the sixth. Light hit a leadoff triple, Emily Hoffman walked, and Hannah Calderone singled to score Light. Jess Brown singled to load the bases, bringing Bridget Furlong to the plate.
With an 0-and-1 count, Furlong crushed a three-run double to left-center to tie the score, 4-4.
“A lot of people thought it was over,’’ said Furlong. “I told the girls at the beginning of the sixth inning, ‘We’re going to score five,’ and we scored four to tie it. My daughter Bridget hit an absolute bomb to tie it. That’s a good enough present for me for Father’s Day.’’
Malden will face Milford Saturday at Worcester State for the state title.