Photo courtesy of Alex Chaney
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Despite enjoying a first-round bye, the West End softball team’s path to the Class 2A Area 10 title was far from easy.
The Lady Patriots defeated Holly Pond by one run in both the semifinals and championship game before they could hoist the first-place trophy.
The Lady Broncos defeated Cleveland, 17-4, to earn the right to play West End in the finals, where the Lady Patriots held off a late Holly Pond and pulled out a 4-3 win.
Courtesy of Josie Bunch’s solo home run in the bottom of the first and Brayley King’s two-RBI base hit in the second, West End took a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning, at which point Holly Pond drew within a run.
Peyton Hall scored off an error during the following inning to restore the three-run lead, but the Lady Broncos put across one run in the sixth to pull within 4-2.
Holly Pond scored in the top of the seventh to make it a one-run game, but with two outs and a runner on first, King (pictured above at left) induced a fly ball to rightfield, which Addie Mashburn gathered in to end the threat and the game.
In seven innings, King allowed six hits and one earned run while striking out six. She did not issue a walk.
Both teams advanced to the East Regional Tournament next week at Sand Mountain Park in Albertville. West End faces Ider and Holly Pond plays Pisgah.