Tornado hold off late NGU rally to stay alive in CC Tournament

Photo Credit: Qyntia Parks-Lewis
Photo Credit: Qyntia Parks-Lewis

BURLINGTON, N.C. – Playing their second games of the Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament, seventh seed King University and fifth seed North Greenville University left everything on the field on Friday afternoon in an elimination game. The Tornado held a 4-1 lead only to see the Crusaders even the score in the sixth. However, King regained the lead in the seventh and then turned a double play with runners on second and third to end the game and give the Tornado the 6-5 victory.

THE BASICS
FINAL SCORE: King 6; North Greenville 5
LOCATION: Springwood Park; Burlington, N.C.
RECORDS: King 18-30; North Greenville 25-24

PITCHING HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hayley Smothers started in the circle for King and tossed all seven innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits to earn her 11th win of the season.
  • For North Greenville, Carson O'Donald started and tossed six and one-thirds innings, giving up six runs, four earned on six hits.
  • Anna Rogers didn't allow a hit over the final two-thirds of an inning.

OFFENSIVE HIGHLIGHTS

  • For King it was Jennifer Kern that scored twice and drove in one while going 1-for-2.
  • Amber Walker went 2-for-4 and drove in one while Smothers drove in two and scored once while going 1-for-3.
  • It was Jordan Willingham that led the way for North Greenville, going 2-for-2 and scoring twice.
  • Morgan Roach also posted two hits, going 2-for-3 with a walk.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Megan Johnson started a two-out rally for North Greenville in the bottom of the first inning with a single to right center. She later scored on a Willingham bases loaded walk to put the Crusaders ahead.
  • However, Smothers got a groundout to end the threat and keep the Tornado deficit at 1-0.
  • King answered in the top of the second as Walker started the frame with a single to right field.
  • Following an out, Alliyah Sands walked and Smothers helped herself with a double that scored both runners to put the Tornado ahead.
  • A sacrifice bunt then moved Smothers to third and Hannah Devotie reached on an error that allowed Smothers to score and give King a 3-1 lead.
  • The Tornado tacked on another in the top of the third inning when Kaycee Casteel came up with a two-out, bases-loaded single to score Jennifer Kern, stretching the Tornado advantage to 4-1.
  • The score remained the same until the bottom of the sixth when Morgan Roach started the frame with a double for North Greenville. Willingham drove her in with single through the left side before moving to second on a wild pitch.
  • Elizabeth Carmen then laced a double to left field scoring Willingham and O'Donald evened the score at 4-4 with a single to center, scoring Carman.
  • Smothers then got the next two outs to keep the game even going to the seventh.
  • Hannah Smith led off the top of the seventh with a walk and was pinch ran for by Diamond Callwood, who promptly stole second. Kern took advantage, ripping a single that scored Callwood to put King back ahead.
  • Walker made it a 6-4 lead when she laced a single to score Kern. However, that was all King would get as the Crusaders got the final two outs, leaving a pair of runners on base.
  • The Crusaders again made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh as Jordan Farmer laced a double that scored Kate Lee, and put runners on second and third with one out with King leading 6-5.
  • A walk loaded the bases before Smothers induced a double play to end the game and keep the Tornado alive.

UP NEXT

  • King now faces sixth seed Belmont Abbey College in another elimination game, coming up at 2:45 p.m.
  • The loss eliminates North Greenville from the 2016 Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship.