Thunder Mountain High School freshman Sydney Strong runs past coach John Boucher and toward her teammates assembled at home plate after hitting a home run in the first inning of a Southeast Conference softball game at Melvin Park on Friday, May 3, 2019. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School freshman Sydney Strong runs past coach John Boucher and toward her teammates assembled at home plate after hitting a home run in the first inning of a Southeast Conference softball game at Melvin Park on Friday, May 3, 2019. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain softball surges past JDHS

Strong and Fenumiai notch home runs

When the Thunder Mountain softball team’s lineup gets on a roll, watch out.

For the second night in a row, the Falcons hammered the ball all over the field to defeat Juneau-Douglas: Yadaa.at Kalé 14-0 in four innings. In Alaska high school softball, a game concludes via mercy rule anytime one team falls behind by 12 or more runs after the fourth frame.

“It was nice to get out to those big, early leads, it kind of relaxes the kids,” TMHS coach John Boucher said.

Freshman Sydney Strong was one of seven Falcons with hits in the win, and one of two with a home run. Moments after senior Nina Fenumiai made it 2-0 with her long ball in the first inning, Strong delivered a solo shot that soared past the field’s new scoreboard in left field. The Thunder Mountain dugout cleared for both hits in order to welcome the heroes as they reached home plate.

“The positive energy (of) one person hitting the ball definitely transfers through other people,” Strong said. “One person gets a hit, the next person gets a hit. I feel like it really is contagious.”

After scoring five runs in the first, Thunder Mountain added two more in the second. JDHS left fielder Chloe Goble abruptly ended the inning with a strong defensive play. Strong lined the ball to shallow left field with what looked like a base hit. Goble had other ideas though, and made a leaping catch before picking off Fenumiai at second base for a double play.

JDHS never generated a similar momentum-building play on offense, however. TMHS senior Kyra Jenkins Hayes was the chief reason why. Jenkins Hayes struck out three and allowed just one hit.

“We weren’t hitting our spots very well in Sitka and Ketchikan,” Boucher said. “I think we did better this weekend, and so that certainly helps. We’re working on hitting our spots and changing speeds.”

Fenumiai and Strong scored for a second time in the third inning, along with Jenkins Hayes, Rileyanna Payne, Morgan Poole and Marissa and Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale.

JDHS senior Skylar Hickok said the team’s tight-knit nature helps it get through tough games like Friday’s.

“We love each other and we play for each other,” she said. “We knew we’re not the best, but everyday we try and get better. Sometimes we make little jumps, sometimes we make big jumps, but we just play for each other and get through it.”

The two sides wore pink uniforms to show their support for Cancer Connection. Proceeds from a bake sale and gift basket auction held during the game will be donated to the nonprofit that provides assistance to people living with cancer and their families.

JDHS and TMHS varsity play again on Monday at 7 p.m. at Melvin Park.


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


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