CHARLESTON, W.Va. — You can definitely call this one a tough start to the season.
The Point Pleasant softball team held the reigning Class AAA runner-up to just one hit over the final five innings, but host South Charleston produced three scores in its opening at-bat and ultimately held on Thursday night during a 3-0 decision in the season opener for both programs in Kanawha County.
The visiting Lady Knights (0-1) did not commit an error and surrendered only five hits in the contest, but four of those safeties came in the bottom of the first inning — and the Black Eagles (1-0) made the most of that early opportunity.
Kiersten Landers and Kelly Bare started the inning with back-to-back singles, then Landers — who stole both second and third base — scored on a two-out wild pitch for an early 1-0 edge.
Bare scored moments later following an RBI single from Lindsey Burdette, then Burdette came homeward on a single by Kelly Knuckles for a 3-0 contest through one full frame.
PPHS starter Karissa Cochran allowed only a second-inning single to Emily Givens the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done.
The Lady Knights — who managed four hits in the setback — left runners stranded in scoring position during both the second and third innings, but the guests had a golden opportunity to get back into the game during the top of the sixth.
Cochran and Kelsey Byus led that inning off with back-to-back singles, but the runners were ultimately left stranded at second and third after three consecutive outs allowed SCHS to escape unscathed.
Cammy Hesson reached on a two-out error in the top of the seventh, but she was eventually stranded as Makinley Higginbotham flew out to center field to wrap up the outcome.
South Charleston committed both errors in the contest and left four runners on base, while the Red, Black and White stranded eight on the bags. Tanner King also reached on an error in the top of the second inning.
Cochran allowed three earned runs, five hits and two walks over six innings while striking out two in the setback. Amanda McDonald was the winning pitcher after giving up four hits and two walks over seven frames while fanning seven.
Higginbotham had a second inning triple for the Lady Knights, while Cochran, Byus and Megan Hammond also added a single apiece in the setback.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.