Two Thomas Bombs Drive Lady Tornado to Pair of Wins
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Lady Tornado hit three home runs over their two-game set against Newberry College on Monday afternoon. Fallon Thomas kept her hot streak at the plate with two bombs and Christina Melcher added to the trio to combine with solid pitching performances by sophomores Hannah Light and Rachael Wilmoth. King College jumped out to early leads in both games and defeated the Wolves of Newberry College by counts of 9-2 and 4-0.
GAME ONE: Newberry 2, King 9
To support Hannah Light's third complete game victory of the season, King hit their way to an early 3-0 lead when the top of the order made easy work of Newberry starting pitcher Caitlyn Smith, tagging her with three runs in the first inning. Christina Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) put one down the left field line for a double and advanced on a bunt single by Cora Milliken to set the plate for sophomore Fallon Thomas (Bristol, Va.). Thomas found green in center field for the first of her three hits on the day, plating Melcher and giving King a 1-0 lead. After Christy Kooch's sacrifice fly doubled the Lady Tornado lead, and Cassie Ringstaff drove home the third King run of the inning.
Christina Melcher belted her second home run, a solo shot, to give King a 4-0 lead. The Lady Tornado took advantage of an error to extend the fourth inning one extra batter that proved to be costly for the Wolves. Thomas made reliever Shelley Jeffcoat pay when she hit her second home run of the season and first of the twinbill on a towering shot over the left field fence, furthering the lead to six runs.
King added to their lead with a three-run, bottom of the sixth inning on RBI base hits from Christy Kooch and Kendall Brabson plus a bases load walk.
Hannah Light (Coeburn, Va.) handled the rest, tossing her third complete-game win of the season. Light (3-0) allowed six hits and two runs but struck out a season-high seven Newberry batters. She retired the Wolves in order three different times, including the final three outs to end the game.
Both of Newberry's runs came in the sixth inning when Gwenell Crawford's ground out and a single by Jada Crocker plated two Wolves.
Fallon Thomas led the Lady Tornado with three hits, three RBI and two runs scored. The top three batters in the King lineup hit a combined 6-for-11 (.545), recorded four RBI and scored seven of King's nine runs. Christy Kooch and Cassie Ringstaff also had multi-hit days in game one, each with a pair.
GAME TWO: Newberry 0, King 4
Rachael Wilmoth (Morristown, Tenn.) kept the Newberry bats silent, allowing zero runs and a modest four hits on the day for her third complete game, shutout win of the season. The sophomore had control the whole game, striking out four Wolves and walking none. Wilmoth (7-4) forced 12 ground ball outs on 65 pitches through seven innings.
King again did most of their damage in the first inning and benefitted from two errors in the field by Newberry. Fallon Thomas cashed in on the opportunity, blasting her second home run of the day and giving King a quick 2-0 lead. With two outs and a chance to end the inning, Newberry shortstop Brittany Phillips committed her second error of the inning with an errant throw that allowed a third run to score.
Cassie Ringstaff scored King's fourth run on a third error by Phillips when she tried to retire tor Tornado sophomore at third and threw the ball out of the reach of third baseman Shelby Holland. From the fourth inning on, both teams cruised to a 4-0 finish and King's 11th win of the season.
The Lady Tornado improve to 11-9 overall and have built a winning streak that now stands at five games after consecutive sweeps of Belmont Abbey and Newberry. King will play two more non-conference doubleheaders this week, beginning Tuesday (March 20) against state line rival, Virginia Intermont. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. at the King College Softball Complex. They will complete their current eight-game homestand with a twinbill against Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, March 22 beginning at 1:00 p.m.