POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. — Better late than never.
The Point Pleasant softball team rallied from a 4-2 deficit by scoring the final three runs on Thursday night en route to a 5-4 extra-innings victory over visiting Parkersburg South in Mason County.
The Lady Knights (3-0) took an early advantage in the bottom of the first inning, as Tanner King connected on a two-run home run with one out to give PPHS a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Patriots (1-1) cut the deficit to one run in the top of the second frame, when Rhylee Graham drew a bases loaded walk with two outs to force home Kurin Worgull.
Parkersburg South scored three additional runs in the top of the fourth inning, as a double by Worgull and single by Alexis Fleck began a five hit inning for the Lady Patriots. PSHS sent nine hitters to the plate in the frame, chasing Point Pleasant starting pitcher Peyton Jordan from the circle.
Jordan finished the night having surrendered four runs, two of which were unearned, on eight hits while surrendering two walks over three and one-third innings.
Point Pleasant’s relief came in the form of Leah Cochran, who suppressed the Lady Patriots’ hitters over the span of four and two-thirds innings.
Cochran’s performance on the mound was equal to her showing at the plate over the final span of the contest, as she led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run to cut Parkersburg South’s advantage to 4-3. Cochran hit her second long ball of the game to led off the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the score 4-4 and force extra-innings.
Parkersburg South failed to put a runner on base in the top half of the eighth inning after three consecutive ground outs.
The Lady Knights countered in the bottom half of the frame with a one-out walk by Hannah Smith, who upon reaching stole second base. Smith later scored on a game-winning single by Kelsie Byus with two outs, allowing PPHS to complete the thrilling 5-4 win.
Point Pleasant outhit the guests by a 9-8 overall margin and also committed 2 errors in the contest. The Lady Knights left 10 runners on base, while the Lady Patriots stranded nine.
Cochran was the winning pitcher allowing no runs on one hit, a walk and four strikeouts in four and two-thirds innings of work.
Makayla Hannah took the loss for the Lady Patriots as she gave up three runs on five hits, including two home runs, over five and two-thirds innings while striking out four.
Byus led the hosts with three hits, followed by King and Cochran with two hits apiece. Izzy King also had a hit.
Cochran and King led Point Pleasant with two RBIs, while Byus finished the night with one.
Following the game, PPHS coach James Higginbotham was pleased with the outcome, but noted several missed opportunities throughout the contest.
“We stranded 10 runners on base,” said Higginbotham. “We couldn’t get clutch hits early in the game. When we got hits, there was no one on to drive home.
“We did hit three home runs tonight and thankfully the one in the seventh inning was a big hit. I didn’t think they’d pitch to Leah, but they did and she drove it.”
With the win, the Red and Black remain undefeated to start the 2018 campaign. Although done in dramatic fashion, Point Pleasant’s fifth-year head coach does not see it as a means to complacency for his young ball club.
“I tell the players we continually have to get better,” said Higgingbotham. “We are still a young team and learning. We made some mistakes tonight in the field. We have to get out on the field. We can’t play one day and take two days off for the weather. We have to get out on the field and get into the groove. The confidence you get from a game like this and winning, it’ll help our team in the long run.”
The Lady Knights returned to action on Saturday with two contests at home against Eastern and Independence.
Scott Jones can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2106.