WEST POINT, Ala. – After some spring storms put this year’s Cullman County Softball Tournament on hold earlier this week, our local teams returned to West Point Thursday afternoon to continue battling it out for this year’s county title. The Lady Warriors dominated Holly Pond 16-0 to secure a spot in Friday’s County Championship Game and the Lady Broncos topped Good Hope in the loser’s bracket to fight their way back into a rematch with West Point in the county finals. West Point and Holly Pond will square off Friday night at 6 p.m. for this year’s county championship.
Cold Springs 6 – Fairview 2 (Loser’s Bracket)
Cold Springs looked to get on the scoreboard first in their opening at-bats. Brooklyn Ingram lined a leadoff double to left field, then one out later, Emma Black got hit by the pitch. Fairview starter Ayda Payne, though, got a fielder’s choice and a strikeout to get out of the inning unscathed. The Lady Eagles’ starter, Black, and the Lady Aggies, Payne, got themselves out of some early jams to keep the game scoreless through two innings. After Payne set Cold Springs down in order in the top of the third, the Lady Aggies’ bats got going in their half.
Allie Scott hit a leadoff single, then a sacrifice bunt moved her over to second. A Jaycee Aleman double put runners on second and third with one out, then a suicide squeeze play by Kaitlyn Benson allowed Scott to score and that gave the Lady Aggies a 1-0 lead. Payne helped her own cause as she hit an RBI single to make it 2-0. The Lady Eagles got a two-out rally started in the top of the fourth as Pearl drew a walk. She later scored on a Starla Fuller RBI double to cut the Fairview lead to 2-1. After a scoreless fifth inning, Cold Springs looked to take the lead in the top of the sixth.
Ciara Calvert hit a leadoff single and Journee Swann drove her in with an RBI double as that tied the game up at two. One out later, Pearl reached on a Lady Aggie error and Swann scored on another Fairview error to give the Lady Eagles a 3-2 lead. An RBI groundout by Fuller pushed Cold Springs’ lead to 4-2. The Lady Eagles added on to their lead in the seventh. Singles by Black and Swann put runners on the corners with two outs, then Heidi Nichols got the biggest hit of the game for Cold Springs as she lined a two-run double to center field to make it 6-2. The Lady Aggies couldn’t get anything going in their final at-bats and the Lady Eagles pick up a 6-2 win over Fairview to move on to the next round.
Nichols and Fuller each finished with a hit and two RBIs for Cold Springs. Swann added a pair of hits and an RBI in the contest, while Ingram, Black, Calvert, and Pearl each collected a hit as well. Black allowed eight hits, two runs, walked one, and struck out seven in a complete game effort for the Lady Eagles. For Fairview, Kaitlyn Benson and Payne each finished with a hit and an RBI. Allison Davis added a pair of hits. Emily Benson, Aleman, Emma Roberts, and Scott each ended up with a hit in the game.
Good Hope 17 – Vinemont 2 (Loser’s Bracket)
Good Hope starter Molly Benefield struck out the first two Vinemont batters that she faced, then after a two-out walk, she recorded another strikeout to get out of the inning unscathed. The Lady Raiders lit up the scoreboard in their opening at-bats. Back-to-back singles by Lexi Steed and Campbell Koch had them in business early, then Haley Lay hit an RBI double to center field to put Good Hope on the scoreboard first. Later on in the inning, Natalie Miller hit a one-out RBI single to center field and Benefield added an RBI groundout to make it 3-0. Molly Johnson hit a two-run double to push the Lady Raider lead to 5-0. Steed lined a two-run single to center field to make it a 7-0 score.
The Lady Eagles got something going in the top of the second. Abby Cody hit a leadoff single, then Lauren Elliot drew a walk. A single by Angela Harris loaded the bases with no outs. Brooklyn Knott drew another walk to bring home Cody to put the Lady Eagles on the scoreboard. Benefield quickly settled down after that as she struck out Anneliese Kline for the first out. Maci Smith then lined out to Koch at third base, who doubled off Elliot at third, as Benefield was able to get out of the inning with only limited damage done.
Good Hope continued to swing some red-hot bats in the bottom of the second. They quickly loaded the bases with no outs and Miller promptly cleared them as her bases-clearing double made it 10-1. Johnson’s RBI double pushed the Lady Raider lead to 11-1 and later on in the inning, Steed drove in Johnson on a two-out bunt single to make it 12-1. Steed later scored on a throwing error as that made it 13-1, then Lay crushed a two-run home run over the left field fence and Good Hope took a 15-1 lead into the third inning.
