STATESMAN TOP 10: Bloomfield gets rare win against Dexter during most successful season in years
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Bloomfield softball team began the season with a victory over Puxico but opened some eyes with a come-from-behind road win over Dexter in its second game. Bloomfield, who hadn’t posted a winning season in at least seven years, finished 11-7 and reached the championship game of the SCAA tournament and tied Advance for second in the final league standings. This game is No. 10 on the Dexter Statesman's list of top high school games from the 2018-19 school year involving Stoddard County teams.
The Bloomfield Wildcats snapped a losing streak that spanned at least eight years.
The Wildcats rallied from a five-run, fourth-inning deficit to beat the Dexter Bearcats 9-8 Tuesday, March 19, in an SCAA softball game at East Park. Their victory ended a losing streak of at least 11 games. No information beyond 2012 was available on mshsaa.org.
“We haven’t won against Dexter in a long time. It was nice for them to come out on top tonight,” Bloomfield coach Charlotte Phillips said. “I think the pitching kind of started out a little slow, but she (Melanie Phillips) finished it out. They finally started to hit. Just pulled it together in the end. I think they really did well.”
Melanie Phillips picked up the win despite struggling with command for much of the game. She allowed eight runs — six earned — on eight hits with seven strikeouts and 15 walks in seven innings.
“There were several times where we had the bases loaded,” Dexter coach Starla Pulley said. “People on base, and we just couldn’t produce at the plate.”
The Bearcats stranded 11 base runners in their season-opening loss.
After allowing a bunt single by Bloomfield leadoff hitter Karsynn Phillips, Dexter starting pitcher Kelsey Carrier retired the next nine batters over the first three innings.
The Wildcats strung together six hits in a three-run fourth inning that sliced Dexter’s lead to 4-3. Three of their hits were of the infield variety.
“That’s what we’ve been working on a lot this year. Working on slapping and bunting, so we can move those fast runners around the bases,” coach Phillips said. “Not everything has to be a home run.”
Bloomfield struck with two outs in the fourth after center fielder Mekenzie Yount caught Tyrah Hartle’s fly ball and threw out Savanna Spicer at third for a double play.
Jenna Yates singled home Adison Musgrave, who produced the first of six straight hits. Lilly Warrick drove in two runs on the last of six singles.
The Bearcats extended their lead to five in the bottom of the fourth. They drew six walks in the inning.
Sydney Asberry drew a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third when the Bloomfield shortstop mishandled the catcher’s throw to second. She scored on Mallory Dunlap’s sacrifice fly to right.
Pyles added a run-scoring single, Annie Slaton scored on an error after the left fielder mishandled Pyles’ base hit and Demi Cecil drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Bearcats an 8-3 lead.
Bloomfield cut its deficit to three runs in the fifth on Musgrave’s two-run homer to left field. Musgrave finished 3 for 4 to lead Bloomfield’s 13-hit attack.
“Bloomfield’s not afraid to hit the ball. They have some really good hitters,” Pulley said. “Bloomfield’s improved their program. They’re a solid team.”
Melanie Phillips pitched around a one-out single and two walks to hold Dexter scoreless in the bottom of the fifth.
The Wildcats scored four runs in the sixth to take the lead. Dexter committed three errors in the inning. Spicer singled home Karsynn Phillips with the go-ahead run with one out.
“We talked a lot about mental toughness,” Pulley said. “We have some girls with some good mental strength. Then, we have some we’re still trying to work with on that. That’s a hard thing to do because a lot of girls are born with that. Some girls you have to try to get into it.”
Pulley replaced Carrier with Asberry on the mound in the sixth. Carrier permitted nine runs — five earned — on 11 hits with six strikeouts and no walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Melanie Phillips retired the final seven batters of the game to finish off the Bearcats.
Dexter took advantage of three walks to take a 4-0 lead in the second inning.
Pyles and Yount sandwiched a pair of run-scoring singles around bases-loaded walks by Kennedy Bess and Asberry.