VINEMONT - Good Hope's quest to take home the championship in the 16th annual Cullman Umpires’ Associations Softball Invitational was denied Saturday afternoon when the Lady Raiders suffered a 3-0 loss to the Corner Yellow Jackets at the Vinemont Sports Complex.
Good Hope took advantage of being seeded no. 1 when the tournament format was designed by a random draw, despite the Lady Raiders going 1-1 in pool play on Thursday evening.
That sent Good Hope right to the quarterfinal round with one less game the Lady Raiders would have to play on a damp and dreary Saturday as the temperature got just above the 40-degree mark, with the teams battling drizzle along with the cold.
Corner was the seventh seed and had to play in the first round against Cold Springs. That didn't faze the Yellow Jackets, who shut out the Lady Eagles 6-0 to get their day off to a strong start.
The Yellow Jackets then eliminated Holly Pond in the quarterfinals 16-2 and romped past Hanceville in the semifinal round, 17-2, to get a second shot at playing Good Hope during their two-day tour of north Cullman County.
Good Hope put together a solid hitting attack to send J.B. Pennington home by the score of 12-3 from the quarterfinals.
That created a highly-anticipated semifinal against West Point, who blanked Meek 10-0 and entered the semis with momentum and a 3-0 record through pool and tournament play.
Pitcher Josie McDonald helped herself at the plate with a single that scored Erika Woodall in the top of the first to send Good Hope to a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Raiders added a run in their side of the fourth on a single by Abby Neighbors, who scored on a run-scoring single by Mykale Lowe.
Going into the final inning, McDonald kept West Point in check until the Lady Warriors took advantage of a throwing error on Jordyn Kimbrell's grounder at third.
A pickoff attempt to get Kimbrell in a rundown between second and third base failed for the Lady Raiders when Lillie Burdette was safe at home on a relay throw. That narrowed the margin to 2-1 and gave West Point a chance to win the game.
Walks to Avery McClure and Gracie Abbott loaded the bases for West Point with McDonald coming back to get Courtney Blackwood on a line out to Lowe in center field to end the game, a 2-1 hard-fought Good Hope triumph.
McDonald had two singles for the Lady Raiders; Woodall, Lowe, Bailey Starnes also singled off West Point pitcher Josey Gammon.
The Lady Warriors were led by Burdette with two singles and Blackwood with a single in the only hits that were surrendered by McDonald.
In the championship, Corner broke a scoreless tie with two in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Bailey Blackmon and an RBI single from Kaylee Ellis.
The Yellow Jackets produced an insurance run in the third on a double by Brantly Bonds, scoring Saydee Keith, who singled.
Good Hope's bats were unable to connect effectively against Ivey Hill. The only hits in the game were a second-inning single by Daneka Tankersley, a third-inning single from Woodall and a fourth-inning single by McDonald.
Good Hope had the tying run at the plate in the last inning when Lowe struck out to end the contest as Corner posted a 3-0 shutout and defeated the Lady Raiders for the second time in the tournament. Corner posted a 5-1 victory in the round robin format on Thursday.
Corner improved to 14-6 on the season with a 6-0 trip to the Vinemont Sports Complex for two days. Good Hope won four straight during the tournament and is now 8-10 for first-year coach Amanda Bates.
The Lady Raiders will travel to Priceville for a regular season game Monday and open Class 4A, Area 10 play at home Tuesday against Dora.
J.B. Pennington 13, Fairview 0
Corner 6, Cold Springs 0
Good Hope 12, J.B. Pennington 3
West Point 10, Meek 0
Corner 16, Holly Pond 2
Hanceville 4, Vinemont 3
Good Hope 2, West Point 1
Corner 17, Hanceville 2
Corner 3, Good Hope 0
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