Vinemont added a run in the third on an RBI fielder’s choice by Cody, but Good Hope looked to end things in their half of the third inning. Carley Adams and Miller each reached base on a walk and a hit by pitch, respectively. Later on in the inning, a pair of Lady Eagle errors allowed Adams and Miller to cross the plate as the Lady Raiders roll past Vinemont, 17-2, to move on to the next round.
Miller led the way for Good Hope with two hits and four RBIs. Steed collected three hits and three RBIs. Lay and Johnson each added a pair of hits and three RBIs in the contest, while Benefield ended up with an RBI as well. For Vinemont, Cody finished with a hit and an RBI, while Knott added an RBI as well. Mabry Thompson and Harris each collected a hit in the contest.
West Point 16 – Holly Pond 0 (Winner’s Bracket)
The Lady Warriors handled Holly Pond in their winner’s bracket matchup in dominant fashion. West Point racked up 16 runs on 15 hits in just three innings against the Lady Broncos, starting with 11 runs in the first.
An RBI double by Carlie Wilkins made it 1-0 and just a few pitches later, Sidney Burks drilled a 2-run single into left field to extend the lead to 3-0. An error allowed a fourth run to score and Alexis Kimbril ripped an RBI single to right field to make it a 5-0 game. Bethany Minck squared up an RBI single to plate another run and back to back homeruns by Wilkins and Burks put the Lady Warriors up 11-0 going into the second inning.
After a scoreless second inning, West Point put things away in the third. Burks’ second homer of the day stretched the lead to 13-0 and Kimbril officially iced the win for the Lady Warriors later in the inning with a 3-run bomb to secure a 16-0 victory and a spot in Friday night’s County Championship Game.
Burks (three) hits racked up five RBIs in the win and Wilkins (two hits) and Kimbril (two hits) each drove in four. Micnk (two hits) added a pair of RBIs as well.
Good Hope 6 – Cold Springs 4 (Loser’s Bracket)
Cold Spring and Good Hope faced each other in an elimination game Thursday night and the Lady Raiders were able to pull ahead with a big third inning to take a 6-4 win from the Lady Eagles.
A fielder’s choice allowed Heidi Nichols to score and put Cold Springs in front 1-0 in the top of the first, but Good Hope responded right away in the bottom half of the inning. Addyson Burgess lifted a 2-run double into right field to give the Lady Raiders a 2-1 lead and an RBI double off the bat of Natalie Miller made it a 3-1 game going into the second.
An RBI groundout from Anna Stricklin trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the top of the second and another RBI groundout from Journee Swann tied things up at 3 in the top of the third. Good Hope moved back in front in the bottom of the third, scoring on a pair of passed balls and an error to take a 6-3 lead into the fourth inning.
After three scoreless innings, Emma Black connected with an RBI single in the top of the seventh to cut into the lead, but it was too little, too late and the Lady Raiders advanced with a 6-4 win over the Lady Eagles.
Holly Pond 14 – Good Hope 5 (Loser’s Bracket)
Good Hope and Holly Pond clashed in the final game of Thursday night’s slate and the Lady Broncos punched their ticket to the county finals with a dominant, 14-5 win over the Lady Raiders.
Samantha Giles scored on a fielder’s choice to put Holly Pond in front 1-0 in the bottom of the first and a bases-loaded walk, followed by an RBI double from Kaylee Stallings, made it a 4-0 game early. Another 2-run double off the bat of Brooke Hill stretched the lead to 6-0 and after scoring another run on a fielder’s choice, the Lady Broncos led 7-0 going into the second inning.
Molly Neal ripped an RBI triple into center field to plate two more runs and make it 9-0 in the bottom of the second, but the Lady Raiders answered in the top of the third with a 3-run bomb from Addyson Burgess that cut the lead to 9-3.
A Good Hope error extended the lead to 10-3 in the bottom of the third and an RBI single from Addyson Armstrong drove in another run to give Holly Pond an 11-3 advantage. The Lady Broncos continued to add to their lead when Stallings blasted a 2-run homer and made it a 13-3 game after three innings of play.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Lady Raiders managed to score a pair of runs on an error and an RBI single from Burgess and trim the lead to 13-5 going into the bottom of the fifth. An RBI single by Aliyah Ryan scored Stallings and put the Lady Broncos ahead 14-5 in the bottom of the sixth and Holly Pond collected the final three outs in the top of the seventh to wrap up a 14-5 win over Good Hope.
Stallings finished the game 4-for-4 with four RBIs and Hill (one hit) and Neal (one hit) each drove in a pair of runs as well. Bai Widner also added two RBIs for the Lady Broncos and Giles posted three hits.
Holly Pond will return to West Point Friday night at 6 p.m. to take on the Lady Warriors for this year’s County Softball Championship.
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