NCAA SB Regionals: King Tournament Run Comes to an End, Lady Tornado Fall to Jaguars
(courtesy of King Sports Information)
May 5, 2012
Tournament Run Comes to an End, Lady Tornado Fall to Jaguars
BRISTOL, Tenn. – King College Softball's tournament run came to an end after a 5-1 loss to Augusta State in Saturday afternoon's elimination game. The Jaguars jumped out to an early lead and rode it to victory as King stranded six runners on the base paths in the loss.
An early error by Hannah Light allowed two runs to score in the first inning. Kacee Camp led the game off with a single through the left side of the infield and a single by Kristen Jones put runners on the corners. Jessica Thornton put down a bunt but Light's throw sailed away and allowed two runs to score. Augusta State dropped a single in down the right field line to go up three after their first at bat.
King chipped into the lead in the bottom of the third when with the bases loaded, Christina Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) reached on a fielder's choice. The putout from right field to second base recorded the second out of the inning and scored their first run to pull within two runs, 3-1.
The Jaguars added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning with a pair of two-out, extra-base hits before the end of the at bat. Jessica Thornton hit a triple to right field, scoring one, and was followed by Lauren Yeargan run-scoring double to right center field to extend the lead back out to four runs.
The Lady Tornado sprinkled in seven hits against the combination of Emily Hendrick (W, 17-6) and Heather Hughes (S, 1), but stranded six runners out on the base paths. Leading the way offensively for King was the trio of Aubree Hutt, Cora Milliken, and Christy Kooch. Each had a pair of hits on the day and combined to go 6-for-10.
Hannah Light (Coeburn, Va.) took the loss, allowing three earned runs of her five on the day on 10 Augusta State hits over six innings of work. She falls to 20-6 to end her sophomore campaign. After the three-run first inning, Light settled down to retire nine of the next 10 batters she faced through the fourth inning.
Rachael Wilmoth (Morristown, Tenn.) pitched an inning of relief work and only surrendered one walk and retired her three remaining batters faced.
Christy Kooch was one of three King players to see their collegiate career come to a close following Saturday's loss. The Knoxville, Tenn., native went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in her final game. Tiffany Harris (Tazewell, Va.) and Kendall Brabson (Bean Station, Tenn.) also closed their careers after helping the Lady Tornado to the College's first Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship and NCAA Division II Tournament appearance.
King's season concludes with an overall record of 34 wins and 19 losses, the best season and most wins in program history. In her first season with the team, Hannah Light was a 20-game winner despite missing a month of service and was named All-Conference Second Team and the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament Most Valuable Player. The Lady Tornado featured three All-Conference First Team selections in freshmen middle infielders Christina Melcher and Cora Milliken plus sophomore backstop Fallon Thomas.
# KING TORNADO #
May 4, 2012
Late Rally Falls Short in Pitcher’s Duel with North Georgia
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Hannah Light gave her team the best chance to win, holding the No. 11 team in the nation and top seeded North Georgia Saints to just one run in their first game of the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament. The Lady Tornado offense sputtered despite a late rally in the top of the seventh, ultimately falling short in a 1-0 loss to the tournament hosts, Friday evening.
North Georgia pitcher Jessica Coan allowed three hits to the Lady Tornado, though two came in the final frame when King mounted a last-inning rally. After garnering one hit through six innings, the middle of the King lineup led off the seventh off with two base knocks to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Christina Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) began the inning with a rope to right center field and was followed by Fallon Thomas' hot shot that was ruled an infield single to Saints shortstop Tiffanie Burns, placing two on with no outs. Kendall Brabson struggled at the plate and struck out for the third time in the game for the inning's first out. Christy Kooch stepped to the plate and hit a pop up to short left field. Burns ran straight to the left field line and made a diving catch just inside the foul line then returned to her feet and doubled up Melcher at second base to end the game.
The Saints' lone run came in the bottom of the fifth inning when a rocket off the bat of Pilar Harden sailed over right fielder Tiffany Harris' head and resulted in a run-scoring triple. Katie Block led the inning off with her second single of the day and came around to score on Block's three-bagger.
Light cruised through the Saints lineup in each of the first two innings, retiring the side in order both times. She struck out two of her three batters in the third inning and worked out of a two-out, two-on jam. In the sixth, she battled out of another jam with two on and one out, forcing Sarah Johnson to line into a 6-3 double play to close out the side and set up King for its final attempt at the plate.
Cora Milliken registered the first of King's three hits against Coan with a double in the first inning, but the failed to bring her around to score.
Coan struck out 11 Lady Tornado hitters to keep the bats quiet. She allowed no runs on three hits over seven innings in the win.
Hannah Light (Coeburn, Va.) did well to match her counterpart, allowing only one run on six hits to the No. 11 team in the nation. She struck out three and walked one in the loss.
King (34-18) will play Augusta State (31-17) in an elimination game for the right to continue their quest toward a regional championship. The Jaguars and Lady Tornado will play at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium on Saturday, May 5. Game time is set for 4 p.m. The winner of that matchup will play the loser of the North Georgia/Columbus State winner's bracket championship game that will be played beforehand.