What made Thursday’s win even sweeter for Gate City was that it was in come-from-behind fashion in the Mountain 7 District tournament.
After falling behind Abingdon by one run after four innings and barely having a hit after the first, the Lady Blue Devils rallied for two runs in the home half of the sixth for the 2-1 victory.
Kinslee Hammonds’ double to the gap in left-center field scored Taylor Blevins from first. Hammonds later scored when Abingdon catcher Cameron Wyatt dropped the ball trying to tag her racing home from third.
“I knew (Kinslee) was due. She had been pounding it this week in practice and we knew it was coming,” Gate City coach Cara Noe said. “That’s what she does. She comes up big for us and I’m proud of her.”
Senior pitcher Kate Pendleton tossed the complete-game victory, striking out seven and retiring six of the final seven batters she faced.
The Lady Falcons accounted for seven hits off Pendleton but only two after the fourth. Alley Yeary was credited with the only RBI for Abingdon, a single up the middle that plated Katie Harless in the fourth.
“Coming in to this game, I knew they were going to hit it. That was a given,” Pendleton said. “The past few times we’ve played, it’s been a one- or two-run ballgame. ... I just beared down for my teammates in the last home game. I wanted to go out with a bang.”
Gate City got to Abingdon pitcher Ashli Linkous to open the game. Against the first three batters, Linkous surrendered a single and a double, and another runner reached safely on a fielder’s choice. However, Linkous quickly settled in and began mixing in a lot of off-speed pitches to complement a good fastball.
She struck out five on 81 pitches.
Harless accounted for two of Abingdon’s hits. Linkous, Lexus Jordan and Yeary had the others in the Lady Falcons’ season-ending loss.
Kiersten Quillen had a perfect night at the plate for Gate City. She was 2-for-2, reaching on a bunt and a single.
The Lady Blue Devils advanced to take on top-seeded John Battle on Saturday in Bristol. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.