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By SPENCER GLEASON
Daily News Sports Editor
The Ketchikan High School Lady Kings have found their stroke.
Not that it was missing before, as Kayhi averaged 10.3 runs per game entering the ASAA state tournament on Thursday.
But against statewide competition — and with the season on the line — there is no better time to kick it into another gear.
And the Lady Kings have done just that.
Kayhi entered the state tournament as the top-seeded team from Southeast Alaska, and they showed why, beating Homer High School 11-7 and Hutchison High School 23-2 on Thursday during pool play matchups at Cartee Fields in Anchorage.
The Lady Kings will hope to continue that momentum the rest of the way, as they hold the top spot for Pool A competition on Friday.
Kayhi will play either Homer or Hutchison once more at 2:45 p.m. on Friday.
Those two teams play each other at 10 a.m.
Friday afternoon’s matchup will determine the next time the Lady Kings take the field.
A loss would drop Kayhi to the consolation bracket for a 5 p.m. game on Friday. A win would send the Lady Kings to the state semifinal game set for 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The Lady Kings scored their 11 runs against Homer on seven hits — although none of those hits was a homer.
Four of them did go for extra bases, however. Dyllan Borer ripped a pair of doubles, and both Erika Rauwolf and Jhaelah Schultz hit doubles.
Homer hit a homer — a three-run shot in the top of the third inning.
That smack inched the Lady Mariners closer, cutting the score to 6-4. And Homer would tack on three more in its share of the fourth inning, to take a brief 7-6 lead.
But Kayhi rallied back, plating four in the bottom half to reclaim a 10-7 lead.
A leadoff single off the bat of Kiara Hodges started a string of five consecutive Lady Kings reaching base in the fourth inning.
And Kayhi tacked on one more in the bottom of the fifth to equal 11.
Homer had won six in a row entering the tournament, and was 20-9 according to MaxPreps.com, but the Lady Kings put a stop to that streak.
Kayhi’s offense carried over against Hutchison, as they plated nearly two dozen runs on 15 hits.
But it was gifted 14 walks from Hutchison pitching.
The Lady Kings scored seven runs in the first inning, and 16 more in the second frame to climb their way to their sixth straight win.
Rauwolf recorded six RBIs, and was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.
Schultz, Breanna Gentry and Lianne Guevarra also knocked in three RBIs apiece.
Around the pitcher’s circle
The Lady Kings will be without senior pitcher Kayloni Bermudez during the state tournament. She sustained a knee injury following the Region V championship game against Thunder Mountain High School on May 25, and is unable to take the field with her teammates in Anchorage.
Kayhi’s Hannah Moody and Guevarra split time in the pitcher’s circle for Game 1 against Homer. They combined for eight strike outs in the 11-7 victory.
Guevarra and Maddalynn Vierra shared time in the pitcher’s circle against Hutchison. The game was called after three innings due to the run differential.
Tournament Notes: The Southeast No. 2 seed Sitka High School Lady Wolves won their two pool play games on Thursday, beating Delta Junction High School 12-7 and Kodiak High School 12-4.
Around the rest of state tournament, Kodiak beat Delta Junction 6-3. And Homer beat Hutchison 24-1.
Beat the streak
The Lady Kings have won six in a row, but that’s not the only string of successes that Kayhi has accomplished lately.
Hodges is in the midst of a eight-game hitting streak, and is 11-for-25 during that stretch, which good enough for a .440 batting average since May 17.
Likewise, Borer has hit safely in her last six games, going 10-for-16. The sophomore slugger is hitting .625 since May 18. Borer also has reached base safely in her last 13 games.
Since receiving regular playing time with the varsity squad, Kayhi freshman Shaelyn Mendoza also has reached base safely in her last 13 games, which currently includes a four-game hitting streak.
And Schultz has reached base safely in 23 consecutive games, which also includes a current four-game hitting streak. Kayhi’s catcher is 8-for-15, hitting .533, since May 24.