POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. — On an ideal evening for a game of golf — and softball —the Lady Knights teed off on Logan pitcher Steph Eblin.
In addition, Point Pleasant’s pitching and defense did their usual armor-solid jobs.
As a result, the undefeated Lady Knights notched their fourth victory in as many tries on Friday, as they locked up the visiting Logan Wildcats by a count of 9-1.
In outhitting winless Logan 11-1, the Lady Knights erupted for five runs on a pair of walks and four consecutive hits in the opening inning — then made it 9-1 with four more runs on four more hits in the third fame.
In fact, Point Pleasant stranded six baserunners on Friday, including at second and third in the first inning — followed by the bases loaded in the second.
In other words, with the way Karson Bonecutter was pitching and with her defense behind her, this contest could have ended earlier.
Instead, with West Virginia’s mercy rule in effect in the fifth inning, the affair was over after four-and-a-half.
For those interested in actual game time, it took exactly an hour and 15 minutes.
The Lady Wildcats’ only baserunner resulted in their only run —when Hanna Vance roped a triple to right field, followed by scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jaden Oney.
The loss left Logan at 0-3, as the Wildcats also dropped games against Man (7-2) and Poca (5-4) earlier last week.
Point Pleasant, in its first week, defeated Wirt County (10-0), Wahama (4-2) and Parkersburg South (9-4) prior to caging the Wildcats.
“Defensively, we’ve been playing well, and that’s been one of our strengths so far. Karson (Bonecutter) pitched well by keeping the ball down, she had quite a few putouts on balls right back to her,” said PPHS coach James Higginbotham. “Hitting the ball, we wanted to jump on them early. In the first inning, we had some timely hits. We had some hard hits, but we also had some little cue shots go down the right-field line and score a few runs. But we put the ball in play, and all we ask them to do is not strike out. With 14 or 15 balls in play in a game like this, that gives us a chance.”
With Bonecutter coasting in the circle, the Lady Knights needed just a couple of points.
The right-hander retired the side in the first, second, fourth and fifth frames, and sat down her opening six batters along with her final nine.
After Oney’s RBI-groundout, Bonecutter collected her only two strikeouts, as she also amassed two defensive assists —followed by back-to-back game-ending putouts.
In the Lady Knights’ initial at-bat, Peyton Jordan and Kelsie Byus both walked —sandwiched around a Michaela Cottrill sacrifice bunt.
That set up four straight hits off Eblin — including three straight RBI-singles by Leah Cochran, Tanner King and Megan Hammond to score Jordan, Byus and Cochran respectively.
Kelsey Price punctuated the inning with a two-run double to right, plating courtesy runner Hannah Smith and Hammond.
In the second, Byus singled to right, Cochran reached on an infield hit and King made it on an unsuccessful fielder’s choice — but Eblin induced back-to-back flyouts to end the inning.
She wasn’t as fortunate, however, in the third.
Once again with one out, Cammy Hesson had an infield hit on a bunt —before back-to-back RBI-singles to right by Jordan and Cottrill crossed Hesson and Jordan.
Byus then doubled to left center, as Cottrill scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-1.
Cochran then put the eight-run mercy-rule into effect after five — following her sacrifice fly that scored Byus.
All nine of Eblin’s runs allowed were earned, as Logan reliever Jaycee Abbott allowed a leadoff single to Hammond in the fourth.
Abbott faced four Lady Knights, including Price who hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice.
Point Pleasant will attempt to make it better by the half-dozen after today (Saturday, March 25) — when it hosts both Lincoln County and Nitro in a triangular doubleheader.
The first contest is set for high noon.
For Higginbotham, his focus is on constant improvement as the season progresses — and finally finished practicing inside the high school gymnasium.
“It’s a long season and we try to get better as we go. We’re starting to hit the ball better, but that comes with live pitching,” he said. “The warm weather is going to help, we can get outside more and get more practices on the field. It’s a waste of time to be in the gym anymore at this point.”
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106