POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. — With Wahama’s help, at least in the opening inning anyway, the Point Pleasant Lady Knights made sure Tuesday’s tilt took very little time.
From first pitch to final out, the host Lady Knights needed just 45 minutes and two-and-a-half innings to mercy-rule the White Falcons 12-1.
With the win, Point Pleasant improved to 9-6, while its Mason County rival White Falcons fell to 6-3.
With West Virginia’s softball mercy rule, the contest was called following the third inning.
After allowing an unearned run on two errors in the opening at-bat, the Lady Knights notched seven runs on five hits and three Wahama errors in the bottom of the first — combined with an unsuccessful fielder’s choice.
All seven of those markers were unearned, as all but one of the runs were scored with two outs.
Point Pleasant sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning, but the White Falcons could have gotten out of the inning without any runs being scored.
In the second, Point pushed across five more runs on five more hits — as all of those points off Wahama pitcher Taylor McGrew were earned.
Indeed, it was a tale of two innings tied together by the Lady Knights hammering the softball.
“We hit the ball hard tonight,” said PPHS coach James Higginbotham. “They made a couple of errors early that got us going and it’s hard to give teams extra outs. I tell our girls 21 outs, three (outs) an inning. It’s hard to beat somebody when you’re giving away extra outs. They gave us a window there to score some runs in the first inning, then we came up in the second inning and hit the ball a lot harder.”
With one out in the first, Makinley Higginbotham reached on an error, and actually made it to third on a throwing miscue on the same play.
She scored when Karissa Cochran dropped in a bloop single into shallow left field, as three White Falcon fielders converged on the ball, but miscommunication and no call-off allowed it to drop in.
Cochran’s courtesy runner — Rachael Grimm — scored the go-ahead run from first base two batters later, when Leah Cochran poked a two-out single combined with an error in right field.
Megan Hammond then singled Leah Cochran home, as Tanner King followed with an infield hit — and Hammond made it 4-1 when she scored on an unsuccessful fielder’s choice by Cammy Hesson.
That set up a three-run home run to centerfield by nine-hole hitter Kelsey Price, making it 7-1.
In the second, Higginbotham and Karissa Cochran singled to lead off, as a walk to Kelsie Byus loaded the bases.
Leah Cochran then doubled to center, scoring Higginbotham and Grimm, before Byus crossed on a Hammond single to left.
King then conked a two-run single to center, plating Leah Cochran and Hammond to put the mercy rule into effect.
McGrew did strike out three batters, but faced the Lady Knight lineup two times through.
Karissa Cochran — meanwhile — struck out the White Falcons for all three outs in the opening inning, then fanned two more in the second sandwiched around a popout back to her.
After allowing a leadoff single to Emily VanMatre in the third, Cochran induced Rachel Roque into a 4-3 double play, in which Hannah Smith made a nice diving catch at second base.
The final out of the game, after 11 Wahama batters, was a groundout to the shortstop Higginbotham.
“We played very well defensively after giving up those two errors in the first inning. And Karissa (Cochran) pitched well,” said Higginbotham. “She’s (Cochran) been hurt a little bit with her ankle, but she’s starting to come out of it. We need her down the stretch, and hopefully she keeps on pitching like she’s pitching now.”
Roque reached on an error to lead off the game, stole second and third, then scored on the Lady Knights’ other error.
Wahama was set to host Eastern on Wednesday in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division, while Point Pleasant was scheduled to travel to Lincoln County.
The Lady Knights will venture across the bridge today (Thursday, April 7) to Meigs.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106