CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A three-run first inning in game one paced the Queens (N.C.) Royals toward a 4-1 opening win over King College. The Lady Tornado rebounded with an offensive explosion, racking up a 10-2 victory to split Saturday's action at Park Road Park.
GAME ONE: King 1, Queens (N.C.) 4
The Royals of Queens (N.C.) University tallied three runs in their opening at bat, creating enough damage to sustain a 4-1 win in their opening game. King was held to just four hits and one run behind Chantel Dodge and her six strikeouts.
Queens posted four hits, two for extra bases, in a three-run first inning. Megan Lathbury, Dodge, and Kaitlyn Cheek all tallied run-scoring base hits to put the Royals up 3-0 after their first at bat. The Royals scored their fourth run on a three-base error, allowing Keeya Turner to score.
King's lone run came on a RBI single to right field by Stephanie Rodriguez (Lake Mary, Fla.), scoring Christy Kooch. The Lady Tornado put runners on in each of the next two innings but could not put a run across the plate in either inning.
Hannah Light (Coeburn, Va.) took the loss, her second of the season. She allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings pitched, striking out three. Cora Milliken led the Lady Tornado with two of the team's four hits, both singles.
GAME TWO: King 10, Queens (N.C.) 2
For what King lacked in offense in game one, it more than made up for in the doubleheader capper where they scored 10 runs on 16 hits and three Queens errors. Christy Kooch and Hannah Light led the Lady Tornado each had three hits and four different hitters had two RBI.
Both teams swapped runs in the second inning prior to King's three-run third, paced by Fallon Thomas' double to left field. With runners on second and third, Kendall Brabson drove home a run via a sacrifice fly to center, followed by three straight singles to center by Chirsty Kooch, Cora Milliken, and Cassie Ringstaff to put King up 4-1.
King posted a run in both the fifth and sixth innings but delivered the knockout punch in the top of the seventh with four runs in their final at bat. Holding on to a 6-2 lead, the Lady Tornado loaded the bases for Christina Melcher. The freshman from Orlando, Fla., singled into left field, scoring pinch runner Stephanie Rodriguez. Fallon Thomas (Bristol, Va.) doubled home two more runs placing a liner down the left field line. King capped its scoring off with a sac fly by Kendall Brabson, leading toward a 10-2 score.
Hannah Light got it done in the circle for King, as well as at the bat, tossing all seven innings in her ninth win of the season.
King has reached the 20-win plateau after taking one of two games from Queens (N.C.) and improve to 20-12 overall, 7-7 in Conference Carolinas play. They return to the King College Softball Complex to begin an eight-game homestand, beginning with the Barton Bulldogs. The Lady Tornado and Bulldogs will meet on Sunday, April 1, for a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m.