POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. —In this season of March Madness, Point Pleasant’s Karissa Cochran captured a “Sweet 16” of her own.
That’s because the senior ace pitcher struck out 16 Ritchie County Rebels on Monday, and aided her cause by going 2-for-3 at the plate in leading the Lady Knights to a 3-1 softball victory.
With the win, in defeating the defending Class AA state runner-up, Point Pleasant evened its record to 1-1.
Cochran was a key reason why.
In pitching a complete game five-hitter, she struck out 16 — with the only Rebel run in the sixth inning coming unearned.
She walked only two, and struck out the side for all three outs in the opening four innings.
Through each of the first five frames, she faced four or fewer Rebels, including retiring the side 1-2-3 in the second.
Meanwhile, Point Pleasant plated single runs in the first, third and sixth stanzas off Ritchie County pitcher Kenna Delancy.
Delancy went the distance for the Rebels, and actually struck out half as many hitters as did Cochran.
But she also allowed eight hits that led directly to the three earned Lady Knight runs.
Delancy did score the only Rebel run, trimming the deficit to 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth.
But Point pushed across an insurance marker, as Megan Hammond doubled with one out and scored on a double on the next at-bat by Tanner King.
Hammond and King joined Cochran by going 2-for-3.
Cochran allowed back-to-back one-out singles in the seventh to Jesse Hodge and McKensie McComas, who both advanced to third and second respectively.
But Cochran came back to induce Tracy Lamp into a groundout, before striking out Leah Kuhn for the final out of the game.
The only other hits allowed by Cochran — all with two outs — were an opening-inning single by Delancy, a third-inning triple by Lamp, and an RBI-single by Kirsten Seese to score Delancy in the sixth.
Seese drew a two-out walk in the fourth and Kelsey Drinko a leadoff walk in the fifth, but Cochran came back to get out of those frames.
Cochran crossed the plate for a 2-0 Point Pleasant lead in the third, as she singled with one out and went to third on a two-base error in center-field.
Kelsie Byus then singled before Hammond singled in Cochran.
The Lady Knights got on the board in the first when Makinley Higginbotham and Cochran both singled with one out — and advanced a base apiece on a wild pitch to Byus.
Byus brought in Higginbotham on a fielder’s choice.
King singled in the second stanza for the Lady Knights’ only other hit.
Ritchie County stranded seven runners compared to six for the Lady Knights.
Point Pleasant returned to the road on Tuesday night by traveling to Sissonville.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106.