BRISTOL, Tenn. – Senior Kendall Brabson served as hero of not just one but both games of Sunday's doubleheader with Barton College. Brabson hit walk-off home runs in both games to guide the Lady Tornado to a sweep of the Bulldogs, 4-3 and 5-3. Hannah Light took wins in both games while King improved to 22-12 overall, 9-7 in conference play this season.
Brabson hit her third and fourth home runs of the season, both in walk-off fashion. With two mighty swings, the senior from Bean Station, Tenn., broke a pair of seventh-inning ties and gave King two victories. Her leadoff solo home run in game towered over the right field fence at the King College Softball Complex in a 4-3 victory before the rains came. After a two-hour delay and six innings of play in game two, one final storm rolled over the field in the way of a two-run shot by Brabson, giving King the sweep, 5-3.
GAME ONE: Barton 3, King 4
Hannah Light (Coeburn, Va.) turned in four scoreless innings in the circle, retiring the side in order in the second and third innings while stranding a pair of Bulldog runners at second in the remaining two frames.
While Light kept Barton scoreless, the Lady Tornado took advantage of a Barton error in the field that allowed Christy Kooch (Knoxville, Tenn.) to score after she led off the second inning with a double. With runners on first and third, Cassie Ringstaff grounded to Barton third baseman Amber Weaver whose errant throw allowed Kooch to cross the plate.
Barton tied the game at one on an Autumn Herrin single that plated Weaver before the Bulldogs took a 4-1 lead with a three-run sixth inning. After an error and fielder's choice put runners at first and second, base hits by Rebecka Morgan, Weaver, and Heather Gatton helped Barton to take a three run lead into the bottom of the sixth.
King responded with three in their half of the sixth when the offense was jumpstarted by Cassie Ringstaff's RBI triple to center field. After an error by catcher Casey Strickland allowed Ringstaff to score, Christina Melcher plated the final run to tie the game at three with a ground out to short, scoring Tiffany Harris from third.
The stage was then set for the first of Brabson's two walk-off shots on the day, working Barton relief pitcher Emily Jordan and besting her by blasting an inside offering of the right field fence. The solo homer broke the tie and gave King a 4-3 win in game one.
Light (10-2) went all seven innings and took the win, her 10th of the year. The sophomore struck out eight batters and allowed only one earned run.
GAME TWO: Barton 3, King 5
Brabson again went for the win in her final at bat of the seventh inning in game two, belting a game-winning two-run homer to complete the sweep of the Bulldogs. Emily Jordan walked leadoff hitter Fallon Thomas to bring the hard-swinging lefty to the plate. After driving the count full, Brabson fouled off a pair Jordan pitches before the senior ripped the eighth pitch of the at bat inside the right field foul pole for her second walk-off home run of the day.
King jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the third inning after two Barton errors helped the Lady Tornado get on the board. Christy Kooch reached base and motored to third on a bad throw by third baseman Amber Weaver. Cassie Ringstaff's ground out to the right side of the infield allowed Kooch to score, putting King up 1-0. Aubrey Hutt scored in the second inning after advancing to second on an error in the field and was plated by a sacrifice fly by Cora Milliken.
Barton tied the game when Rebecka Morgan reached base and later scored after being walked by Rachael Wilmoth in the fourth and sixth innings. Each time, Morgan scored on doubles by Emily Jordan and Alex Baylis. King retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Hannah Light scored on a single up the middle by Christina Melcher, but Barton was quick to tie the game once again. Light entered the game in relief of Wilmoth in the fifth, but her throwing error allowed Liz Webb on base to later score on pinch hitter Kristin Moore's double to the left center field gap.
Light (11-2) took the win after Brabson's seventh-inning heroics after 1.1 innings of relief. Wilmoth got the start and the no-decision after 5.2 innings of work, allowing two runs on four hits.
Game two was delayed by nearly two hours due to storms that passed through the area.
King (22-12, 9-7) continues its current homestand with two final conference games against St. Andrew's Presbyterian College on April 5 before taking on regional opponents Tusculum College (April 9) and Milligan College (April 10), all at the King College Softball Complex. First pitch of game one against the Black Knights is set for 2:00 p.m.
Ironically, Kendall Brabson's walk-out song when she approaches the plate is Aerosmith's "Walk This Way", which blared incessantly prior to her walk-off blasts!