West Union’s defense showed up in a big way throughout the Union County Tournament last weekend, with no performance bigger than their 4-0 shutout of New Albany on Saturday.
“It was a great day to play softball, and the competition was awesome,” West Union head coach Lisa Bogue said. “It’s always great to get out here and play against your county rivals, and New Albany is a great team. To have that kind of quality game to win the county tournament was huge for us.”
Both teams entered their contest at 3-0, each boasting impressive performances against their county rivals. West Union scored early as Claire Wilkerson started the game with a lead off single and advanced to third off two stolen bases before scoring on Kimberly Jumper’s sacrifice play at first. The Lady Eagles’ strength throughout the tournament was their base runners, as teams had a hard time keeping up with West Union’s speed.
“We look at it like we’re either going to get thrown out or be successful and we’re going to keep going until they catch us,” Bogue said. “We did get caught a couple times, but for the most part it worked for us.”
Leah Paige Goolsby hit an RBI double in the third, helping to extend West Union’s lead. Goolsby had an impressive tournament, as she posted multiple hits in each of the Lady Eagles’ four games.
“She was a great leader for us at the plate,” Bogue said of her junior short stop. “Overall in the county tournament, she showed tremendous strength back there and she has nerves of steel.”
West Union put the game out of reach in the fifth, as Jessica Gates and Claire Wilkerson each scored in the frame.
Dani Taylor posted her third win of the tournament allowing no runs off four hits with 12 strikeouts. Taylor and her younger sister Brittany combined for 26 strikeouts in the tournament while allowing only five runs.
“Both Taylor girls had a phenomenal day on the mound, and we couldn’t have asked for anything better out of our pitching staff,” Bogue said.
Bogue credits the toughness of the Lady Eagles’ early season schedule in helping them prepare not only for the competition in the county tournament but for division play as well.
“We have improved, but we’ve played some great teams to help us get to this point. We still have a lot we need to work on, some errors we need to cut back on,” Bogue explained. “The division games are the games that matter, the ones we need to show up for one hundred percent. Those are the ones we’ve been working for all summer and all year, so this was a good step for us as we’ll face Ingomar and Myrtle again in the next two weeks.”
West Union opened their tournament run with a 3-1 win over East Union.
East Union gave the Lady Eagles all they could handle before West Union scored twice in the final innings to take the win.
The Lady Urchins were on the board first off an RBI single by Amy McCullough, and West Union responded in the bottom half of the inning off an RBI single by Leah Paige Goolsby.
The pitching of both teams stepped up throughout the next two innings, as Dani Taylor and Savannah Alexander only allowed a combined three hits and neither offense was productive.
West Union broke the tie in the fifth starting with a lead off double by Julianna Garner. Garner would score later in the frame, and West Union had an insurance run in the fifth off another RBI single by Goolsby. The junior finished with three hits to lead the Lady Eagles in the win.
Taylor picked up the win allowing one run off five hits.
West Union started Saturday’s slate of games with a commanding 13-4 win over Myrtle.
The Lady Eagles went up 2-0 before their first out in the opening inning and scored two more runs off a single by Carley Wilkerson.
Down 5-0, Myrtle scored two runs in the bottom of the first. Meshay Cox scored the first run off an error, and the Lady Hawks loaded the bases and scored one more run on Kandace Butler’s single.
The Lady Eagles offense was too much for Myrtle, as they scored eight runs over the next three innings with two hits coming from Jessica Gates. Gates, Leah Paige Goolsby, Julianna Garner and Carley Wilkerson all had multiple hits in the win.
Dani Taylor allowed only one hit as the Lady Eagles improved to 3-0 in the tournament with their 10-0 win over the Lady Falcons.
The junior pitched a perfect game until Shelly Grisham’s single in the fourth inning. Along with the lone hit, Taylor struck out seven Ingomar batters.
Leah Paige Goolsby had two hits for West Union, while Kimberly Jumper led with three RBI, two of which scoring off her triple in the second inning.
Looking ahead to division play, West Union will face Myrtle this week before traveling to Potts Camp.