It is not always how hard the ball is hit, but where exactly the ball lands that can change the way a ballgame ends up.
That was definitely the case when Thunder Mountain’s Peyton Harp blooped a double into shallow left field, scoring the eventually winning run in what turned out to be a 6-3 victory over Juneau-Douglas High School in softball action at Melvin Park Thursday.
“I had been struggling and I was just trying to make contact,” Harp said. “If it got into the outfield that would be awesome.”
Heading into the inning, TMHS (9-5) trailed 3-2. The rally started when Marissa Tanuvasa Tuvaifale ripped a double into right-center field. Nina Fenumiai followed with a game-tying RBI-single. An error placed two runners on base before Harp’s heroics. Harp later scored stealing home. Fenumiai and Tanuvasa Tuvaifale each collected two hits apiece.
“We really needed that hit at that time,” TMHS coach John Boucher said.
After the rally, it was up to Fenumiai to keep the Crimson Bears off the board — and she did so with relative ease.
She started her performance off allowing a first-inning homer to Leah Spargo, but it did not shake her. She went on to throw a complete game, allowing only three runs on five hits and four walks, while striking out five. Some shaky defense contributed to two runs that JDHS scored against her in the third, but from the fourth on, she cruised and only allowed two more base runners.
“It is about mental toughness,” Fenumiai said. “I was just trying to throw the ball down the middle. I was just trying get it across the plate and get those outs.
Boucher said the win was a total team effort and that Fenumiai’s toughness and leadership helped guide them to the victory.
“Nina was just really tough,” Boucher said. “She gave up the first-inning homer which seemed to get her a little bit, but she was able to bounce right back. She was just a lioness out there. She is just really tough.”
JDHS (2-8) was able to take the lead in the third inning when Abby Meiners knocked in Amanda Vanslyke and Asiana Mazon. Meiners went 2-for-3.
In the circle for the Lady Crimson Bears, Spargo allowed 10 hits and six runs over seven innings, striking out three and walking one.
Despite the tough loss, JDHS coach Lexie Razor said her team did everything they could and will be ready for the next game.
“(Thunder Mountain) really hit the ball well,” Razor said. ”The girls never gave up and kept fighting. That is all that counts. We just need to keep continuing to battle and play our game. We need to keep working hard and being positive.”
The two teams meet up again at 5 p.m. Friday night at Melvin Field.
• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at email@example.com or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.