Thunder Mountain High School freshman Mariah Tanuvasa Tuvaifale rounds third base after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Homer Mariners in the ASAA Division II state softball tournament on Friday at South Davis Park in Fairbanks. TMHS won 18-0. (Courtesy Photo | Sharla Hayes)

Thunder Mountain High School freshman Mariah Tanuvasa Tuvaifale rounds third base after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Homer Mariners in the ASAA Division II state softball tournament on Friday at South Davis Park in Fairbanks. TMHS won 18-0. (Courtesy Photo | Sharla Hayes)

Falcons extinguish Mariners, remain unbeaten at state tournament

Four teams — including Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan High School — remain in contention for the ASAA Division II softball state championship after six games on Friday.

Friday’s action at South Davis Park in Fairbanks saw Kodiak and Homer eliminated from the tournament, leaving the two Southeast schools, plus North Pole and Delta Junction, still in contention for the state championship.

In their only game of the day, the Falcons blew out the Homer Mariners 18-0. The win advances TMHS to the semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday against Ketchikan.

It was the third consecutive win of the tournament for TMHS, which took down Kodiak 8-0 and North Pole 13-5 in Thursday’s pool play action.

TMHS scored nine runs in the first inning alone against the Mariners. The senior trio of Rachel Macaulay, Maxie Saceda-Hurt and Peyton Harp and junior trio of Marissa Tanuvasa Tuvaifale, Nina Fenumiai and Kyra Jenkins Hayes were brilliant. The six hitters went a combined 17-20 at the plate.

“We were just in the zone today and unfortunately for Homer, they took the brunt of that, and especially when it’s combined with as strong as pitching as Nina provided,” TMHS coach John Boucher said. “She only gave up two hits so it was just a lopsided game.”

It was Fenumiai’s second consecutive start at pitcher for the Falcons. In five innings against North Pole, Fenumiai allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out five and walking three.

She had six strikeouts against the Mariners, who were eliminated from the tournament later in the day by Delta Junction.

TMHS added two runs in the second inning, three in the third and four in the fourth. The game was called after four innings due to the 12-run mercy rule.

Freshmen Hannah Hatfield and Grace Godfrey secured the only hits for the Mariners.

Ketchikan defeated North Pole 13-9 to get to the semifinals. Fenumiai said she knew the team would run up against Ketchikan eventually.

“We kind of knew that we were going to play Ketchikan from the beginning (of the tournament) just by seeing all the teams in their bracket and seeing how Ketchikan was playing against them,” she said. “So we were actually pretty pumped because it’s just another game for us, like another conference game.”

Even though a loss on Saturday morning wouldn’t eliminate the Falcons, Boucher said it’s still an important game.

“If you go into the losers bracket, to win the championship you have to win three in a row,” he said.

Ketchikan is the only Alaska team to have beaten TMHS this season. The Lady Kings defeated the Falcons 11-4 in a conference game a month ago. The Falcons are 20-4 overall this year.

Saturday games

10 a.m.: TMHS vs. Ketchikan; North Pole vs. Delta Junction

12:30 p.m.: Losers’ semifinal

3 p.m.: State championship game


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


Thunder Mountain High School junior Nina Fenumiai pitches against Homer High School during the ASAA Division II state softball tournament at South Davis Park in Fairbanks on Friday. (Courtesy Photo | Sharla Hayes)

Thunder Mountain High School junior Nina Fenumiai pitches against Homer High School during the ASAA Division II state softball tournament at South Davis Park in Fairbanks on Friday. (Courtesy Photo | Sharla Hayes)

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