AREA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: West Point downs Russellville 4-1 to advance

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West Point’s Bethany Minck lays down a bunt during the Lady Warriors’ 4-1 win over Russellville Monday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – This year’s 5A, Area 15 Tournament began at West Point High School Monday night and after Russellville defeated Lawrence County in the opening round, the Lady Golden Tigers advanced to face the top-seeded Lady Warriors. After a pair of scoreless innings, West Point put a pair of runs on the board in the third and tacked on two more in the next two innings to pull away and defeat Russellville 4-1.

After Russellville reached first with a leadoff walk, Carlie Wilkins fanned two of the next three batters she faced to end the top of the first, but West Point wasn’t able to get on the board in its half of the inning either. Wilkins collected four more strikeouts over the next two innings and the Lady Warriors were able to take a lead in the bottom of the third.

Wilkins drew a walk to get on base and just a few pitches later, Braelee Quinn drilled a 2-run bomb over the center field fence and put West Point on top 2-0 going into the fourth. The Lady Tigers went down in order in the top of the fourth and in the bottom half of the inning, Bethany Minck laid a bunt down the third base line to bring home Kaci Minck and make it a 3-0 game. Russellville threatened to get on the board in the top of the fifth with a pair of two-out singles, but Wilkins got the next batter to pop out and kept the West Point lead intact.

Wilkins helped herself out with a leadoff home run in the bottom half of the fifth and extended the lead to 4-0 but after they led off the top of the sixth with a double into center field, the Lady Tigers trimmed the lead to 4-1 with an RBI single and made it a 3-run game going into the sixth inning.

The Lady Warriors went back out on the field for the top of the seventh needing just three outs to advance in the winner’s bracket and Wilkins retired the final three batters with a line out and a pair of strikeouts to secure a 4-1 win for West Point.

Wilkins tossed a complete game for the Lady Warriors, allowing one run on just four hits and striking out 11 batters.

Bethany Minck led West Point with two hits and an RBI and Quinn (HR) posted a pair of RBIs in the win. Wilkins added a hit and an RBI and Lexi Kimbril finished with a hit for the Lady Warriors as well.

Russellville will face Lawrence County again in an elimination game tomorrow at 4 p.m. and the winner will advance to take on West Point in the 5A, Area 15 Championship Game immediately after.

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