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Lady Kings rally to bring home second place
Dyllan Borer is greeted by her Kayhi teammates at home plate after hitting a home run against Sitka High School on Saturday afternoon at Cartee Fields in Anchorage. Ketchikan defeated Sitka 22-9 to force a second game to determine the Division II Alaska state softball champions. Photo by Bob Hallinen

Daily News Sports Editor

Regardless of how Saturday was going to turn out for the Ketchikan High School Lady Kings, they knew one thing.

The day was their last as a softball team.

So the Lady Kings made the most of it, and spent as much time together at Cartee Fields in Anchorage as possible.

After falling to the consolation bracket of the ASAA Division II state tournament on Friday, Kayhi would need to climb back and win four games in one day to bring home a state championship.

And the Lady Kings nearly did just that.

Nearly 12 hours after they arrived to the ball field, the Lady Kings were still playing, and trying to claim their first state title since 2009.

But Kayhi fell one win short. The Lady Kings finished as the state runner-up to the Sitka High School Lady Wolves, losing 11-3.

“The fact that we made it to the fourth game is huge,” Kayhi coach Kathleen Reno said. “The girls were up for it. They played their hearts out.”

Kayhi had a long road to get to the winner-take-all matchup in the double-elimination tournament. But it never deterred once.

After all, a battle-tested Lady Kings’ roster knows how to get business take care of.

Despite playing all season without last year’s postseason hero Payton Simmons, who tore her ACL during basketball season, the Lady Kings won the Region V championship, knocking off last year’s state champion Thunder Mountain High School.

And although Kayhi was without senior pitcher Kayloni Bermudez during the state tournament, who suffered a knee injury after the region tournament, the Lady Kings would put themselves on the verge of history.

The Lady Kings played two elimination games against Homer and Kodiak high schools, beating them 9-1 and 14-8, respectively.

And that set up an all Southeast Alaska state championship against Sitka, in which the Lady Kings exploded for 22 runs, winning 22-9.

Up and down the lineup, everyone contributed. The Lady Kings scored their 22 runs on 22 hits — seven of those went for extra bases. And none were louder than Dyllan Borer’s blast.

Borer cranked her second home run of the state tournament to lead off the top of the third inning.

At the time, the score inched Kayhi closer to Sikta, 8-5. The Lady Kings finished the frame with a 10-8 lead, and they wouldn’t look back.

But because it was Sitka’s first loss of the double-elimination tournament, the two teams had to play one more to determine the state champion.

“We tried to carry (the momentum) over from the first game,” Reno said. “(But) in the first game, we were patient at the plate, and let the game come to us. We (rushed things) in the second game.”

It was the second straight season Kayhi finished the year as state runner-up.

The last time a team came back to win four games in one day to claim a state title was 2007 when the Lady Kings did it Reno’s freshman year at Kayhi.

“You almost wish there was an extra day,” she said. “It’s difficult to play four games in a row.”

Especially for Kayhi catcher Jhaelah Schultz. She caught every inning of every game.

But everyone on Kayhi’s roster played. It was an ‘all hands on deck’ sort of day.

“Every player got playing time,” Reno said. “(That) was awesome.”

And that helped lead the Lady Kings to a second place finish.

“Second place is really big,” Reno said. “It’s something to be proud of.”