AREA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Burks’ walk-off sends West Point to Area Championship Game, Area Tournament scoring recap

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Sidney Burks drove a walk-off single into left field in the bottom of the seventh to give West Point a 1-0 win over Russellville Tuesday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – The West Point Lady Warriors were back home at Mike Brown Field Tuesday night to host this year’s 5A, Area 15 Tournament and they faced off against Russellville in a classic pitcher’s duel. West Point’s Carlie Wilkins and Russellville’s Jacey Moore held their opponents to four combined hits until the bottom of the seventh when Wilkins led off the inning with a double into left field. A few pitches later, Sidney Burks ripped a walk-off RBI single into left to give the Lady Warriors a 1-0 win and a spot in tomorrow’s Area Tournament Championship Game. West Point will face either Lawrence County or Russellville in the area title game Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Wilkins tossed seven scoreless innings for the Lady Warriors, striking out eight batters and allowing just three hits. Wilkins also posted two of West Point’s three hits in the win with the other coming from Burks on the game-winner.

Other Area Tournament Scores

Sumiton Christian 9 – Cold Springs 5 (2A, Area 10)

Cold Springs looked to strike first in its opening at-bats. Ciara Calvert and Emma Black each drew walks and Journee Swann got hit by the pitch to load the bases with two outs. But a flyout quickly put an end to the inning. The score would remain scoreless until the top of the bottom of the third inning as Sumiton Christian quickly loaded the bases with one out. A two-run single, an error and another single gave them a 4-0 lead, then two more errors and an RBI single made it 8-0. Sumiton Christian added a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth.

Cold Springs got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth without getting a hit. Brooklyn Ingram scored on a Sumiton Christian error to make it 9-1, then errors on back-to-back plays allowed Heidi Nichols, Swann, and Adriana Young to cross the play as that made it a 9-4 game. Ingram scored on another Sumiton Christian error to cut it to 9-5 in the top of the seventh, but Cold Springs didn’t get any closer after that as a strikeout ended the game and they ended up falling just short at the end, 9-5.

Ingram scored two runs for Cold Springs, while Nichols, Swann, and Young each scored a run. 

East Lawrence 18 – Vinemont 2 (3A, Area 15)

East Lawrence quickly jumped on Vinemont in its half of the first inning, scoring seven runs, with two of the biggest hits coming on a two-run single and an RBI double. Vinemont got on the scoreboard in the top of the second as Emilie Hoffman led it off with a double, then Abby Cody drove her in with one of her own to make it a 7-1 game. Cody later stole home to cut it to 7-2, but East Lawrence answered right back with another big inning as they added six more runs to make it a 13-2 contest. East Lawrence put up five more runs in the third inning to end the game and Vinemont fell to East Lawrence, 18-2.

Cody finished with a hit and an RBI for Vinemont, while Maci Smith and Hoffman each added a hit of their own.

Phil Campbell 17 – Vinemont 2 (3A, Area 15)

Vinemont looked to keep their season alive against Phil Campbell. The Lady Bobcats jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead behind a pair of two-run singles and made it 6-0 in the bottom of the second. The Lady Eagles got on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning as Maci Smith hit an RBI groundout and Berekley Gable hit an RBI single to left field to make it a 6-2 game. The Lady Bobcats, though, quickly ended the game in the bottom of the third inning as they scored 11 runs and Vinemont ended up dropping the game to Phil Campbell, 17-2.

Gable finished with a hit and an RBI for Vinemont. Smith added an RBI, while Cody and Brooklyn Knott each collected a hit in the contest. The Lady Eagles will have everyone coming back in 2023 and they will look to make some noise on the diamond next season.

J.B. Pennington 11 – Holly Pond 3 (3A, Area 13)

Holly Pond struck first in its opening at-bats as Maggie Nail scored on a Pennington error to give them an early 1-0 lead. The Lady Tigers answered right back in the top of the second inning. A single and an error quickly put them in business, then an RBI single tied things up at one. Later on, a two-run double gave Pennington a 3-1 lead. They added to their lead in the top of the third as a two-run single pushed the Lady Tiger lead to 5-1.

