GOOD HOPE - The second and final day of the 2017 Cullman County Softball Tournament got underway Tuesday afternoon with some fantastic action. Up first on the day was the winner’s bracket final that pitted the host team, the Good Hope Lady Raiders, against the favorites to win the tournament, the West Point Lady Warriors.
GAME ONE (Day Two) WINNERS BRACKET FINALS- West Point 8, Good Hope 6
It was a back and forth affair in the winner’s bracket final. West Point got on the board first, scoring three in the bottom of the first inning. Olivia Ball got the scoring going with a booming two-run double that scored Courtney Blackwood and Lillie Burdette. The third run of the inning was scored by Ball when Molly Pendley grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Good Hope picked up their first run of the game in the top of the second thanks to an RBI single by Abigail Neighbors, but the Lady Warriors got the run back on a Ball double in the bottom of the inning to make the score 4-1 in favor of the Lady Warriors after two full innings of play.
Down but not out, Good Hope rallied in the top of the third, hanging a three spot on West Point to tie the game at four, thanks to an RBI single off the bat of Alex Stansell and a costly West Point error.
West Point took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth on a Pendley single, but Good Hope came right back and took their first lead of the game in the top of the fifth when Derekia Tankersley notched an RBI single and came home to score on a wild pitch to make the score 6-5 in favor of Good Hope.
West Point struck back in the bottom of the fifth for three runs, taking the lead for good and advancing to the championship game, by a score of 8-6.
GAME TWO (Day Two) LOSER’S BRACKET SEMIFINAL- Cold Springs 11, Holly Pond 9
Seven innings were not enough to see who would face Good Hope in the loser’s bracket finals as the Lady Eagles and Lady Broncos needed extra innings to decide a winner.
Cold Springs dented the scoreboard first, when Hayden Goodwin came home to score on a wild pitch in the top of the third. Holly Pond struck back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring three with RBI singles by Taylor Tankersley and Lili Harris and a bases-loaded walk earned by Maddie Heatherly. The Lady Broncos led 3-1 after three.
After trading runs in the fourth, Holly Pond enjoyed a two-run lead heading to the fifth when Cold Springs went to work. Victoria Freeman got the scoring merry-go-round started with a ringing RBI double. Two batters later Crimson Gann singled in Taylor Sisco, who was brought in as a courtesy runner. Cold Springs scored three more runs on a bizarre play that saw two errors, leading to the three runs. Katherine Sanders capped the six-run inning with an RBI single to give Cold Springs an 8-4 advantage. The Lady Eagles added on in the top of the sixth with an RBI by Desmarie Moore to make the score 9-4. Holly Pond cut into the Cold Springs lead, scoring three in the bottom of the sixth with the big blow coming on a Tankersley two-run home run to make the score 9-7.
Down to their last three outs, Holly Pond scored twice in the bottom of the seventh on a Tankersley ground out and an error to tie the score at nine and force extra innings.
It took two extra frames, but the Cold Springs Lady Eagles took advantage of a pair of productive outs to plate two. They then retired the Lady Broncos in order in the bottom of the ninth to take the game 11-9 and earn the right to face Good Hope in the loser’s bracket final.
GAME THREE (Day Two) LOSER’S BRACKET FINAL- Good Hope 15, Cold Springs 0
It was all Good Hope from the first pitch to the last out in the loser’s bracket final. The Lady Raiders scored five in the first, five in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth to run-rule Cold Springs 15-0 in four innings.
Sidnie English recorded five big RBIs. Tankersley, Stansell, Neighbors and Josie McDonald each had a pair of RBIs, while Mykale Lowe plated one.
GAME FOUR (Day Two) CHAMPIONSHIP- West Point 5, Good Hope 3
West Point took an early lead in the championship game Tuesday night at Good Hope High School. Blackwood led off the game with a single and quickly found herself on third via a steal and wild pitch. Pendley brought her home with a single, but the Lady Warriors failed to score anymore when a bases-loaded strike out ended the inning.
The Lady Warriors put their bats back to work in the second, plating a pair. Ball singled in Blackwood who had led the inning off with a ringing double. Pendley recorded the other RBI in the inning, a single to left that scored Jordyn Kimbrell, but for the second time in as many innings, West Point left the bases loaded. Good Hope got on the board in the bottom of the second thanks to a sacrifice by Neighbors that scored Stansell.
West Point slowly continued to add to their lead by picking up a single run in the top of the fourth with a Ball double, but for the third time in the game the Lady Warriors had the bags full when the third out was made.
Just as it looked like West Point was going to cruise to their second straight county crown, Good Hope came roaring back with two huge runs coming off a double by Tankersley to cut the deficit to one. After five complete innings, the score stood at 4-3 in favor of West Point.
The Lady Warriors gave up two runs in the fifth and watched their lead shrink, but Makayla Brown smashed an RBI double to centerfield to make the score 5-3 and get West Point that much closer to the title.
The bottom of the sixth and the top of the seventh were uneventful. West Point went into the bottom of the seventh with three outs to get, and they did, claiming the Cullman County Softball crown for the fourth straight year by a final of 5-3 over a very solid Good Hope team.
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