Bernie softball team claims fourth straight SCAA title, beats Puxico 11-1

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Pictured is the Bernie high school softball team with its first-place plaque at the SCAA Tournament Wednesday at Bernie.

BERNIE, Mo. - The Bernie Mules high school softball program is developing a pattern as the season progresses.

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Puxico shortstop Kaiti Paynes makes a play on the infield in the championship of the SCAA Tournament Wednesday at Bernie.

Remain patient when falling behind early and finish with a flurry

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Bernie’s Jacque Corbin swings at a pitch in the championship of the SCAA Tournament Wednesday at Bernie.

That trend continued Wednesday afternoon as top-seeded Bernie squared off against the No. 3 seeded Puxico Indians in the championship of the SCAA Tournament.

Puxico (7-6) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning before Bernie responded with 11 unanswered runs to secure an 11-1 five-inning victory on its home field.

“Puxico has some kids that compete well,” Bernie softball coach Brad Botsch said. “The first time we played them we were down 6-0 and scored 16 unanswered. We don’t panic too much early. I don’t know why but we don’t generally start really well. About the third or fourth inning, we hit our stride and get going. That’s been kind of our M.O. But I’m proud of the kids today. We had a lot of different players contribute. It was just a great team effort and another conference championship for these girls.”

Bernie sophomore Alyson Marcum put together a complete game start in the circle and hit a game-ending three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to secure a run-rule victory. Marcum finished 3 for 4 with a game-high four RBIs.

“She’s got kind of a line drive cut,” Botsch said. “That’s the one way to hit a ball out today is with a line drive. She popped it pretty good in the fifth. She’s been a great hitter all year and put a good swing on it today, and fortunately, it went out for us.”

Puxico, which advanced to the championship for a third straight season after beating No. 2 seeded Woodland 17-9 in a semifinal Tuesday, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Bailey Burns drew a leadoff walk and later scored from third base on a sacrifice fly by Kylie Miller.

“It’s the third time we’ve made it this far,” Puxico coach Will Davis said. “I’m proud of the girls. We fought hard. We had a hiccup today. We knew if we had that hiccup it was going to be about damage control. Obviously, their pitcher is good. We put the bat on it and got around a couple times. We gave up too many unearned runs but stayed up after a tough inning. But for our seniors to come from where they were and make it to the championship three years in a row in Stoddard County says something for them.”

Bernie moved ahead 6-1 when it plated six runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Mules added another run in the fourth frame and four runs in the fifth inning to set the final score.

Marcum, Shianne Spitzer, Logan Mayberry, Jacque Corbin and Taylor Anthony each collected a one-RBI hit for the Mules.

“It wasn’t really a great hitter’s day with the wind blowing as hard as it was,” Botsch said. "But the balls we hit we hit pretty hard. We were able to get some kids on and drive them in with some timely hits.”

It was the third straight season four of Puxico’s seniors had played in the conference championship.

“It’s been really fun to watch these seniors grow,” Davis said.

Bernie, which won the SCAA Tournament for a fourth straight season Wednesday, improves to 14-1 with the victory. Its only loss is to district rival Malden.

“We want to stay focussed and locked in,” Botsch said. “We want to continue to work and have the right mentality. We have to keep competing and getting better. If you can do that you give yourself a good shot in the postseason. We think we can compete with anyone around and just have to get out there and prove it on the field.”

Bernie 11, Puxico 1

PHS 100 00 - 1 3 4

BHS 060 14 - 11 10 0

WP - Alyson Marcum. LP - Kayt Hayes. HR - Marcum (B). 2B - Kaiti Payne (P), Vikki Burch (P). Multiple hits - Bernie: Marcum 3-4.

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Pictured is the Puxico high school softball team with its second-place plaque at the SCAA Tournament Wednesday at Bernie.
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