Arab spoils West Point’s bid for victory on senior night

Johnny Thornton

WEST POINT – Arab prevented West Point from celebrating senior night by claiming a 5-3 victory Tuesday in a battle of Class 5A softball programs.

West Point started the game well with a two-run homer in the first by shortstop Olivia Ball, scoring Lillie Burdette ahead of her. Burdette drew a walk that set up Ball's blast over the left-field fence against Arab starter Meagan Busby.

Arab coach Casey Clark went to the bullpen after the Ball homer and brought in left-hander Meagan Tidmore.

Tidmore did her job of retiring 13 consecutive West Point batters before she allowed a run to reach base. Catcher Hope Shedd drew a walk with two out in the fifth to snap the string, but West Point could not manage a run as Ava Jo Rushing was called out on strikes to end the inning.

Arab capitalized on three of four West Point errors. Two came on one play in the second when Lauren Barnett's single to center field was mishandled. Barnett went to second and headed to third when a relay throw to the bag sailed into the third base dugout, allowing Barnett to cross home and cut the margin to 2-1.

Josey Gammon was sharp for West Point with six consecutive outs following the Arab run. But in the fourth, Gammon gave up a home run to left field by Lakelyn Wilson and the game was even at 2-2.

Lindsey Wilson was safe on a throwing error and moments later, came in on a two-out single by Elli Derrick, that sailed over Ball's glove at shortstop by mere inches. Arab went into the bottom of the fourth on top 3-2.

Arab's lead increased in the fifth when Kelsey Pope opened the inning with a single, was sacrificed to second, moved to third on a fly out and came home when Wilson's grounder deflected off the glove of Molly Pendley at third and deep to Ball at short. Ball could not get Wilson out with Pope scoring and the lead going to 4-2.

Barnett followed with a run-scoring single that got Wilson home and the Lady Knights led 5-2.

Tidmore had not allowed West Point a hit through her relief work that came with one out in the first. But in the seventh, Pendley opened the inning by a double to left and came home on a single from Makayla Brown, narrowing the deficit to 5-3.

Avery McClure singled with Brown heading to third. During the play, McClure tried to advance to second, but was cut down when Tidmore cut off the relay and threw to the bag to get the first out.

Shedd and Rushing could not extend the inning as the game ended at 6:01 p.m. The time of the game was an hour and 36 minutes.

This was the final home game for Jordyn Kimbrell and Burdette, seniors for coach Eric Pendley's ball club.

West Point is 18-12-3 as they head to the Cullman Pre-State this weekend at Heritage Park. Arab will be participating in the annual event as well.

The schedule will be announced later.

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