Falcons Open State Softball with Wins

    The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons softball team is shown at the ASAA state softball championships on Fairbanks' South Davis Complex fields. (photo courtesy TMHS)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons softball team opened pool play in the ASAA State Softball Championships in Fairbanks on Thursday with a pair of run-rule shortened wins, defeating North Pole 10-2 and Homer 11-0, both in five innings.

      TMHS scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning against North Pole and were never threatened in the game. The Patriots scored their two runs in the top of the first inning.

      The Falcons scoring started with six straight walks earned by senior Jenna Dobson, senior Riley Harp, sophomore Ashlyn Gates, senior Sydney Strong, senior Rileyanna Payne and sophomore Kara Strong. In that walking spree Dobson scored on a wild pitch, Harp scored on a wild pitch and Gates scored on a passed ball in the rally and freshman pinch runner Brianna Eakes scored on a steal of home for a 4-2 tally. Senior Tyler Johnson hit a doubled that scored K. Strong, sophomore Jack Lovejoy walked and Johnson scored on a wild pitch for 6-2. Senior Anne-Alese Rentrop singled and Dobson came back to the plate and grounded out to score Lovejoy for 7-2. Harp and Gates reached base again and on a triple steal by the base runners Rentrop scored at home for 8-2.

      In the bottom of the third inning Dobson led off with a walk and Gates put a shot over the center field fence for a two-run homer.

      Gates went 2-2 with two runs batted in and two runs scored to lead the Falcons. Dobson and Johnson had one RBI apiece. Johnson had two hits and Rentrop one. Dobson scored two runs, Harp, K. Strong, Johnson, Lovejoy, Rentrop and freshman Bryanna Eakes one each. Dobson, Harp and S. Strong earned two walks each, Gates, Payne, K. strong, Johnson and Lovejoy one each.

      Harp pitched the entire five innings from the circle with three hits and two runs allowed and struck out eight batters and walked one. Harp gave up a first inning home run to North Pole junior Madison Kurdenberger.

      North Pole junior pitcher Lylah Murrah went four innings, allowed just five hits but walked 11 and struck out just one.

      Against Homer, Dobson continued her lead off specialties, reaching first base on a dropped third strike, stealing second and scoring on a ground ball out by Gates.

      The Falcons added three runs in the top of the third inning as K. Strong walked, junior Leah Hetle walked, Johnson singled and K. Strong scored on an error. Lovejoy doubled to score Hetle and Johnson for a 4-0 lead.

      The Falcons broke home plate in the top of the fifth inning as Harp singled, Gates walked and S. strong tripled them both home for a 6-0 lead. K. Strong walked, Hetle grounded out scoring sophomore pinch runner Aliza Mesdag for 7-0 and Johnson singled in K. Strong for 8-0. Rentrop hit a two out single, Dobson singled to score Johnson for 9-0 and Rentrop scored on a steal at home for 10-0.

      Harp walked, Gates singled and S. Strong singled to score Dobson for 11-0.

      Homer would get one run in the bottom half as senior Kaylin Anderson doubled to score sophomore Julie Guess.

      Gates pitched the full five innings with just four hits and the one run allowed, striking out seven batters and walking four.

      S. Strong was 3-4 with three RBI. Johnson was 3-3 with 1 RBI and two runs scored. Dobson 3-4 with one RBI and two runs scored. Lovejoy had two RBI, Gates and Hetle one apiece. Rentrop had two hits, Harp, Gates, K. Strong and Lovejoy one each. K. Strong scored two runs, Harp, Gates, Hele, Rentrop and Mesdag one each. K. Strong had two walks, Harp, Gates and Hetle one each.

      Homer senior Zoe Adkins took the loss with 15 hits and 11 runs allowed, striking out two and walking five.

      The wins put the Falcons into double-elimination tournament bracket play with a first round bye. They will play at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

      In the opposite pool bracket play on Thursday, Ketchikan defeated Kodiak 10-4, Delta Junction defeated Kodiak 3-1 and Delta Junction topped Ketchikan 12-11. Delta Junction receives a first round bye and plays at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

      All six teams play in the double elimination tournament which finishes on Saturday.

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