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.