HARTFORD, W.Va. — Plenty of offense, but the Lady Falcons had too many mistakes by night’s end.
The Wahama softball team scored 11 runs on 17 hits in its Class A Region IV, Section 1 softball tournament opener, but visiting Wirt County took advantage of six fielding miscues to defeat the Lady Falcons by a final of 12-11 on Wednesday night in Mason County.
Wirt County (14-7) leaped to a 1-0 lead in the first, as Emily Cottrell led of the inning with a single and later scored on a one-out double by Skylar Bogan.
Wahama (16-11 ) tied the game at 1-all in the bottom of the first, as Hannah Rose reached on a single and was driven home on a one-out hit by Maddy VanMatre.
The Lady Tigers took a 2-1 advantage in the second, when Katie Frazier started the inning with a single and scored on the first error of the game by the Red and White.
The Lady Falcons soared to a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the second, as Hannah Billups, Grace Haddox and Emma Gibbs each scored in the inning. Wahama sent eight hitters to the plate in the frame, scoring three runs on five hits.
Wirt County countered in the third to take a 5-4 advantage, as they sent six hitters to the dish and manufactured three runs on two hits, one walk, one wild pitch, a passed ball and an error by the hosts.
The Lady Tigers extended their lead to 7-4 in the fourth, when Bogans connected on a two-out two-run home run.
WHS cut the deficit to 7-6 in the bottom of the fourth, Gibbs and Emily VanMatre reached on back-to-back singles. Gibbs later scored on a ground ball off of the bat of Maddy VanMatre, while Emily VanMatre was driven home on a two-out single by Ashtyn Russell.
The Lady Tigers furthered their advantage to 12-6 in the fifth, as they sent 11 hitters to the plate and scoring five runs on five hits, one walk and an fielding miscue.
The Lady Falcons narrowed the margin to 12-8 in the bottom of the fifth, as Rose and Gibbs provided an RBI double and RBI single, respectively.
Wahama closed within one run of the lead in the sixth, as Billups, Maddy VanMatre and Logan Eades each scored in the frame to cut the deficit to 12-11. The Red and White sent eight hitters to the plate in the inning, manufacturing three runs on three hits, one walk, one error, while stranding two on base.
Both teams were held scoreless in the finale, as Wirt County closed out the one-run victory.
Billups suffered the pitching loss for the hosts, surrendering 10 runs on 11 hits, with two walks, while striking out one better in four innings of work.
Rose provided three innings of relief, allowing two run, four hits, with zero walks.
Gibbs led the way at the plate for Wahama with four hits, while Rose, and Maddy VanMatre were next with three safeties apiece, respectively. VanMatre and Rose also finished with three runs batted in, while Gibbs had two RBI.
Billups and Emily VanMatre had two hits, while Russell, Haddox and Victoria VanMatre finished with one safety each to conclude the hit totals for the Lady Falcons in the contest. Russell and Haddox also had one RBI apiece, respectively.
Rose, Gibbs, Billups and Eades each scored twice, while Haddox, Emily VanMatre and Kailyn Allison provided one run apiece, respectively, to conclude the offensive totals for Wahama.
The Lady Falcons had six fielding errors, while the Lady Tigers committed three. Wahama left nine runners on base, while Wirt County stranded six.
Following the game, Wahama coach Mike Wolfe was candid in the assessment of his team’s performance — particularly with their troubles in the field.
“We gave away too many runs,” Wolfe said. “I thought our pitching was really good and put us in a position to succeed, but defensively we just didn’t get it done. Defense has been our Achilles’ heel. If we don’t make plays, we don’t have a chance to win.”
Wahama returned to action on Thursday when it hosted the winner of the Ravenswood-Calhoun County game in a Class A Region IV, Section 1 loser’s bracket semifinal.
Scott Jones can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2106.
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