By: Conor Revell
Male’s softball team has won five straight Seventh Region titles but still has yet to return with a state championship trophy.
In 2015, the Bulldogs advanced to the state championship but lost 2-1 to McCracken County in the final. Male made it to the semifinals in the winners bracket in 2016 but lost to Scott County and then was eliminated by McCracken County.
Now, the Bulldogs are back at the state tournament for a fifth straight year and will have to play McCracken County in the opening round for a second consecutive year. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT at Owensboro’s Jack C. Fisher Park.
Here’s a Q & A with head coach Josh Bloomer:
1) What’s the rivalry like with McCracken County? This is the second straight year the Bulldogs will play the Mustangs in the first round and they have ended Male’s season three straight years.
“We have a lot of respect for Tony (Hayden) and their program. I look at them as one of our true rivals along with Scott County and some of the other powers around the state. I look to McCracken as more of a rival than the teams in our region. It’s kind of unlucky that we’re playing in the first round again but it is what it is. We haven’t played them this year but we know they’re always good and expect a good game. I know they saw us play Ballard in our regional final game last week.”
2) How important is it to win your first game? With Olivia Suksi injured, Jaelyn Sanders will be the Bulldogs only dominant pitcher. If Male loses their first game, they would have to win four games Friday and four games Saturday to win the state title.
“It’s important to win that first game for not only Jaelyn but if we want to win a state championship. The last time a team that lost their first game but still won the entire thing was Owensboro Catholic in the mid 90s. They were stacked that year. In my opinion the double elimination format is really watered down. You’re pretty much playing for fourth place, fifth place if you lose that first game. That doesn’t mean if we lose that game we’re going to stop playing. But if we want to be playing Saturday afternoon for a state championship then we need to win that first game.”
3) What’s the best part about this year’s Male team?
“I’ve been at Male for five years and this is the first time where every play has had me as their high school coach the entire time. They know how I coach and they know what I expect out of them. Just knowing that we’ve been together all this time makes it special.”
4) Who do you go to when you need a leader to speak up?
“I have eight seniors on this team and all of them lead in some way or another. But as far as having one player to step up that would be Bayleigh Masterson. Olivia Suski, Dani Walls,and Brevin Wyman aren’t afraid to speak up either. I look up to all eight of them when I need a leader and they have done a great job of that this season.”
5) What does this say about the Male softball program having won five regional titles in a row?
“I think it shows the amount of hard work that we have put in to continue the legacy of Male softball. I believe we have earned the right to call ourselves the best program in Louisville. We have the expectations of winning the Seventh Region title every year. There will come a day when somebody beats us in the Seventh Region Tournament but at the end of the day it’s all about working hard while having fun with each other.”