YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College rallied from a five-run deficit to win the opener and held Tusculum College to one hit in five innings in game two to sweep a non-conference softball doubleheader Thursday afternoon by scores of 6-5 and 8-0.
The Pioneers (5-7) return home to host the Pioneer Classic Friday through Sunday at Red Edmonds Field, starting Friday night with a 6 p.m. game against Augusta State. The Mountain Lions, who have won five in a row, improved their overall record to 6-6 with the sweep.
Callie Holloway hit a game-tying three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth and Stacia Williams delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Mountain Lions won after trailing 5-0 in the fourth inning. Young Harris finished with 13 hits as a team, including three from Williams and two each from Paige Sexton, Sydnee Weaver and Kayla Jones.
Kaytlin Stroinski led the Pioneers at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a run scored, and Nicole Ball added a solo home run to help Tusculum to their early lead. Carolyn Williamson was 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI as the Pioneers tallied nine hits in the game.
Tusculum took a 1-0 lead in the second off Young Harris starter Katie-Jo Gentry as Ball hit her first home run of the season with one out. The Pioneers scored in the third when Williamson took second on an error, moved to third on a bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by Katie Brennan.
In the fourth, the Pioneers tacked on three more runs to extend their lead to 5-0. Stroinski reached on a bunt single to lead off the inning and Paige Sneed was safe on an error. Ball drove home Stroinski on a groundout and Leah Powell singled home pinch-runner Miranda Beeler for a 4-0 lead. After a single by Samantha Silver, Williamson delivered a double to knock in Powell with the fifth run of the game for Tusculum.
The Mountain Lions began their comeback in the bottom of the fifth against Pioneer starter Kelly King, on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Brittany Henry. Young Harris put two runners on base in the fifth, but reliever Elizabeth Johnson came up with a strikeout to end the inning and keep the Pioneer lead at 5-1.
In the sixth, Young Harris loaded the bases on two walks and a single, and Sexton pushed home a run on an infield groundout to cut the Tusculum lead to 5-2. With two outs and runners at second and third, Holloway slammed a home run to bring the Mountain Lions all the way back to a 5-5 tie.
The Pioneers threatened in the seventh against Henry, who came on in the sixth for Gentry, but the side was retired on a groundout with runners at first and second. In the bottom of the seventh, Jones led off with a double, moved to third on a bunt and scored on Williams’ hit.
King worked 4 1/3 innings for the Pioneers, allowing nine hits but just one run. Johnson (2-4) allowed five earned runs on four hits and two walks in two innings of relief to take the loss. Gentry surrendered seven hits and five runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings for the Mountain Lions, before Henry (1-0) struck out two in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
The Mountain Lions rode the one-hit pitching of Darby Stanford (4-2) and a 10-hit attack to the doubleheader sweep of the Pioneers. Stanford allowed just a leadoff single to Silver in the third inning, finishing with one strikeout and two walks in the game.
Eight of the nine starters had at least one hit for Young Harris, which scored twice in the first, once in the third and five times in the fourth off three Tusculum pitchers. Amber Statham was 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored, Jones knocked in three runs, Henry was 2-for-2 with a run and Sexton walked, singled and scored twice for the Mountain Lions.
King (3-3) started for the Pioneers but departed after walking Sexton to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Johnson came on and surrendered a two-run single to Jones for an early 2-0 Mountain Lions lead. Jones added an RBI on an error in the third to drive home the third run for Young Harris.
In the fifth, the Mountain Lions scored five runs on five hits, including RBI singles by Sexton and Statham and a two-run single off the bat of Jen Spradling.