BANNER ELK, N.C. – Cassie Ringstaff gave the King University softball team a 4-1 win in game one at Lees-McRae College with a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning. The Tornado used that momentum to take the sweep with a 9-1 victory in the night cap.
Lees-McRae looked to take the lead early in the first game as the loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first inning. However, Tornado pitcher Hannah Light recorded back-to-back strike outs to escape the jam and keep the game scoreless.
From that point on, there weren't many scoring opportunities for either team. King threatened in the third inning, but stranded a pair of runners, and the Bobcats did the same in sixth inning to send the game to seventh tied at 0-0.
Tori McComas led off the seventh with an infield single, and Amber Walker followed with a walk. After a failed bunt attempt, Octavia Lewis-Rand loaded the bases with a single to right field. A fielder's choice kept the game scoreless and brought Ringstaff to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. The junior crushed her first home run of the season to give King the 4-0 lead going to the bottom of the seventh.
The Bobcats scored a run in the seventh, but Light closed the door for her 13th win of the season. Light only allowed the one run while scattering seven hits in the complete game victory. Ringstaff went 1-for-4 with the grand slam while Christina Melcher and Lewis-Rand led the team with two hits apiece.
Game two started out much like the first, with neither team having many opportunities to score. Lees-McRae (7-30, 2-8 CC) took the lead on a solo home run from Sadie Lagle in the third inning, but that was all the runs they would score as Tornado pitchers Morgan Lowe, Morgan White and Light only allowed five Bobcat hits in the game.
The King offense erupted in the sixth inning with seven runs. Hannah Smith gave the Tornado (19-23, 8-2 CC) the lead with a two-run double down the left field line and Lewis-Rand drove in another run with a double down the left field line. Ringstaff capped the onslaught with a double to right center that scored two runs and gave King a 7-1 lead.
Fallon Thomas tacked on an insurance run with a leadoff home run in the seventh inning, and Mackenzie Draine drove in Lewis-Rand later in the inning to give the Tornado a 9-1 advantage. Light worked a perfect bottom of the seventh to give White her sixth win of the season.
Ringstaff and McComas paced the King offense with three hits apiece while Walker and Draine chipped in with two hits each. Draine, Ringstaff and Smith all registered two runs batted in to lead the team.
After nearly three weeks on the road, the Tornado return home to face Queens University (N.C.) and Coker College this weekend. Saturday's doubleheader with Queens is slated to start at 1:30 p.m., and the first pitch for Sunday's double dip with Coker is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Sunday is also senior day at the King University Softball Field.