Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School softball team placed second in the Southeast Conference Region V tournament at Ketchikan and will represent the SEC along with Ketchikan at the state tournament in Fairbanks while the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé girls had their season end.
“We need to hit the ball,” TMHS coach Barb Strong said of the upcoming state championships. “We need to hit the ball.”
The Falcons had already clinched the second-seeded berth to the state tournament by virtue of winning the season conference standings. A Region V tournament title would have been an added bonus but the Falcons fell to Ketchikan in the championship game 7-3 on Friday, giving the Lady Kings the title and the SEC top berth to state.
“I’m really happy with how we ended the region tournament,” Strong said. “But we started a little slow. And Sitka just came out with guns blazing. I gave them every pitcher I had and all my pitchers were having a pretty good day but they hit everything we threw at them.”
The Falcons opened regions with a 10-2 loss to Sitka while the Crimson Bears opened with a 5-4 loss to Ketchikan.
Against Sitka, TMHS seniors Riley Harp and Sydney Strong had one run batted in apiece. Harp and seniors Tyler Johnson and Anne-Alese Rentrop and sophomores Jack Lovejoy, Jenna Dobson and Ashlyn Gates had one hit each. Dobson and Lovejoy scored one run apiece. Gates started in the circle and went 3.1 innings with three hits and one run allowed, struck out two and walked two and held a 2-0 lead. Senior Rileyanna Payne went 1.1 inning with four hits and four runs allowed and one strikeout. Harp allowed one hit and one run, struck out one and walked three. Lovejoy allowed three hits and four runs, struck out two and walked one.
Sitka’s Harlee Nelson led the Lady Wolves, going 2-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Dalila Callahan and Kayia Balovich worked the circle for the win.
Against Ketchikan, JDHS sophomores Tristan Oliva and Mila Hargrave and junior Zoey Billings had one RBI each. Oliva, Hargrave, juniors Anna Dale and Gloria Bixby and sophomores Kiah Yadao and Chloe Casperson had one hit each. Oliva, Dale, Chloe Casperson and freshman Milina Mazon scored one run each. Yadao started in the circle and went four innings with seven hits and three runs allowed. Hargrave went 2.1 innings with no damage and junior Amira Andrews went 1.2 innings with two hits and one run allowed.
Kayhi’s Hannah Moody and Mackenzie Pahang worked the circle in the win. Leading the Lady Kings were Marley Lewis with two RBI, Rylie Welk and Maggie Boehlert with two hits apiece, and Pahang with two runs scored..
This meant the two capital city teams played an elimination game and TMHS won 3-2.
JDHS scored the first run of the game in the top of the first as Billings singled in Oliva. TMHS tied the game in the bottom of the second inning when S. Strong scored on an error.
JDHS took the lead in the top of the third as Hargrave singled to center field scoring Dale. TMHS tied the game again in the bottom half as Johnson scored on an error. The Falcons put the final run across in the bottom of the fourth as Payne singled to center field, scoring Harp.
Payne had two hits and one RBI to lead the Falcons. Harp, S. Strong and Johnson had one hit each. Harp, S. Strong and Johnson scored one run each.
Lovejoy pitched the full seven innings with eight hits and two runs allowed, striking out two batters and walking one.
Yadao went four innings for JDHS with five hits and three runs allowed and struck out two. Hargrave relieved for two innings and struck out one.
Hargrave and Billings led JDHS with one RBI apiece. Dale had three hits, Oliva, Hargrave, Z. Billings, and freshmen Tatum Billings and Taiya Bentz one each. Oliva and Dale scored one run apiece.
TMHS then eliminated Sitka 12-5 behind Gates’ 2-4 day with two RBI and three runs scored. S. Strong had three hits. Payne, Johnson and Aliza Mesdag scored two runs each. Harp started and allowed three hits and one run, struck out one and walked one. Lovejoy went 4.2 innings with five hits and three runs and struck out three. Payne closed for two innings with one hit and two strikeouts.
Callahan had a home run for Sitka and two RBI. Chloe Morrison went 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Kaleena Tucker and Harlee Nelson had two hits apiece.
Callahan, with eight hits allowed and eight runs, and Balovich, with six hits allowed and four runs, shared the mound.
In the Falcons championship clash against Kayhi, they gave up three early runs in the bottom of the first inning and pulled to within a run in the top of the fourth as Gates hit a shot over the center field fence scoring freshman Brianna Eakes, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Kayhi got a run back in the bottom half of the fourth and TMHS again pulled within a run in the top of the fifth as Payne sacrificed in Dobson.
TMHS put just one runner on base in each of the final two innings. Gates led the Falcons with two RBI, S. Strong and Gates had two hits apiece, and Dobson, Gates and Eakes scored one run.
Payne started in the circle with three hits and three runs allowed. Lovejoy relieved for 5.1 innings with three hits and four runs allowed, striking out one and walking two.
Kayhi’s Pahang went the full seven innings with eight hits and three runs allowed, striking out five and walking one. Pahang led with two RBI and two hits. Tyler Jackson scored two runs.
Last season JDHS earned the top seed with the best season record and Kayhi won the region tournament, but the Crimson Bears took the state championship and the Lady Kings fell in the semifinals.
All-conference selections were TMHS’ Riley Harp, Rileyanna Payne, Anne-Alese Rentrop and Sydney Strong; JDHS’ Kiah Yadao, Anna Dale and Mariah Schauwecker; Kayhi’s Shaelyn Mendoza and Paige Boehlert; and Sitka’s Dalila Callahan.
The Falcons open the state tournament in pool play action with North Pole and Homer on Thursday. Kayhi opens with Kodiak and Delta Junction. After pool play, teams are put into the tournament bracket for Friday and Saturday.