It took the Thunder Mountain High School softball team just four innings to secure their first home conference win of the season.
Playing against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Thursday night at Melvin Park, the Falcons mercy-ruled their crosstown counterparts, rolling to a 14-0 victory.
“I thought we hit the ball well tonight,” TMHS coach John Boucher said. “We’ve been intermittently hitting well, but not solid.”
The Falcons scored six runs in the second inning, converting a string of hard-hit ground balls into base hits and runs. Rileyanna Payne’s single was one of the few hits that made it out of the infield. The freshman sliced the ball down the right-field line to score two runs. Eleven batters made plate appearances in the inning, and all but three made it on base.
Thunder Mountain scored five runs in the next inning to all but seal the win.
Boucher said his team was focused on playing strong defense. The coach noticed in the four games the Falcons have dropped this season, their opponents would have big innings that would later prove costly. The Falcons’ losses last weekend to Sitka were by two runs each.
“Ketchikan and Sitka are real tough; JD just had a tough night tonight,” Boucher said.
Nina Fenumiai made the start at pitcher for Thunder Mountain, recording just over 40 pitches on the night compared to the roughly 100 combined tosses made between Amanda VanSlyke and Sophia Schauwecker.
JDHS made an early pitching change after the Falcons scored two runs with two outs in the first inning. Schauwecker came in and secured the final out of the frame, earning a strike out to strand three runners. VanSlyke took up the pitching duties again in the middle of the third inning with her team trailing by double digits.
The Falcons were playing shorthanded on Thursday following a rash of injuries that hit them the prior weekend in Sitka. Freshman Riley Harp suffered a bone bruise after being struck by a line drive, and classmate Aspen Kasper collided with a teammate and is currently undergoing concussion protocol.
JDHS drops to 0-5 in Southeast Conference play, while TMHS moved up to 2-3. The game marked the home openers for both teams.
The two sides play again on Friday night at 4 and 7 p.m. for the annual “Pink Out” games that raises money for Juneau’s Cancer Connection. The first game will be junior varsity action and second will be varsity action.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.