Maggie Nail got hit by the pitch with one out, then a ground ball moved her over to third. Madyson Rickman lined an RBI double to left field to drive in Nail as that cut it to 5-2. The Lady Broncos made things really interesting in the bottom of the fourth inning as Kaylee Stallings hit a leadoff double. After a ground ball moved Stallings over to third, Molly Neal hit an RBI double to right field as that made it a 5-3 contest.

The top of the seventh, though, saw Pennington break the game wide open with two enormous hits. A single and an error put runners on the corners with one out, then a three-home run over the center field fence increased their lead to 8-3. The Lady Tigers loaded the bases with one out, then a bases-clearing double made it 11-3. The Lady Broncos looked to get a huge rally started of their own, but they weren’t able to get anything going as the Lady Broncos dropped their game to the Lady Tigers, 11-3.

Rickman finished with two hits and an RBI for Holly Pond. Neal added a hit and an RBI as well. Bai Widner ended up with two hits and Stallings finished with a hit.

Holly Pond 18 – Susan Moore 2 (3A, Area 13)

Holly Pond looked to keep their chances of winning the area championship alive in an elimination game against Susan Moore Tuesday night and they did it in convincing fashion, hammering the Lady Bulldogs 18-2 to punch their ticket to the area title game. 

The Lady Broncos put up the first run of the game in their opening at-bats. Samantha Giles reached on a leadoff walk and her speed would pay quick dividends in the end as she stole second, third, and home to give Holly Pond an early 1-0 lead. Holly Pond added to their lead in the second inning. Madyson Rickman led off the inning with a double, then Brooke Hill hit an RBI single to left field to make it 2-0. Later on, a Lady Bulldog error allowed Kaylee Stallings and Hill to cross as that pushed Holly Pond’s lead to 4-0. A Giles RBI single made it a 5-0 game, then she later scored on an error to make it 6-0.

A Lexie Smith RBI double and a Molly Neal RBI single increased the Lady Bronco lead to 8-0 in the third. Holly Pond added two more runs in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Maggie Nail and an RBI single by Hill. Susan Moore stole home in the bottom of the fourth to get on the scoreboard. The Lady Broncos put up eight more runs in the fifth inning as a two-run single by Hill, an RBI single by Smith, a Giles two-run single, a two-run double by Bai Widner, and a Nail RBI double would put the score at 18-1. The Lady Bulldogs added a run on an RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the deficit would be too big for them to overcome as Holly Pond ended up rolling past Susan Moore, 18-2.

Hill led the way for the Lady Broncos with three hits and three RBIs. Giles added two hits and three RBIs. Widner and Nail each ended up with three hits and two RBIs in the game. Smith added a pair of hits and two RBIs. Neal collected a hit and an RBI in the contest. Rickman added three hits and Stallings finished with a pair of hits.

Holly Pond and J.B. Pennington will face off against each other for the area championship Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

Good Hope 15 – Hanceville 0 (4A, Area 11)

Good Hope and Hanceville got things started at this year’s 4A, Area 11 tournament and the Lady Raiders advanced through the winner’s bracket in dominant fashion. Good Hope plated 15 runs in just three innings to move past the Lady Bulldogs 15-0.

An inside the park homerun off the bat of Bailey Keef gave the Lady Raiders an early, 2-0 lead and Haley Lay crossed the plate to make it 3-0 going into the second inning. Good Hope plated eight more runs in the second and four more in the third to advance with a 15-0 win.

Alexandria Steed finished 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs and Keef (HR) drove in a pair of runs for the Lady Raiders as well. Addyson Burgess tossed two scoreless innings and collected four strikeouts and McKenna Lynn pitched the final frame, striking out two of the three batters she faced.

Curry 15 – Good Hope 0 (4A, Area 11)

The Lady Raiders had a tougher time with Curry than they did in the opening round with Hanceville. The Lady Jackets took a 3-0 lead in the first before plating six runs in the second and six more in the third to collect a 15-0 win over Good Hope.

Carley Adams posted the only hit for the Lady Raiders in the loss.

