By Shawn Stinson
The Pendleton County softball team had its season end with a loss to Tucker County in the Class A Region II Section 1 playoffs.
The Lady Wildcats finished their season with a 12-13 record.
Tucker knocked off Pendleton 15-3 in a five-inning run-ruled shortened contest on May 9 in Parsons. The Lady Mountain Lions led 3-2 at the end of the first inning before exploding for seven runs in the bottom of the second.
Cheyenne Gooden slugged a three-run home run for Tucker in the first inning. Ava Shaffer limited Pendleton to five hits and struck out seven. Shaffer, Rachel Felton, Raven Matthews and Autumn Russell all finished with two runs batted in for the Lady Mountain Lions.
Ally Vance had two hits for Pendleton in the loss. Lizzie Alt slugged a solo home run in the top of the fifth for the Lady Wildcats. Baylee Beachler struck out six in three innings in the pitching circle.
Pendleton, the No. 5 seed, in the sectional tournament, advanced to the matchup with Tucker by defeating Moorefield for the first time this season. The Lady Wildcats rolled to a 16-9 victory over the Lady Yellow Jackets on May 5 in Moorefield.
Pendleton broke open a close contest by scoring five runs in both the third and fourth innings. Pendleton coach Charlie Padgett said the spark in the contest came in the second inning when Nataley Hedrick was ejected due to using an illegal bat. Padgett added the ejection “got us fired up.”
“It really galvanized us,” Padgett said. “Everybody really hit the ball. We hit it well. They played well and inspired.”
Vance earned the victory in the circle, hurling five innings. Beachler pitched the final two innings. She went 4 for 5 at the plate to pace Pendleton’s offense. Avery Townsend and Alt both had two hits. Kate Hedrick added two doubles.
Moorefield was eliminated from the postseason with the loss. It was the first time this season Pendleton had defeated Moorefield. The Lady Yellow Jackets had posted three victories against the Lady Wildcats – 8-3 on April 6, 10-4 on April 23 and 16-1 on April 28.
Pendleton had dropped to the loser’s bracket the previous day when it fell to top-seed Petersburg. The Lady Vikings blanked the Lady Wildcats 8-0 in five innings.
Pendleton was limited to one hit in the contest, a single by Keira Gardner in the fifth inning. Beachler was the only other hitter to reach base for the Lady Wildcats when she was hit by a pitch.
The Lady Vikings closed out the contest by plating eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Padgett said his players were flat due to being tired from the night before against East Hardy in the opening contest of the tournament.
Pendleton advanced by holding off East Hardy on May 3 in Baker. The Lady Wildcats scored five runs in the top of the sixth to pull away for the Lady Cougars.
Townsend had three hits and Ashton Hess added two, including a double in the victory.
Pendleton appeared set to cruise to an easy victory after scoring three runs in the third and four more in the fourth. East Hardy rallied by scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth.
“We got some walks and some hits,” Padgett said. “We got some timely hitting in the game.”