Junior hurler Hannah Light led Coeburn to VHSL shutout record

Dave Ongie • Jun 12, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Hannah Light burst onto the scene as a sophomore in 2008 and proved she had what it took to be a winning pitcher.

In 2009, Light developed into a dominating force inside the circle, making the junior the clear choice as Times-News Elite softball player of the year.

After an early-season loss to Volunteer in the Eastman Invitational, Coeburn embarked on a 17-game winning streak that carried the Lady Blue Knights into the Group A, Region D semifinals.

Coeburn strung together 16 consecutive shutouts during the winning streak, a VHSL team record.

Light was a driving force behind Coeburn’s success, a whirling dervish inside the circle unleashing a variety of pitches that were often downright unhittable.

Individually, Light went 15 games in a row without allowing a run, a string that included three consecutive no-hitters. Her bid for a fourth straight no-hitter came tantalizingly close to completion, broken up by Honaker with two outs in the fifth inning.

Light led her team to the Cumberland District regular-season title before throwing two more shutouts to wrap up the tournament crown.

The junior finally allowed a pair of runs in the Region D tournament against J.I. Burton, halting her shutout streak just two games short of the VHSL individual record held by former Virginia Tech standout Angela Tincher.

Despite losing her scoreless streak, Light struck out 11 batters as her team beat the Lady Raiders 5-2.

Coeburn’s season ended in the Region D semis against Virginia High, but Light made quite an impression on the Lady Bearcats. She struck out 16 batters before dropping a heartbreaking 2-1 decision in nine innings.

In the end, Light’s numbers provide an accurate reflection of her dominance — a 19-4 record, an ERA of 0.72 and 266 strikeouts in 23 starts. That’s an average of 11.5 Ks per game.

Light also helped her own cause by hitting .393 with stolen bases. As Coeburn’s leadoff batter, Light frequently slapped the ball into play, setting the table for the big bats in the middle of the lineup.

Coeburn may have fallen just short of a return trip to the state tournament this season, but it’s not time to close the book on the Lady Blue Knights just yet.

Not when Light has one more season to write her final chapter.

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