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Riffle pitches Tribe to shutout win over Gate City

TANNER COOK • Apr 4, 2019 at 8:23 PM

GATE CITY — An interstate rivalry always makes for some interesting contests, and Thursday’s softball game between Gate City and Dobyns-Bennett was no exception. D-B was able to take the non-conference victory over the Lady Blue Devils 6-0 behind an outstanding pitching performance from Morgan Riffle. She struck out seven and walked just one on her way to the shutout.

“Morgan did a great job pitching,” D-B coach Andy Hubbard said. “I thought Gate City did a really good job of having their kids in the right place. We hit some balls early that we didn’t get hits on, and they made some good defensive plays.”

BOOTED AROUND

On the reverse side, it was two untimely errors by the Gate City outfield that helped fuel the Tribe and get the lead. The Lady Indians (15-9) were also aggressive on the base paths, stealing six bags as a team.

It all started in the fifth inning when Emma Allgood hit a gap shot to left center that was fumbled by the left fielder. That allowed Allgood to get to scoring position at second base. Three pitches later, she advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Griffin Mullins eventually walked and stole second for the Tribe, so the Lady Indians were in business with only one out.

Evee Battisto came up next and walked, so the bases were loaded and Gate City pitcher Kate Pendleton was in a jam.

Riffle provided herself with some run support as she hit a sacrifice to center that scored Allgood from third and moved everyone else up one bag.

The Lady Indians scored once more when Mullins beat out a tag between second and third by Gate City’s Sarah Thompson. D-B was up 3-0.

The top of the seventh was nightmarish for the Lady Blue Devils as new pitcher Taylor Blevins walked two of the first three batters. Makaila Collier came up next and singled to load the bases again with only one out.

Kassidy Miller then came up for D-B and hit a single to right that was booted around and ended up plating three runs and Miller got to third.

Pendleton — normally a solid pitcher for the Lady Blue Devils — struggled in the circle, giving up six hits and five walks. The three runs she gave up were all earned and she wound up throwing 118 pitches.

“This game is always good when we’ve played them the last few years,” Hubbard said. “They’re well coached and it’s always back and forth. It’s always good to get a win.”

CAN’T FIND A GROOVE

The bats were also quite for Gate City (5-4) as the Lady Blue Devils mustered only four hits against Riffle while the Tribe got eight. None of Gate City’s hits were for extra bases and no one had a steal.

“We’re not going to win many games with four hits,” Gate City coach Cara Noe said. “I felt like the game was a lot closer than 6-0. … We’ve struggled with (Riffle) the last few years we’ve played them. I’m glad we got to see her because it’s going to prepare us for the competition we’re going to see in the Mountain 7. We didn’t make adjustments until later in the game and we need to do it earlier.”

UP NEXT

The Lady Blue Devils will host district opponent John Battle on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

The Lady Indians return to Indian Highland Park to take on Sullivan Central at 4:15 p.m. also on Friday.

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