POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Some things are worth the wait.
It took 10 innings, but the Point Pleasant softball team started the postseason on a solid note Tuesday night following a 10-9 victory over visiting Sissonville in the Class AA Region IV, Section 1 opener for both programs in Mason County.
The third-seeded Lady Knights (17-6) let a trio of two-run leads slip away over the course of seven frames, but the hosts answered by holding the sixth-seeded Lady Indians (9-18) scoreless over extra-innings.
Tied at nine following the end of regulation, both teams produced at least one baserunner in each of its three extra opportunities at the plate. The hosts, however, were the only squad that made the most of those extra chances.
Peyton Jordan provided a one-out single to left in the bottom of the 10th, then moved to third base on a single to center by Kelsie Byus. Tanner King followed with an intentional walk that loaded the bases with one out and cleanup hitter Leah Cochran headed to the plate.
Cochran — who drew three walks in six previous at-bats — lifted a 2-2 offering deep to centerfielder Jaelyn Beane, who back-peddled to snag the second out. Jordan tagged on the play and strolled home with the game-winning run, allowing Point to secure the 10-9 triumph.
The Lady Knights produced a dozen more hits and also benefited from three Lady Indian errors, but the hosts still needed three extra frames to wrap up an otherwise well-played contest.
It didn’t help that PPHS stranded 19 runners on base, but Point coach James Higginbotham did note that when all was said and done … his girls found a way to once again get it done.
“Rather it is one run or 10, it counts. Sissonville had some really clutch hits and played a solid game, and we left a ton of runners on base,” Higginbotham said. “Honestly, I was pleased with our defense and we did just enough at the plate to stay in the winner’s bracket. That was the biggest goal tonight, and it took everyone to help make it happen.”
Cochran gave Point Pleasant its first lead of the game with a two-out double in the first that plated Byus, then Monica Cook came in as a courtesy runner for Cochran. Kelsey Price then produced a single that allowed Cook to come home for a 2-0 contest after an inning.
Sissonville had the bases loaded with nobody out in the top of the second, but a one-out sacrifice fly from Honesty Bragg led to the only run as Alexis Bailey scored to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
The Lady Indians caught a big break in the top of the third as two hit batters and a walk loaded the bases, then a wild pitch allowed Emily Taylor to come home for a two-all contest.
Bailey followed with a single that allowed both Taylor Long and Jenna Thomas to score while giving the guests a 4-2 edge.
Madilyn Keefer singled home Cook with one out in the third for a 4-3 deficit, then Shala Swain delivered a two-out double to left that plated both Price and Keefer for a 5-4 advantage through three complete. Cochran also doubled in Byus with one out in the fourth for a 6-4 edge.
Sissonville tied things up at six in the top of the fifth as Beane delivered a two-out double that plated Thomas and Bailey, but Point retook the lead on a one-out single by Price that allowed Jordan and Byus to score for an 8-6 contest through five complete.
Hannah Smith laid down a two-out bunt single in the sixth, then stole second and later scored on a Jordan single to center — giving the hosts a three-run cushion headed into the seventh.
Jenna Thomas started the inning with a solo shot to right-center for a 9-7 deficit, then Beane and Kaylee Jones delivered back-to-back two out singles to put runners on the corners. Bragg followed with a single that brought both Beane and Jones home for a nine-all contest.
The Lady Knights — who outhit SHS by a 20-8 overall margin — left at least one baserunner stranded in each of the 10 innings of play. PPHS left the bases loaded in the fourth and also stranded two runners apiece in the second, third, fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th frames.
Sissonville stranded 10 runners on the bags, including one in every inning except the first and third frames.
Cochran was the winning pitcher of record after allowing nine earned runs, eight hits and eight walks over 10 innings while striking out nine. Bailey took the loss after surrendering six earned runs, 20 hits and five walks over 9⅔ frames while fanning eight.
Byus led Point Pleasant with five hits and three runs scored, followed by Jordan, Cochran and Price with three safeties apiece. Swain and Smith were next with two hits each, while Keefer and Rachael Grimm also had a hit apiece.
Cochran and Price led the way with three RBIs each, with Swain also knocking in two runs. Jordan and Cook also scored two runs apiece for the victors.
Bragg paced the Lady Indians with three hits and three RBIs, followed by Beane with two hits and two RBIs. Thomas, Bailey and Jones also had a safety each in the setback.
Bailey drove in two runs and also scored twice for Sissonville, while Thomas led the guests with three runs scored.
The Lady Knights returned to tournament action Wednesday as they faced Nitro at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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