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Battle edges Gate City in Conference 40 softball championship

May 30th, 2014 12:40 am by Dave Ongie

Battle edges Gate City in Conference 40 softball championship

BRISTOL, Va. — Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains.

Then again, sometimes it rains and you lose.

That's what happened on Thursday to Gate City's softball team, which gave up four runs to John Battle in the first inning en route to a 4-2 loss in the championship game of the Clinch Mountain Conference 40 tournament.

But there was a silver lining to the dark clouds that dropped enough heavy rain on Battle Hill to delay the title game for several minutes prior to the top of the fifth inning. The Lady Blue Devils lived to fight another day — albeit on the road — in the first round of the 2A West Region tournament.

"Unfortunately, the first inning was just a little bit too much for us to overcome," said Gate City coach Cara Noe. "It's been a two-run game all three times we've played them this year. We'll get over that hump eventually, it just wasn't today."

After a lackluster performance in a win over Lee in the semifinals that drew the ire of Battle coach Ike Anderson, the Lady Trojans came out swinging in Thursday's title game. With the bases loaded and two outs, sophomore Caitlyn Doss came through with a three-run double and Tori Olsen followed that up with an RBI single to give Battle pitcher Abby Hensley all the run support she would need.

Despite the rough start, Gate City pitcher Caitlin McConnell settled in quickly. After allowing four earned runs on three hits in the first, McConnell scattered five hits across five scoreless innings as her teammates tried to find a way back into the game.

Kitty Raymond got Gate City on the board in the third inning when she hit a double to the wall to score Kendra Dougherty, who reached base on an error. Kayli Compton doubled in the seventh inning, and her courtesy runner scored on a passed ball and a throwing error to provide the final margin.

Hensley (18-3) picked up the victory for Battle by allowing just one earned run on six hits in seven innings of work. The senior has been a workhorse for the Lady Trojans all season, throwing every inning of every game.

Brooke Rutherford went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored for Battle while Doss finished up 2-for-3. Kasey Repass smacked a double for Gate City (16-7).

For more on this story, read Friday's print edition of the Kingsport Times-News or the expanded electronic edition.

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