King takes split with Queens

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Playing their first home game in nearly three weeks, the King University softball team took on Queens University. The Tornado had to come from behind in game one as Hannah Smith drove in both King runs in the 2-1 victory. King had to come back again in game two, but the Royals bounced back to take the 6-3 win in eight innings.

Both teams had runners on base early in game one, but neither could push any runs across until the third inning. The first two batters of the inning reached base for Queens, and later in the inning, Whitney Britt gave the Royals the lead with a two-out run scoring single.

King had two runners reach base in each of the third and fourth innings, but Royal pitcher Ashley Rollins escaped both jams. The Tornado finally broke through in the fifth inning. Christina Melcher sparked the offense with a leadoff double to left center and advanced to third on a Cassie Ringstaff sacrifice bunt. Following a Fallon Thomas infield single, Smith ripped a double up the middle to score both runners and give King a 2-1 advantage.

Tornado pitcher Hannah Light worked around a single in the sixth, and stranded two runners in the seventh to earn her 14th win of the year. She scattered eight hits in seven innings of work while striking out seven. Smith and Thomas paced the Tornado offense with two hits apiece while Melcher and Tori McComas accounted for the other two King hits.

Queens (14-19, 5-7 CC) jumped ahead early in game two as Kaitlyn Cheek ripped a two-run home run to right field in the top of the first inning. The Royals then tacked on another run in the third to take a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third inning, Ringstaff reached base with a one-out single. After an out, Smith crushed her fourth home run of the season off the left field foul pole, and the Tornado trailed 3-2. King evened the score with a two-out rally in the fourth inning. Aubree Hutt started the rally with a single, and a stolen base. Melcher followed with a double to left field to even the game at three apiece.

It looked as though King (20-24, 9-2 CC) would grab the lead in the sixth inning as they loaded the bases. However, Queens' pitcher Kaitlyn Bodine escaped the jam to keep the score tied.

The score remained that way until the eighth inning when Cheek ripped her second home run of the game to put the Royals up 5-3. Queens tacked on one more run to take a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the frame. King was unable to score as the Royals took the game 6-3.

Melcher, Smith, McComas and Hutt led the Tornado with two hits apiece while Smith drove in two runs.

King will be in action again on Sunday when the host Coker College on Senior Day. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.