Curry 15 – Good Hope 0 (4A, Area 11 Championship)

Good Hope clashed with Curry for a second time Tuesday evening in the 4A, Area 11 title game and unfortunately for the Raider faithful in the crowd, the Lady Yellow Jackets were able to handle the Lady Raiders once again, earning this year’s area tournament crown with another 15-0 win. Good Hope was held without a hit in the loss.

With a runner-up finish in their area tournament, the Lady Raiders will advance to the North Regional Tournament in Florence next week.

Guntersville 12 – Fairview 2 (5A, Area 14)

The Lady Aggies squared off against Guntersville in the opening round of their area tournament Monday but unfortunately for the purple & gold, the Lady Wildcats were able to pull away with six runs in the bottom of the fourth to put Fairview away 12-2.

Jaycee Aleman scored on a wild pitch to give the Lady Aggies a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and Emma Roberts drove an RBI single into left field to make it 2-0 but Guntersville responded with 12 unanswered runs over the next four innings to secure the win.

Roberts (one RBI) and Savannah Bryson posted the only hits for Fairview in the loss.

Brewer 13 – Fairview 1 (5A, Area 14)

After falling to Guntersville Monday, the Lady Aggies returned to Brewer Tuesday night to take on the top-seeded Lady Patriots. An RBI double from Kaitlyn Benson drove in Jaycee Aleman and put Fairview in front 1-0 in the top of the first but Brewer answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to claim the lead.

After a scoreless second inning, the Lady Patriots tacked on two more runs in the third and three more in the fourth to pull ahead 9-1 going into the fifth. Brewer plated four more runs in the bottom of the fifth and wrapped up a 13-1 win over the Lady Aggies.

Benson (one RBI), Aleman, Savannah Bryson, Emma Roberts and Addison Phillips each posted a hit for Fairview in the loss.

Muscle Shoals 7 – Cullman 5 (6A, Area 14)

The Lady Bearcats made the trip to Hartselle Tuesday night for this year’s 6A, Area 14 Tournament and dropped a nail-biter to Muscle Shoals 7-5 in the opening round. An RBI single from Carlie Burnham gave Cullman a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but the Lady Trojans plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the second to move in front 2-1.

After a scoreless third inning, Olivia Britton blasted a solo homer over the left field fence to tie things up at 2. The Lady Bearcats reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth with home runs from Savannah Davis and Burnham that made it a 5-2 game, but Muscle Shoals responded with a big bottom half of the inning. The Lady Trojans tacked on five runs in their half to pull back ahead and defeat Cullman 7-5.

Davis (one hit) and Burnham (two hits) each posted a pair of RBIs for the Lady Bearcats and Britton (two hits) added an RBI as well. Haley Shannon finished with a pair of hits in the loss.

Cullman 15 – Decatur 0 (6A, Area 14)

After falling to Muscle Shoals, the Lady Bearcats were looking for a bounce-back performance against Decatur. They got off to a good start with a 2-run triple off the bat of Savannah Davis in the bottom of the first and they added to their lead in the second. Haley Shannon ripped an RBI single into left field to make it a 3-0 game and Taylor Au launched a 2-run bomb over the center field fence to extend the lead to 5-0 going into the third.

The ‘Cats continued to pull away in the fourth, stretching the lead to 6-0 with an RBI double from Shannon. A 2-run single by Davis made it an 8-0 game and Burnham drove an RBI single into left field to put Cullman on top 9-0. Faith Guest kept the inning going with an RBI single up the middle to tack on another run and an error allowed Britton to cross the plate later in the inning and make it 11-0. A sacrifice fly from Reese Hopper brought another run in to score for the Lady Bearcats and Davis knocked in two more with a double into right field to give Cullman a 14-0 lead. Presley Reeling drew a walk with the bases loaded later in the inning and secured a 15-0 win for the Lady Bearcats.

Shannon tossed four scoreless innings for Cullman, striking out eight batters and allowing just two hits. Davis posted three hits and racked up six RBIs in the win. Shannon finished 4-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs and Au added a pair of hits and RBIs as well.

The Lady Bearcats will return to Hartselle Thursday at 4 p.m. to face either the Lady Tigers or Muscle Shoals in the loser’s bracket final.

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