COUNTY SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: West Point downs Holly Pond 14-8 to capture 9th consecutive county crown

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The West Point Lady Warriors defeated Holly Pond 14-8 Tuesday night to win their ninth consecutive Cullman County Championship. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

VINEMONT, Ala. – After topping Vinemont and Good Hope Monday night to secure a spot in the county title game, the West Point Lady Warriors squared off against Holly Pond Tuesday night with this year’s county championship on the line. The Lady Broncos jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the opening frame, but West Point maintained its focus and plated seven combined runs in the third and fourth innings to pull ahead 8-3 and the Lady Warriors continued to put runs on the board on their way to a 14-8 win over Holly Pond and their ninth consecutive county championship.

Macayla Wilkins scored on a sacrifice fly from Brinlee Phillips to give the Lady Warriors a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but the Lady Broncos answered in the bottom half of the inning. An error allowed Samantha Giles to score and tie things up at 1 and later in the inning, another West Point error allowed Madyson Rickman and Maycie Black to cross the plate, putting Holly Pond in front 3-1 going into the second.

After a scoreless second inning, the Lady Warriors started to get the bats going in the third. An RBI triple off the bat of Macie Brown trimmed the lead to 3-2 and Bethany Minck followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 3. A few pitches later, Liberty Shadix drove in another run with a single into right field and West Point moved ahead 4-3. The Lady Warriors added to their lead in the fourth when Katie Yovino scored on a wild pitch to make it a 5-3 game and Ella Minck scored on an error to make it 6-3. Phillips tacked on two more runs with an RBI single into center field and West Point took an 8-3 lead into the fifth inning.

A 2-run single from Wilkins stretched the lead to 10-3 in the top of the fifth but the Lady Broncos were able to chip away a bit in the bottom half of the inning. An RBI single by Maggie Nail drove in Black to make it a 10-4 game and Molly Neal scored on a fielder’s choice to cut the lead to five going into the sixth.

West Point got those runs back and then some in the top of the sixth. Liberty Shadix scored on a wild pitch to give the Lady Warriors an 11-5 lead and Bailey Brock scored on a fielder’s choice just a few pitches later to make it 12-5. Brown barreled up a 2-run double later in the inning to extend the lead to 14-5 and sent West Point to the bottom of the sixth with a 9-run advantage. An RBI double from Rickman, an RBI single by Nail and a sacrifice fly RBI from Lexie Smith trimmed the lead to 14-8 going into the final frame but that was as close as the Lady Broncos could get and West Point held on to claim its ninth consecutive county championship with a 14-8 win.

Kortni Baker earned the win in the circle for the Lady Warriors after allowing three runs (unearned) on five hits in three innings. Kara Jones tossed the other four innings for West Point, allowing five runs (three unearned) on five hits and striking out two.

At the plate, Phillips (one hit) and Brown (two hits) each posted three RBIs in the win and Wilkins (two hits) and Bethany Minck (one hit) each drove in a pair of runs as well.

Nail (one RBI), Rickman (one RBI) and Neal (one RBI) each finished with a pair of hits for Holly Pond in the loss.

2023 All-County Softball Team

Ciara Calvert, Cold Springs

Isabella Spinks, Hanceville

Arleigh Thomason, Vinemont

Angela Harris, Vinemont

Addi Phillips, Fairview

Jaycee Aleman, Fairview

Campbell Koch, Good Hope

Lizzy Stead, Good Hope

Molly Neal, Holly Pond

Madyson Rickman, Holly Pond

Maggie Nail, Holly Pond

Bethany Minck, West Point

Brinlee Phillips, West Point

Macayla Wilkins, West Point

Holly Pond 8 – Fairview 3 (Game 10)

Holly Pond and Fairview faced off against each other to start out Day two of the Cullman County Softball Tournament and the Lady Broncos struck first in their opening at-bats. Bai Widner drew a one-out walk, then she moved up to second on a passed ball. Three pitches later, Madyson Rickman launched a two-run home run over the right field fence to give them a 2-0 lead. Holly Pond added to their lead in the top of the second as Ella Crider and Ellie Burks each scored on back-to-back Fairview errors to make it a 4-0 lead for the Lady Broncos. They made it 6-0 a pitch later as Aliyah Ryan and Samantha Giles each scored on another Lady Aggie error.

Maggie Nail scored on another Fairview error in the top of the third to push the Holly Pond lead to 7-0. The Lady Broncos added another run in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI groundout by Lexie Smith as that stretched their lead to 8-0. The Lady Aggies got their offense going in the bottom of the sixth inning as Ayda Payne scored on a wild pitch, Allison Davis scored on a Holly Pond error, and Jordan Simmons lined an RBI triple to left field to cut it to 8-3. Holly Pond didn’t allow Fairview to cut into their lead any more after that as they would go on to knock off the Lady Aggies 8-3.

Rickman finished with a hit and two RBIs for Holly Pond, while Smith pitched in with an RBI of her own. All but four Lady Bronco players scored a run in the contest. Smith and Nail combined to allow just one hit and two earned runs; they walked nine and struck out nine. Simmons finished with the only hit and RBI for Fairview.

Holly Pond 7 – Good Hope 4 (Game 11)

After a scoreless first inning, Good Hope put up the first runs of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Molly Benefield scored on a Holly Pond error, then Addyson Burgess scored on a passed ball two pitches later to give the Lady Raiders a 2-0 lead. Holly Pond countered in the top of the third as they put up their first run of the game with two outs as Giles scored on a Good Hope error to cut it to 2-1, then Nail’s two-run triple to center field gave the Lady Broncos a 3-2 lead.

Giles stole home with two outs in the top of the fifth as Holly Pond now had a 4-2 lead and they added to their lead in the sixth. Nail hit a leadoff double on the first pitch, then Molly Neal did the same in her at-bat as her RBI double brought home Nail to help increase their lead to 5-2. Ryan later added a two-out RBI single to left field to make it a 6-2 game. The Lady Raiders cut into the deficit in their half as Benefield and Jolee McHan each scored on a passed ball to make it a two-run game, but Holly Pond would put up a run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Nail. The Lady Broncos would hold Good Hope scoreless in their final at-bats as they went on to defeat the Lady Raiders 7-4 and move on to the championship game against West Point. Nail finished with three hits and three RBIs for Holly Pond. Ryan added a pair of hits and an RBI, while Neal chipped in with a hit and an RBI of her own.

For Good Hope, Lay finished with a pair of hits, while Natalie Miller, Burgess, and McHan each added a hit of their own in the contest.

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