The Thunder Mountain High School softball team stayed alive at the Region V softball tournament on Sitka’s Moller Field, Friday, defeating Ketchikan 5-3 and ending the Lady Kings’ season while the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. Crimson Bears stayed undefeated by delivering the Sitka Lady Wolves their first loss of the tournament 6-3.
“We survived our first elimination game,” TMHS coach Barb Strong enthused. “My pitchers did an amazing job, we tightened up our defense as the kids were making corrections really well and we were more patient at the plate.”
The Falcons put the first two runs of their game against Kayhi across in the bottom of the second inning as junior Ashlyn Gates reached on a ground ball, junior Kennedy Love was hit by a pitch, junior Jack Lovejoy singled to load the bases and freshman Cambry Lockhart hit a two-out ground ball that resulted in Gates and Love scoring on an error.
Ketchikan cut into the lead with a run in the top of the third as junior Rylie Welk singled in sophomore Corrin Johnson to trail 2-1.
TMHS got a run back in the bottom of the third as junior Bryanna Eakes was hit by a one-out pitch, stole second base, advanced to third on a ground ball out by Gates and scored on hit by junior Kara Strong that was mishandled in the infield for a 3-1 lead.
Ketchikan again cut into the deficit in the top of the fourth inning as sophomore Mylee Gray singled in junior Taylor Jackson to trail 3-2.
The Falcons punched back in the bottom half of the fourth inning as Lovejoy hit a lead off single, advanced on a hit by junior Aliza Mesdag and again on a ground ball out by freshman Alayna Echiverri, and scored after tagging up on a long fly ball to right field by junior Jenna Dobson for 4-2.
Ketchikan closed the gap with a run in the top of the fifth inning as sophomore Rylea Armstrong earned a two out walk and scored on a double to left field by sophomore Vienna Pahang.
In the bottom of the fifth Gates led off with a double and scored on a single by Strong for 5-3.
The Falcons defense held tight in the sixth and seventh innings. After giving up a single to start the sixth inning TMHS catcher Dobson threw out a bunt attempt for an out, Echiverri corralled a fly ball in center for the second out and Lovejoy took a line drive at the hot corner for the third out.
In the top of the seventh Lockhart fielded a pop up in the circle for an out. Two Kayhi batters reached base before Lovejoy handled a hard ground ball at third to get the second out at her base. Kayhi put another runner on to load the bags but Gates came on to close out the circle and struck out the final batter for the win.
“My heartbeat was ticking that’s for sure,” said coach Strong. “Ash (Gates) had a great game, got us some good RBI’s. Kara (Strong) got a good hit and got us an RBI or two, and yeah, our pitching… we started with Jack (Lovejoy) and our freshman Cambry (Lockhart) got a few innings and she just pitches a different kind of way and in the seventh when we got to that last batter I decided to bring Ash in to close us out and she did. That is exactly what we asked.”
Lovejoy led the Falcons with 3 hits, Echiverri, Dobson, Gates and Strong had one hit each; Gates scored two runs, Eakes, Love and Lovejoy one each.
Lovejoy started in the circle and went four inning, allowed five hits and two runs, walked five and struck out one. Lockhart relieved for 2.2 innings, allowed four hits and one run, walked two and struck out one. Gates closed with a strike out.
Kayhi’s Welk, Armstrong and Gray had two hits each; Welk, Pahang and Gray had one RBI each; Armstrong, Jackson and Johnson scored one run each. Junior Marley Lewis went all six innings, allowed seven hits and five runs and struck out one.
TMHS will play another elimination game at 10 a.m. Saturday against Sitka, a 6-3 loser to Juneau-Douglas.
JDHS 6, Sitka 3
Juneau-Douglas put up two runs in the bottom of the first inning of their game against Sitka as freshman Gwen Nizich hit a lead off single, senior Anna Dale doubled and senior Mariah Schauwecker grounded out to score Nizich. Dale would score on a dropped third strike to junior Mila Hargrave who sprinted to first to draw the throw.
JDHS added a run in the bottom of the second inning as senior Carlynn Casperson led off and turned a single into a double, advanced on an out and scored on a two out ground ball by Dale for 3-0.
Sitka tied the game in the top of the third.
JDHS regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as Dale singled in junior Chloe Casperson for 4-3 and the Crimson Bears added two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as Chloe Casperson reached on an error scoring Carlynn Casperson for 5-3 and Chloe Casperson scored on a wild pitch for 6-3.
Schauwecker closed the game out by getting Sitka to pop out in foul territory to first baseman Hargrave, fielded a ground ball herself and threw to Hargrave, and got the third batter to ground out to Nizich at third base who threw to Hargrave.
Dale, Schauwecker, Hargrave and Ch. Casperson had one RBI each; Dale and Ch. Casperson had two hits apiece, Nizich, Hargrave, Car. Casperson and senior Gloria Bixby had one hit each; Ch. Casperson and Car. Casperson scored two runs apiece, Nizich and Dale one apiece; Dale, Hargrave and Ch. Casperson earned one walk each.
Hargrave started in the circle, went four innings allowing one hit and three runs, walked two and struck out three. Schauwecker relieved for three innings with no hits, runs or walks and struck out one.
JDHS will play in the 12:30 p.m championship game Saturday against the winner of TMHS and Sitka. A 3 p.m. if necessary game can follow if JDHS is struck with their first loss.
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at Klas.Stolpe@gmail.com.