MURRAY — When the Class 1A Region 6 softball pairings were announced, a regional final showdown in Chariton on July 14 was anticipated between fifth-ranked Wayne of Corydon and No. 9 Murray.
Bedford missed the memo.
The unranked Bulldogs improved to 7-19 for the season and ended Murray’s conference championship year at 24-3 in a stunning 9-4 victory on the Lady Mustangs’ field Wednesday night.
It was the same field on which Murray was upset by Corning last year when that school’s final season ended in a regional final appearance. But, this was even more surprising, considering the contrasting records going in.
Coach Danny Jensen was almost at a loss for words afterward.
“I really can’t even fathom what happened,” he said quietly, while grooming the field long after the game. “We had six errors after having only 40 errors all season in 26 games. And we could not hit the slow pitching. We must have hit 30 foul balls. Then we would pop up. We weren’t patient enough.”
Only four of Bedford’s nine runs were earned thanks to Murray’s fielding miscues. On the other hand, Bedford had only one error behind pitchers Rachel Armstrong and Michaela Mogler.
Bedford also knocked Murray out of regional basketball play last winter in Murray, and many of the same athletes were involved in Wednesday’s action. Maddy Walston had a double, and Fallyn Beemer and Emily Weed drove in runs for the Bulldogs.
Murray left the bases loaded in the fourth inning with no outs, then retired in order. After scoring two runs in the sixth inning, Murray again stranded three runners in trying to complete the comback. Bedford scored three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth after the score stood knotted at 2-2 through three innings.
“We’ve been a team with key hits all year, but tonight no key hits,” Jensen said. “But, give them credit. They caught three line drives, they caught a couple of nice balls in the outfield and their shortstop made a couple of nice plays. Defensively, they made plays when they had to.”
Armstrong was relieved by Mogler after loading the bases in the fourth on a hit batter and two walks. Mogler got three outs in order without surrendering a run.
Brandi Gilbert had two of Murray’s seven hits including a double. Chellsea Jones hit a two-run double in the first inning. Right fielder Megan Oswald, one of three Lady Mustang seniors, had two hits.
Center fielder Maddy Martin and pitcher Kate Patton were the other seniors concluding their careers Wednesday. Patton started 170 straight games for Murray, and Oswald surpassed 100 starts since her freshman campaign.
“That’s a lot of experience leaving us,” Jensen said.
In her final game in the circle for Murray, Patton surrendered seven hits while striking out five with two walks.
Wayne, meanwhile, advanced with a 3-1 victory over Moravia and will play Lamoni Friday in Corydon. Bedford takes on Mount Ayr (12-12) in a game originally scheduled to take place in Murray. However, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union may change that site now that Murray is not playing.
In previous meetings this season, Bedford has lost twice to Mount Ayr by scores of 10-5 and 10-0.
Bedford 9, Murray 4
R H E
Murray 200 002 0 — 4 7 6
Bedford 110 331 x — 9 7 1
M: Kate Patton 5K 2BB and McKenzie Case. B: Rachel Armstrong 1K 3BB 1 HBP, Michaela Mogler (4) 1K 1BB and Charissa Mogler. W — Mogler. L— Patton. 2B — M: Brandi Gilbert, Chellsea Jones; B: Maddy Walston. RBI — M: Jones 2, Megan Oswald 1, Deena Snyder 1, Maddy Martin 1; B: Armstrong 1, Emily Weed 1, Ashlyn Spencer 1, Fallyn Beemer 1. Multiple hitters — M: Brandi Gilbert 2, Oswald 2; B: C. Mogler 2.