BRISTOL, Tenn. – In her first game dressed in a Lady Tornado uniform, pitcher Hannah Light tossed a no-hitter as part of a complete game win over the Emory & Henry Wasps. Light led King to victory in game one while Rachael Wilmoth owned the circle in game two, tossing a five-inning, complete-game shutout to complete the sweep on opening day of the 2012 softball season.
GAME ONE: Emory & Henry 1, King 2
King starting pitcher Hannah Light (Coeburn, Va.) toed the rubber in her first game as a Lady Tornado and impressed the crowd tightly gathered on the hillside of the King College Softball Complex with seven innings of no-hit softball against the Wasps. The sophomore retired 21 of the 23 batters she faced during the season-opening 2-1 win, striking out six and walking two. After allowing a third-inning walk to eight-hitter Nicole Holdaway, Light retired the next 13 E&H hitters in succession to close the game out. She struck out four of her six in the final four frames, three looking.
Emory and Henry College (Va.) earned the game's first run, capitalizing on an early King error in the field. Jenae Morrissey drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt on the following batter. After a 1-3 putout, Kendall Brabson (Bean Station, Tenn.) tried to catch Morrissey taking third base on the throw, but her toss across the diamond went errant and allowed the Wasps to take an early lead. From that point, it was all King.
King took their first and only lead of the opening game with a two-run third inning. Sophomore third baseman Cassie Ringstaff (Richlands, Va.) led the inning off by driving a deep shot over the center field fence for the team's first home run of the season, tying the game at one. Two batters later, Brabson started a two-out rally with a double to deep left field. A wild pitch by Jen True advanced Brabson to third and Christy Kooch's double to the right-center field gap plated her to give King the lead, 2-1.
Ringstaff led the Lady Tornado with two hits from the top spot in the lineup, ending the day 2-for-3 with a run scored and a run batted in. Light (1-0) earned the win, allowing only one unearned run on zero hits. The game was Light's first as a Lady Tornado after transferring from Mars Hill College prior to this season.
GAME TWO: Emory & Henry 0, King 12 (F/5)
King wasted no time getting the offense going in game two of Friday's doubleheader, plating eight in the second inning to take a commanding lead and earning them a five-inning win, 12-0, over the Wasps.
As to not be outdone by her teammate, Rachael Wilmoth (Morristown, Tenn.) also put up a stellar opening day start for the shortened complete game, shut out win. The sophomore kept the Wasps scoreless through her five innings of work and allowed only two hits, both in the opening inning, before she settled down and retired 14 of the next 15 E&H hitters. Wilmoth struck out three, two swinging, while walking only one.
King escaped a two-on, one-out situation in the first after surrendering a pair of singles to Sylvia Robbins and Jen True. Light continued to dazzle the leather, flagging down a line drive to record the second out of the inning before Wilmoth retired the side by sitting down Ashley Ebersole with a strike three call.
After taking a 1-0 first-inning lead when Kendall Brabson forced home a run on a grounder to the right side, King exploded for eight runs in the second frame. Fallon Thomas (Bristol, Va.) led off the inning with a walk before the next four King hitters tagged starting pitcher Katie Grimm with singles to add to the lead, 2-0. Freshman Christina Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) shot a hard grounder to Jenae Morrissey at short, who was coming home with the play all the way. Morrissey bobbled the ball on the attempt, where Light beat the throw at the plate to score and extend the inning.
On the follow at bat, Tiffany Harris (Tazewell, Va.) found a hole in the right-center field gap plating two on her double and adding to the King lead, 5-0. Brabson notched her second RBI of the game with a single through the right side of the infield while Christy Kooch (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit a line drive, RBI double into left-center field to make the game 7-0. After freshman Cora Milliken (Jacksonville, Fla.) put another run on the board with a ground out to second baseman Bethany Anderson, Kooch displayed some heads-up base running from third on a foul pop out down the first base side when she aggresively tagged up and score, giving King a 9-0 lead.
The Lady Tornado plated three more runs in the fourth inning on wild pitch by Jen True, a throwing error by right fielder Nicole Holdaway, and a walk that plated a runner all leading a to a 12-0 lead for King.
Wilmoth had more than enough run support from her team to fuel her through her five innings of work before the game was called due to run limits. She retired the last 11 batters she faced in the game and recorded two of her three strikeouts in the final two innings. Milliken flashed some leather on the final play of the game, robbing Jelisa McFadden of a hit through the 3-4 hole when she dove to her left and snagged a hard hit grounder and retired her for the final out of the game.
Three Lady Tornado recorded multiple hits in the second of two games, all from the middle of the order. Tiffany Harris and Kendall Brabson each had two hits and two RBI while Christy Kooch has two hits, one RBI, and two runs scored. Fallon Thomas also tallied two RBI.
King (2-0) will play at Mars Hill College (Mars Hills, N.C.) in a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Lions are 6-5 this season, 3-3 at home.