Beach tourney offers lessons for Lady Wave


West Point High’s girls softball team broke through on the scoreboard Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Green Wave continued to learn some lessons from some of the best teams in the Southeast in the Gulf Coast Classic I in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala.

In Tuesday’s two games, West Point fell 9-1 to Cleveland, Tenn., and 13-2 to Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas.

As was the case Monday, errors plagued West Point in both games Tuesday.

In the 9-1 loss to Cleveland, West Point made five errors that contributed to six unearned runs. One of those errors helped Cleveland score three runs in the bottom of the first after West Point claimed a 1-0 lead in the opening half inning.

In that first, Tonia Randle lead off the game with a double to left field. Summer Smith followed with a bunt that was mishandled, putting Randle at third and Smith on base.

Randle scored when Smith stole second to give West Point a hint of momentum, but Cleveland got out of the inning without any more damage.

Cleveland responded with a single, an error, a single and two sacrifice flies to go up 3-1.

The Lady Wave had a chance in the top of the second when Caroline Vail ripped a lead off triple to left. But the Wave couldn’t get her home although three straight batters made contact but hit it right at a fielder.

Cleveland pushed four more across in the bottom of the second with the help of another error.

West Point ended up getting four hits, including two by Randle and one each by Vail and Marquesha Starks. They left four runners on base.

Senior pitcher Sara Dexter allowed seven hits and only three of the nine runs were earned. She walked one and of the 66 pitches she threw to 24 batters, 41 were strikes.

In the second game against the Houston, Texas suburb, four first-inning errors led to eight Lady Cardinal runs. Bellaire pushed across five more unearned runs in the third before the Green Wave broke through with two runs in the fourth.

Of Bellaire’s 13 runs, none were earned off West Point pitcher Brittany Bensend.

West Point scored in the fourth when Randle reached on an error, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Starks’ solid single to center. After Bensend drew a walk, Starks rounded the bases on two passed balls before Bellaire turned a double play to end the inning.

Starks’ single was the Lady Wave’s lone hit of the game.

Bensend scattered eight hits, walked four and struck out one in her first major outing of the season. Of her 99 pitches to 29 batters, 56 were strikes.

The Lady Green Wave return to district play at Lafayette County Tuesday, March 19.