MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill softball team was swept by the King Tornado on Saturday afternoon at Ponder Field. King was able to outlast the Lions 8-4 in game one before posting a 10-0 win in the nightcap. The Lions are now 5-11 overall while KU improved to 10-8 on the year.
GAME ONE: MHU 4, KING 8
King struck first in the top of second with a pair of runs. After the leadoff hitter reached on a double down the left field line Olivia Lawson launched a ball out of the park to left field to give the Tornadoes a 2-0 lead. That lead grew to 7-0 in the top of the third following a five-run outburst.
The Lions finally scratched in the bottom of the third. Krista Romine led the frame off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cassidy Dahle. Ragan Broome lined a single to center that allowed Romine to touch the plate for Mars Hill's first run. However, the Lions were denied a bigger inning, leaving two runners on.
King was able to get that run back in the fourth, but MHU put together a furious two-out rally in the home-half of the fourth to cut the Tornadoes lead in half. With two down Kaleigh Jonas laced a double to right center, initiating the run. Emily Crouse followed with a base hit through the right side and Romine walked to load the bases. Dahle produced a clutch two-RBI hit to left before Ragan Broome just missed leaving the yard, allowing Romine to score. Mars Hill trailed 8-4 after four.
However, that was as close as the Lions got, dropping the first game by that same score. Shelby Culler (2-4) was tagged with the loss, tossing 2.1 innings while allowing six runs on five hits. Emma Hughes (5-2) earned the win after pitching four innings and giving up four runs on six hits.
GAME TWO: MHU 0, KING 10
The Lions were presented a great opportunity to score in the bottom of the first but were unable to push ahead in the contest. Ally Sherman led the inning off with an infield single and eventually advanced to third, but a caught stealing and pop out ended the threat.
King took advantage of the Lions misfortune, taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the second with a leadoff homerun by Kay Brokering and a two-run shot by Kaycee Casteel. The Lions loaded the bases in the bottom of the second, but once again was unable to push any runners across.
The Tornadoes took advantage of two defensive miscues by the Lions in the fourth to push their lead out to 5-0. Mars Hill threatened in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases following a walk and two hits, but a fielder's choice groundout left the Lions empty.
A two-spot by King in the sixth followed by three runs in the seventh ballooned the lead to 10-0. The Lions wasted a leadoff hit in the home-half of the seventh, eventually dropping game two by the final of 10-0.
Ragan Broome paced the Lions after going 2-for-4 at the dish. Broome totaled a team-leading four hits during the doubleheader, bringing her average up to .434 on the season.
Brittany Duncan (0-2) was given the loss after pitching all seven innings and allowing 10 runs (eight earned) and scattering 12 hits. Hayley Smothers improved to 3-3 overall as she picked up the win for King, tossing 7.0 innings and not allowing a run.
The Lions will make the quick turnaround as they play host to the Bobcats of Lees-McRae tomorrow afternoon at Ponder Field. First game of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.