LOWELL - Melissa Light drove in two runs, including the winner in the eighth inning, and ace Kiara Amos shut down Acton-Boxboro as Malden slipped past the Colonials, 3-2, Monday night at Martin Field to capture the Division 1 North sectional title, the first in school history.
“This is a great steppingstone for our program. It’s taken a long time for us to get here,’’ said Malden coach John Furlong. “We beat some really good teams to get here so nobody can say we haven’t.’’
The Golden Tornadoes (23-1) struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Erika Hanson reached on an error and scored on a triple by Light. Senior Rebecca Krigman’s run-scoring single to left made it 2-0.
The lead was short-lived as A-B scored two runs in the top of the third.
Michelle Surdan tripled to start the inning and scored on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Ashley Reuther. Reuther took second on the play and came around to score the tying run on pitcher Sarah Ropiak’s single to left.
Both pitchers then settled in and began trading zeroes on the scoreboard. A-B had runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth innings but couldn’t solve Amos, who seemed to get better as the game went along.
“The first few innings I was so nervous, but I told myself to just relax and have fun out there,’’ Amos said. “I just went out and did my best and knew not to let them score.’’
Ropiak was up to the task, too, pitching out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings to keep the score tied.
“It was two good pitchers going at it and both teams trying to grind it out,’’ Furlong said. “A win is a win. It wasn’t the flashiest game but I’ll take it.’’
Malden finally broke through in the eighth. Emily Moran reached on an infield single and moved to second on a bunt. With two outs, Light came through again for the Golden Tornadoes, lifting a two-strike pitch to the outfield that was mishandled and allowed Moran to score.
“It’s a tough way to end, someone has to lose and unfortunately we came out on the wrong end,’’ said A-B coach Mary Matthews. “If you don’t make the plays it’s tough.’’
The Golden Tornadoes will go after their first EMass championship Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Bridgewater-Raynham at Martin Park in Lowell.