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By JOE JUDD
Daily News Sports Editor
KETCHIKAN — The Ketchikan 8-10 year-old select softball team took down Sitka's select team by a final score of 5-3 on Friday evening at Dudley Field.
With the win, Ketchikan's team wins the 2017 Alaska District 2 select 8-10 year-old Select Special Games Softball Tournament and will soon travel to Anchorage to compete in the state tournament for a chance at winning a state title.
Ketchikan head coach Sonny Sonnenschein said he was pleased with the way his team played in both the championship game and in the tournament as a whole.
“The girls had a bad showing against Juneau and bounced back from it; they didn't like what they saw,” Sonnenschein said after the game. “They came back at it and played awesome today and yesterday.”
A day after taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Willow Vierra-Sonnenschein got the ball on Friday and stayed in the circle for the entire game, striking out 10 Sitka batters and earning the win in the pitcher's circle.
Vierra-Sonnenschein also fielded her position well and contributed with a put out defensively.
On the receiving end of these 10 strikeouts was Vienna Pahang, who was Ketchikan's starting catcher in the semi-final and championship game. Ketchikan scored a pair of runs in the top of the second inning after benefiting from two walks issued by Sitka.
Sitka scored two runs in response to Ketchikan's runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, but could not close the gap any more in its final plate apparence of the contest.
Ketchikan shortstop Shyla Abajian helped to turn a double play, while third baseman Mylee Grey also recorded a defensive out in the win.
Sonnenschein said Ketchikan displayed excellent defense, pitched well and ran the bases aggressively throughout the tournament.
Sonnenschein commended the way his team was able to improve from the point where the all-star roster was announced, all the way through the conclusion of the tournament.
“It's the best. It's a lot of work and a lot of stress, but it's worth it,” Sonnenschein said. “(The players) learn so much from the beginning of the all-star (season) to the end. It's night-and-day how much they improve. It's pretty amazing.”