West End falls just short of state tourney


Photo courtesy of Average Joe’s Sports Talk 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

West End finished third at the Class 2A East Regional Softball Tournament last week at the Albertville Sports Park.
In the elimination games on Thursday, May 9, the Lady Patriots (24-12-1) fell to Pisgah, 6-1.
West End could not manage much against Pisgah starter Piper Anderson, who in seven innings limited West End to three hits, no runs and two walks while striking out four. The Lady Patriots’ lone run came in the top of the fifth when Addie Washburn singled and scored on a base hit by Brayley King. That brought West End within 4-1, but Anderson retired eight of the next nine batters to end the Lady Patriots’ season a game short of Oxford.
“We had a good run to get to the [second place] game, but I think we just ran out of fuel at that point,” said West End head coach Ricky Watkins. “[Anderson] is a pretty good pitcher, and she threw strikes and stayed ahead in the count. But my girls never quit, and they tried their best.”
West End opened the tournament on May 8 with 5-2 victory over Fyffe, followed an 8-6 loss against Pleasant Valley.
Against Fyffe, the Lady Patriots scored in the third inning off a sacrifice fly by Josie Bunch and took the lead for good when Emma Franklin scored off an error. Addie Washburn came home later in the inning to make it 3-1 in favor of West End.
The Lady Patriots tacked on two more runs in the fifth, the first on Bella Falkner’s RBI triple and the second on Kenndi Nix’s sacrifice fly. The Lady Red Devils drew within 5-2 in the top of the sixth before Bunch retired four of the next five Fyffe batters to secure the win.
In seven innings, Bunch scattered eight hits, two runs and one walk while striking out five. Bella Falkner went 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Liddy Falkner (pictured above) went 2-for-4.
Against Pleasant Valley, West End led 5-1 before being outscored 7 to 1 the rest of the way. Liddy Faulkner went 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored; Nix went 2-for-3 with a run scored; and Bunch went 2-for-4.
“Losing to Pleasant Valley the way we did really hurt,” said Watkins. “We made several errors, some mental and some physical. [Pleasant Valley] scored a lot of their runs with two outs, so we had some trouble getting out of innings.”
It was a different story in the next game, as the Lady Patriots outscored Cleveland 7-0 over the final six innings. King singled and scored on a base hit by Bunch to give West End a 1-0 lead before the Lady Panthers put across three runs in the bottom of the second.
That lead was short-lived. West End loaded the bases in the top of the third with no outs, resulting in scores by Bunch and Liddy Falkner that tied the game at 3-3.
The Lady Patriots took the lead for good in the fourth when Emma Finch singled home Bunch and Liddy Falkner drove in Daliegha Wheeler. West End broke the game open the sixth by way of Liddy Falkner’s run-scoring single and a pair of RBI groundouts.
King earned the win in 5.2 innings, allowing two hits, no runs and no walks while fanning five.
At the plate, she went 2-for-5 with a run scored. Bunch went 3-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored, while Liddy Falkner went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
“We’ll only have two seniors next year (Mashburn and Liddy Falkner), so we’ll still be pretty young,” said Watkins. “We’ll really miss Josie. She’s a six-year starter and she really put us on her back. She was a strong leader, both on and off the field. I’m already think about who will fill that role for us next year.”

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