POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Once they grabbed the lead, the Lady Knights weren’t letting go.
The Point Pleasant softball team scored all of its runs in the third inning on Wednesday night at PPHS, and the Lady Knight defense took care of the rest, as the hosts held on for a 4-2 victory over in-county foe Wahama.
The Lady Falcons (2-2) broke the scoreless tie in the top of the second inning, as Hannah Rose singled home Ashtyn Russell, but Wahama left the bases loaded and settled for a one-run lead.
WHS had another chance in the top of the third, but had a runner thrown out at the plate and stranded two more runners in scoring position without expanding its lead.
Point Pleasant (2-0) tied the game at one with no outs in the bottom of the third inning, as Peyton Jordan drew a base on balls, stole second base and was then singled home by Michaela Cottrill.
The Lady Knights took the lead at 2-1 with one out in the third, as Leah Cochran singled home Cottrill. Courtesy runner Hannah Smith scored on a Kelsey Price ground out later in the third inning, giving PPHS a 3-1 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, Lila Beattie, a courtesy runner for Tanner King, scored on a WHS error, giving the Lady Knights a 4-1 lead.
Wahama got one run back in the top of the fourth as Rose singled and then scored on a two-out error. The Lady Falcons had just one base runner over the final three frames, as the Lady Knights sealed the 4-2 victory to stay perfect on the young season.
“Our goal is 21 outs, we gave them 22 tonight and they scored a run on it,” fourth-year PPHS head coach James Higginbotham said. “Wahama is a good team, they’re improved. They had a couple mistakes in the field that cost them a couple runs or they would have probably been in the lead.”
For Wahama, the loss had a bit of deja vu from its 8-7 setback against Buffalo, on Friday.
“We did the same thing against Buffalo, we left the bases loaded in one inning and it ended up being the difference in the game,” said first-year WHS head coach Mike Wolfe. “We’re a young team, having said that, we can’t keep making mental errors and that can’t keep being an excuse.”
The winning pitcher of record on Wednesday was Cochran, who allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks. Jordan picked up the save for PPHS, pitching two perfect frames in relief. Cochran struck out a game-best six batters, while Jordan struck out two.
The losing pitcher of record was Wahama senior Taylor McGrew, who surrendered four runs, three earned, on seven hits and one walk. McGrew struck out one batter in a complete game effort.
“We’re young, we’re starting to get a little better, we just have to get on the field and see live pitching,” said Higginbotham. “We have four games in the next three days so we have a lot of playing to do. It’s a long season, we just have to get better as we get to the sectional.”
Cochran helped her own cause, leading the PPHS offense with a 2-for-3 effort and one RBI. Kelsie Byus doubled once in three at-bats for the victors, while Beattie and Smith were both 1-for-1 with a single and a run scored. Cottrill was 1-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI, King was 1-for-3 at the plate, while Jordan scored once and Price marked an RBI. Beattie and Jordan each picked up a stolen base in the win.
For Wahama, Rose led the way with two singles, one run scored and one RBI, in three at-bats. Russell was 1-for-3 at the plate with one run scored for WHS.
“We’ve had one inning with a defensive let down in both of our losses,” Wolfe said. “When we put it together for a whole seven-inning game, we’re going to be pretty good.”
For the game, Point Pleasant had two errors and seven runners left on base, while Wahama had two errors and eight runners stranded.
After hosting Parkersburg South on Thursday, PPHS will return to action on Friday, when Logan visits Mason County.
After hosting Roane County on Thursday, Wahama will begin its Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division slate on Monday, at Waterford.
PPHS and WHS are scheduled to meet again on April 27, in Hartford.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.