Taylor Banner struck out 11 batters and narrowly missed out on a no-hitter as the Lady Blue Devils routed Rye Cove 11-1 and locked up a spot in Thursday’s Region D, Division 1 championship game.
Castlewood will now face Haysi, which defeated J.I. Burton 7-2 in Tuesday’s other semifinal. No matter what happens in the title game, the Lady Blue Devils have reserved a spot in the VHSL Division 1 state tournament.
Banner did a masterful job inside the circle even as the temperature soared into the low 90s. She didn’t allow a hit until Kourtney Kelley finally smacked an RBI single into the outfield with two outs in the top of the sixth.
Kelley’s single was the only hit Banner (14-3) gave up, and the run she allowed was unearned. Still, Castlewood’s junior ace was disappointed that she couldn’t finish off her fourth no-hitter of the season on such a big stage.
“I really wanted it, especially in the region tournament because I’ve never thrown a round in the region before this year,” Banner said. “That was my fault because I had 0-2 on a batter and gave up a hit — I was just mad at myself.”
Read the full story in Wednesday's print or enhanced electronic version of the Times-News.