7th-inning rally kickstarts Lade Wave softball

West Point High softball players warm up before Tuesday's practice. despite wet conditions, coach Casey Finch said she wanted the players to take advantage of as much sunshine as they could.
Staff Writer

A seven-run rally in the top of the seventh lifts the West Point Lady Wave softball team to a come-from-behind 14-9 win in the kickoff to what has been a water-logged season.

The win on the road at Louisville offered some early lessons for the team and fourth-year coach Casey Finch.

“The key for us this year is to get out fast, not wait until the end. We’ve got to come out strong and stay that way all the way,” said senior shortstop Chamiya Brownlee.

Brownlee is the only senior on what Finch calls a “young-but-experienced” team.

Behind Brownlee are a host of juniors who got lots of playing time in last year’s 9-11 season that fell one run short of making the 5-A playoffs. This year, the Lady Wave is in a new district with Saltillo, Grenada and Lafayette County.

Brownlee is ready to make the playoffs run.

“I was so happy to finally get to play. I’ve been ready to play since May,” said Brownlee, who has played every position except pitcher and catcher for Finch.

“Many of this group have been together for four straight years. They have really developed some chemistry,” Finch said of the team.

Finch got a scare Monday night when, with the team down 9-7, Brownlee led off the top of the sixth with a triple off the wall but then smashed face first into the dirt when she stuck in the mud trying to slide. They were in the emergency room at North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point until early Tuesday morning once they got back to town.

That incident lit a fire under the rest of the team.

Junior pitcher Sara Dexter, who went the distance throwing 112 pitches, shut down Louisville in the sixth and seventh innings, giving her teammates a chance to rally. Dexter’s solid outing gives Finch some comfort with fellow juniors Summer Smith and Brittany Bensend, both of whom play other positions, waiting in the wings for mound duty if needed.

Dexter scattered nine hits while striking out four. She threw 24 first-pitch strikes.

She got offensive help on a variety of fronts. Malaysia Moody had two of the Lady Green Wave’s 10 hits and Tonia Randle, Bensend and Marqueshia Starks had two RBIs each. Brownlee and Hannah Meyers walked three times each to provide some spark for the offense.

Louisville jumped out to a 5-1 lead after two innings before the Wave answered with three in the third and two in the fourth and another in the fifth to go up 7-5. But the homesteading Louisville squad hung a four-spot in the bottom of he fifth, setting the stage for West Point’s last-inning rally.

If weather permits, the Lady Green Wave will play at Aberdeen Thursday and then travel Friday to traditional softball power New Hope, a former 5-A rival.

District play is scheduled to open March 22 at Saltillo.