PREP SOFTBALL: Lady Warriors topple Good Hope 5-3 to win 6th straight county title; Wednesday night scoring wrap-up

West Point celebrates on the field after winning its sixth straight Cullman County Championship. (Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – For the sixth straight season, the West Point Lady Warriors are your Cullman County Softball Champions after defeating Good Hope 5-3. The Lady Warriors enjoyed a bye in the opening round but topped Holly Pond 4-1 to advance to the title game. Good Hope edged out Cold Springs 7-5, courtesy of a walk-off homer from Bailey Swann, and routed Hanceville 13-1 to punch its ticket to the finals. Home runs from Makayla Brown, Molly Pendley and Gracie Abbott accounted for four of West Point’s five runs in the title game, and Carlie Wilkins tossed all seven innings against the Lady Raiders’ high-powered offense.

After two scoreless innings, West Point was the first on the scoreboard thanks to an RBI single from Abbott and the Lady Warriors stretched their lead to 2-0 in the fourth with a solo shot from Brown. The Lady Raiders scored on an error to trim the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth and Sidnie English tied the game at 2 with an RBI single up the middle.

Pendley got both runs back for West Point in the top of the fifth with a two-run bomb to left-center that made it a 4-2 game, but Good Hope wasn’t done yet. A sacrifice fly from Angelina Flanagan brought Swann home to score and cut the lead to 4-3 going into the seventh inning.

With a one-run lead in the top of the seventh, the Lady Warriors picked up an insurance run off the bat of Abbott when she drove one over the left field wall and put West Point up 5-3 with three outs between them and the county title. The Lady Raiders got two runners on the bases with the winning run at the plate, but Bethany Minck collected the final out of the game in the infield and the Lady Warriors held on to win it in a nail-biter, 5-3.

Coach Eric Pendley has seen his fair share of county championships in his time at West Point and his team is proud to be able to consistently bring home hardware, but he knew tonight’s matchup against Good Hope would be one of their toughest tests.

“That’s something that they take a lot of pride in and I knew that this was going to be the toughest battle out of the six years that we’ve won it because Tim (Tucker) does a phenomenal job with that bunch,” Pendley said. “They’ll be in Montgomery; they’re a great ball club.”

The Lady Warriors have battled through some injuries this season, most notably the loss of one of their strongest batters, Olivia Ball, and Pendley is proud of the way this team has fought it out through some obstacles.

“We’ve overcome a lot of adversity,” Pendley said. “We lose Olivia and she was All-State last year with 22 home runs, and then my catcher goes down and Molly (Pendley) has to catch and she’s never caught in her life and then Carlie (Wilkins) has been out for two weeks with tendonitis in her arm and I didn’t know if she was even going to get to throw today. So, after seeing them fight the way they have I just couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Other Wednesday night scores:

Vinemont 4 – Hanceville 3 (baseball)

The Eagles hosted Hanceville for a pair of critical area matchups on Wednesday and took both games by a combined two runs. After taking a 3-0 lead in the third, the Bulldogs bounced back to tie it by the end of the fifth inning, but a sacrifice fly from Wyatt Thomason brought home the go-ahead run for Vinemont in the bottom of the sixth and proved to be the difference in the 4-3 Eagles win.

Travis Hopper collected a pair of hits for Vinemont in the win and Deacon Samples (one hit), Colby Miller, Isaac Smith and Thomason each drove in a run. Mark Dyer went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI in the loss for Hanceville.

Vinemont 9 – Hanceville 8 (baseball)

After edging out the Bulldogs in game one to even the series, Vinemont was able to squeak out another win over Hanceville in game two and clinch the area title. After the Eagles built an 8-0 advantage in the first three innings, the Bulldogs rallied and came all the way back to tie the game at 8 in the top of the seventh. Unfortunately for Hanceville fans, Vinemont still had some heroics left and Zander Noblett drove a sacrifice fly into center field that allowed Wyatt Thomason to come home and give the Eagles this year’s area crown.

Clay Rogers was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with an RBI in the win and Noblett (three RBIs) along with Thomason collected three hits for Vinemont. Alex Campbell led the way at the plate for the Bulldogs, going 2-for-4 with a grand slam and four RBIs.

photo courtesy of Missy Griffin Riddle

Cullman 6 – Hartselle 0 (baseball)

A shutout performance on the mound from Peyton Colvard lifted the ‘Cats to a 6-0 win over Hartselle in the first matchup of the area series and Cooper Beck racked up four hits to help out as well. Cullman scored three in the first and got three more in the fourth with a bases-clearing double off the bat of Beck.

Beck was 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs in the win and Colvard (one hit) and Brennen Norton (one hit) each drove in a run for the Bearcats as well.

Fairview 3 – Oneonta 1 (baseball)

Dayne Black was the star of this Wednesday night area matchup as the senior standout went the distance on the mound, allowing just one run on two hits and collecting 10 strikeouts to go along with his two-run homer in the bottom of the first.

Black led the way at the plate with a hit and two RBIs for the Aggies and Jack Brown (one hit) drove in the other run in the win for Fairview.

Cold Springs 7 – West End 2 (baseball)

After falling behind 1-0 in the second, the Eagles tied things up in the top of the third and scored three in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead over West End. Cold Springs tacked on three more in the top of the seventh to build some insurance before the final frame and West End was never able to come back and match the Eagles.

Dylan Gable led the Eagles with two hits and Brooks Stephenson (one hit) and Jake Abbott led with two RBIs. Ayden Alexander (one hit), Brodee Bartlett (one hit) and Roberto Ayala each drove in a run for Cold Springs as well.

Good Hope 11 – Ashville 0 (baseball)

The Raiders racked up 14 hits and scored all 11 of their runs in the first three innings of their game one matchup against Ashville and managed to put things away in five innings. Colton Williams was 3-for-3 with three RBIs in the win for Good Hope and Caleb Rusk (two hits) and Lane Speegle (two hits) each drove in three runs in the win as well.

Preston Bagwell tossed all five innings for the Raiders, allowing no runs on just two hits and picking up six strikeouts.

Good Hope 6 – Ashville 5 (baseball)

Good Hope had a little more trouble with Ashville in their second Wednesday night matchup and after trailing 2-1 most of the way, the Raiders plated five runs in the bottom of the fifth to move ahead for good.

Colton Williams led the way at the plate with two hits and two RBIs and Harper Chiaranda drove in a pair of runs for Good Hope as well.

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