FAIRVIEW – Never showing a sign of panic, the West Point Lady Warriors’ incredible run through the loser's bracket of the Cullman County Softball Tournament ended Wednesday afternoon in a victorious celebration.
West Point toppled Cold Springs 9-3 to take home the championship for the third straight year.
It was a determined effort by the Lady Warriors after Cold Springs posted a 2-1 win against them Tuesday in the finals of the winners' bracket.
West Point recovered from the one-run setback, eliminated Good Hope 12-6 and then pulled off a huge comeback late Tuesday night against Cold Springs by a score of 14-9, producing eight runs in the top of the sixth after trailing 8-3, scoring all of them with two outs.
On Wednesday, West Point was behind 3-0 after an inning and a half as Cold Springs scored two in the first on Bailey West's RBI single and a groundout by Victoria Freeman.
The Lady Eagles added a run in the second when Rilee White singled in a run. That would be the fourth hit for Cold Springs in the early innings as West Point's Jeri Beasley got control of her game on the mound the rest of the contest.
Beasley shut out the Lady Eagles for the final five innings, allowing Cold Springs just three hits from that point on.
The key for her was getting out of a bases-loaded situation in the sixth. Beasley had Katherine Sanders to ground back to her as she threw to Makayla Brown at first to end the inning.
Waiting in the on deck circle for Cold Springs was White, who would go three for four in her final Cullman County tournament game.
West Point showed balance in its scoring. The Lady Warriors would tally two runs through the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings in creating breathing space vs. their county rival.
Courtney Blackwood produced a single that scored Gracie Abbot who started the third by reaching base when her fly ball in center was dropped for an error. Blackwood advanced to second on an overthrow at the plate to get Abbott and then scored when she stole third base a play later and the throw from the catcher went into left field.
West Point grabbed the lead for good in the fourth on Hope Shedd's double that scored Tess Hembree who led off the inning with a double. A ground out at second by Abbott brought in Shedd and the Lady Warriors were up 5-3.
In the fifth, two more runs were part of the scoring parade when Hembree singled in Makayla Brown who had a base hit and Molly Pendley scampered home on a passed ball.
After Beasley got out of the bases-loaded jam in the sixth, the Lady Warriors batted in the bottom of the frame as Brown's fielder's choice at third sent in Abbott, followed by Pendley with a double to left center, scoring Blackwood.
From the third through the sixth, West Point had eight runs on nine hits while Cold Springs was scoreless and only produced two hits.
White gave the Lady Eagles hope in leading off the seventh with a single, but it was erased on a fielder's choice by Bailey West.
Beasley struck out Anna Voce and got Freeman to ground out to Blackwood at short to end the game in two hours and six minutes.
This was West Point's third straight county title, but first under coach Eric Pendley. Pendley took over after Kevin Sullins retired following the 2015 season.
"We don't like to lose," Beasley said afterwards. "We came here to win." Beasley has been in the ball club as a county champion since her sophomore season, but this title, coming in her senior year, is especially sweet.
Spring has been good to the West Point athletic program. The Lady Warriors join the baseball team, who won the county championship at Fairview last month. A majority of the players were in the stands, giving tremendous support, something Beasley felt as an inspiration for herself and her teammates.