Light Shines in Return to the Circle
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Hannah Light returned to the circle in a big way for the King College Lady Tornado, tossing a complete-game shutout in the team's 2-0 game one win and sealing their 8-1 over the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in the second of two games. She pitched nine total innings and struck out five in the sweep, supporting Rachael Wilmoth and the Lady Tornado offensive effort as they improved to 9-9 (3-5) on the season.
GAME ONE: Belmont Abbey 0, King 2
The King defense made an early statement when with two outs and runners on first and second, they gunned down a Belmont Abbey runner at the plate to save a run and end the inning. Carol-Anne Sherrill hit a single to right field where Tiffany Harris came up with the throw and gunned down Kelly Schweizer at the dish to keep the game scoreless in the first. Light rode the momentum from that play, having only one base runner reach in the Crusader's next five at bats, that by error.
Freshman Christina Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) led the bottom of the first off with the first of her three hits with a double that hit off of the center field fence. After being moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, Cora Milliken (Jacksonville, Fla.) grounded out to the right side allowing Melcher to score and give King a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Tornado returned to the plate in the bottom of the second and hit three straight singles from the bottom of the order to load the bases. Fallon Thomas was retired at the plate via a fielder's choice, but Melcher again rose to the occasion with a single to left field, scoring Harris and giving King a 2-0 lead.
Hannah Light (2-0) took care of the rest, retiring 16 straight batters after an error led off the second inning. The sophomore struck out three hitters in her second win of the season, two coming in the fifth inning. She allowed only three hits and survived a BAC threat when the Crusaders put runners on first and second with the go-ahead run at the plate. Shanie McConnell stepped to the plate with the chance to give the Abbeys the lead, but grounded to Cassie Ringstaff at third base for the easy unassisted putout to end game one, 2-0.
GAME TWO: Belmont Abbey 1, King 8
Belmont Abbey struck the scoreboard early with a run in the top of the first inning off of a Shannon Arthur sacrifice fly, but the combination of Rachael Wilmoth (Morristown, Tenn.) and Light kept the Crusaders quiet for the duration of the game.
King batted around the order and rattled out six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving the Lady Tornado all the run support needed in the win. Christina Melcher cranked her first home run of her career on a liner down that Shanie McConnell missed diving for down the right field line. Melcher motored all the way around the bases and finished an inside-the-park home run, also scoring Tori McComas. With two outs, Christy Kooch (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit a double to right field, scoring Milliken from first. Fallon Thomas (Bristol, Va.) put up King's third extra-base hit to the right side, adding another run and extending their lead to four. An error by third baseman Brooke Baliles kept the inning alive and allowed another King run to score before Tiffany Brand's RBI single capped of their six-run inning.
King put two on the board in the sixth inning to secure their lead, 8-1. Thomas recorded her second hit and second RBI of the day.
Rachael Wilmoth (6-4) kept Belmont Abbey off the scoreboard in her final four innings in the circle, allowing three hits during that time. Light entered in the sixth inning and pitched the final two inning, striking out two on the way to the win.
The Lady Tornado take the twinbill against Belmont Abbey and improve to 3-5 in conference play. They will play six games from March 19 to March 22, all non-conference and at home. They will start this run against Newberry College, who they defeated 3-2 and 5-1 earlier this season, with a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m.. King will follow with games against sister city rival Virginia Intermont on March 20.