In a game that had threefold significance, the Marceline softball team defeated Brookfield on Monday night, 12-3, at Rusk Park.
Not only did the rivalry game have district implications, it also acted as the championship from the NCMC Tournament that was called off early on Saturday. Marceline had defeated East Harrison and Platte Valley, and Brookfield defeated South Harrison and host Trenton to advance to the title.
In addition, Monday night was the teams' annual Pink-Out Game in support of Andrea Severa's SEV (Saving Every Victim) Foundation, with fundraisers in support of cancer awareness and solutions.
Conveniently, both championship-bound teams had a regular-season game in line for Monday, and decided it would also act as the title game for a tournament that was aborted due to inclement weather.
Marceline improves to 14-3 with the victory, and Brookfield slips to .500 at 7-7.
Tiger senior Savannah Kelly pitched another gem on Monday night, allowing five hits and walking none. Brookfield left three runners on base throughout the course of the game, and none of them were in scoring position.
"Savannah was really pinpoint with a lot of her spots, and her velocity was good," Marceline coach Todd Lowther said. "Our defense made some really good plays, and I told them after the game that when we don't walk people and don't make errors, we have a chance to win a lot of games. We've swung the bats well all year, and when all of those facets come together, we can beat some people.
"Savannah's been pitching really well, and this is as good of an offense as we've ever had, I think."
Brookfield's committee pitching staff allowed 17 hits, although Marceline posted eight of them and seven of its runs in the final two innings. Leadoff batter and senior third baseman Kenzie Stahl finished with three hits, and multiple Tigers posted a pair. Ciarrah Bell posted a double and a three-run home run.
Two-thirds of Brookfield's runs came in the bottom of the seventh with the game all but over when freshman Ella Daugherty bombed one over the boards in left center. No Bulldog finished with multiple hits.
"We struggled tonight offensively and never got anything rolling," Brookfield coach Paige Corf said. "We never made any connections to get any runners in a position to advance, much less score. We played defensively really well, but all three of our pitchers kind of struggled tonight. Marceline's a really disciplined team at the plate, and our pitchers just got beat out by them."
By the time of this publication, Brookfield will have hosted ranked Palmyra, and Marceline will have headed for Harrisburg for its final non-home game of the conference slate.
Marceline hosts Fayette on Thursday, and Brookfield hosts Schuyler County.
Both teams will appear in Schuyler County's tournament on Saturday, weather permitting.
Kelly said that Monday night's game, while an important win, was more about unity in a greater cause.
"For us to be able to support something so big in our world today is amazing," the winning pitcher said. "Off the field, we're all good friends, and when we're on the field, of course we're competitive, but tonight especially we know that there are things more important than softball. Honestly, it's a really great thing.
"It's a really good win for us, and it gives us a lot of power going into the end of the season. Brookfield has improved a lot, and having the offense we have gave me some space to go out there and just pitch my game."