Offense powers King to sweep at Young Harris

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – The King University softball team rebounded from Wednesday night's loss by recording 25 hits in their doubleheader sweep at Young Harris College on Thursday afternoon. The Tornado came from behind to take game one 6-4 in 10 innings before exploding for a 9-3 victory in game two.

King didn't waste much time taking the lead in game one as Hannah Smith leadoff the second inning with a single to right field. She was sacrificed to second, and reached third on a passed ball before an Amber Walker single scored her to give King a 1-0 lead.

The Tornado extended the lead with an unearned run in the second inning. Fallon Thomas laced a double to left field that scored Cassie Ringstaff, who reached on an error earlier in the inning.

However, Young Harris matched that run in the bottom of the third, and took the lead in the fourth inning. The Mountain Lions loaded the bases before Sydnee Weaver drove in two runs with an infield single to give Young Harris a 3-2 lead.

The scored remained the same until the seventh inning when Christina Melcher came up with the Tornado down to their last out. Melcher took a 2-0 pitch out of the park down the left field line to tie the game at three apiece. Tornado pitcher Hannah Light stranded two Young Harris runners in the bottom of the seventh to send the game to extra innings.

The teams matched runs in the ninth inning before King broke through in the top of the 10th. This time it was Thomas that came up with the big home run as she deposited the 2-2 pitch over the center field fence. The blast also scored Melcher who was placed on second to start the inning due to the international tiebreaker rule, and the Tornado held a 6-4 lead.

That was all Light need as she sat the Mountain Lions down in order to close out the 6-4 win in the bottom of the 10th inning. Light tossed all 10 innings, allowing four runs, only one earned on seven hits. She also struck out 11 hitters against three walks. Thomas went 2-for-5 and drove in three of King's six runs while Walker as recorded two hits, going 2-for-3 to lead the Tornado offense.

Young Harris (22-14) showed no signs of a hangover from the game one loss as they grabbed the lead with one run in the first inning of game two.

However, Ringstaff sparked the Tornado offense in the third inning. She was hit by a pitch to start the frame, and promptly stole second. After an out, Smith ripped a single to right field that scored Ringstaff and evened the score. Smith later scored on a Macy Shupe infield single to give King the lead.

King (14-20) tacked on one run in the fourth inning before exploding for three runs in each of the fifth and seventh innings. Smith led off the fifth with a home run before Aubree Hutt ripped a run scoring single to right field. In the seventh, Melcher drove in Stephanie Rodriguez, who singled earlier in the inning, before an Octavia Lewis-Rand sacrifice fly scored Melcher to give King a commanding 9-1 lead.

Young Harris scored a pair of runs in the seventh inning, but Morgan White closed out the 9-3 Tornado victory. Whited went six innings in relief of Light to earn her fifth win of the year. The King offense exploded for a season-high 17 hits in the win, including four apiece from Smith and Shupe. Smith went 4-for-5 while Shupe was 4-for-4. Melcher and Hutt weren't far behind, each going 3-for-4 in the win.

The Tornado will return home to face Erskine College in a Conference Carolinas doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. For updates regarding King softball, and all other King sports follow @KingAthletics on Twitter, and be sure to "like" King University Athletics on Facebook.