POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Mistakes are magnified this time of year.
A passed ball on a bases-loaded third strike ultimately allowed Kerigan Moore to score the eventual game-winning run on Monday night as visiting Nitro claimed a 4-3 victory over the Point Pleasant softball team in the winner’s bracket final of the Class AA Region IV, Section 1 tournament held in Mason County.
The second-seeded Lady Knights (16-7) never led in the contest as the fourth-seeded Lady Wildcats (15-14) built a 2-0 lead through three complete, but the hosts rallied with their first score in the bottom half of the fourth.
An error led to a Nitro run in the top of the sixth as the guests extended their lead out to 3-1, but PPHS answered with two runs in the home half of the sixth to even the contest at three-all.
Two singles and a walk led to Nitro loading the bases with one away in the seventh, with cleanup hitter Bella Savilla coming to the plate.
Savilla ultimately struck out on an 0-2 offering that was low, but the ball trickled past the Point Pleasant catcher. Moore raced home ahead of the relay throw to Point’s covering pitcher Rylee Cochran, giving the guests a 4-3 edge entering the finale.
The Lady Knights had a runner on first with one away in their bottom half of the seventh, but a fielder’s choice and a groundout ended any and all threats as NHS wrapped up the one-run triumph.
NHS established a quick 2-0 edge in the third as Lena Elkins doubled in Morgan Burdette with two away, then Savilla drove in Haley Carroll with a single.
Point Pleasant answered in the bottom of the fourth as Peyton Jordan scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Hayley Keefer, cutting the deficit in half at 2-1 through four complete.
The Lady Wildcats caught a break to start the sixth as a fly ball was dropped in the outfield, allowing Savilla reach safely on an error. Savilla later scored from second on a one-out single from Jordan Nelson, giving the guests a 3-1 cushion midway through six.
An error and a double allowed Jordan and Tayah Fetty to reach second and third with nobody out in the sixth, then Emma Harbour grounded out to second as Jordan came home for a 3-2 contest.
Hayley Keefer received a two-out walk that left runners at the corners, then Annabelle Shrader single to left as Fetty came home for a three-all contest entering the seventh.
Nitro outhit the hosts by a slim 6-5 overall margin and both teams committed two errors apiece in the game. NHS stranded seven runners on base, while the hosts left five on the bags.
Elkins was the winning pitcher of record after allowing just two hits and a walk over two scoreless innings of relief while striking out one. Cochran took the loss after surrendering two unearned runs, three hits and a walk over 4.1 frames of relief while fanning four.
Fetty led the Lady Knights with two hits, with Jordan, Shrader and Amber Hatfield also providing a safety apiece.
Elkins paced NHS with two hits, followed by Savilla, Nelson, Burdette and Carroll with a safety each.
Point Pleasant awaits the winner of the (1) Sissonville-(3) Winfield contest in the loser’s bracket final. The highest seed of the three programs will host the game at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.