KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Kayhi Lady Kings softball team opened its home season with a 9-3 drubbing of the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears on Thursday evening at Dudley Field.
The Lady Kings' team effort realized 15 hits compared to the Bears' five, although it was Juneau-Douglas that lit up the scoreboard initially.
The two teams had identical second and third quarters before Kayhi edged ahead by a run in the fourth and extended its lead by another run in the fifth.
But it was the sixth inning that decided the game in favor of the Lady Kings, who came out swinging and racked up four runs.
Juneau-Douglas' Mila Hargrave, who had singled on a fly ball to right field, advanced around the bases in the top of the second inning to score the game's first run.
Then Ketchikan's Hannah Moody responded in the bottom of the inning with a home run into right field to even the score 1-1.
Ketchikan returned to the field and Juneau once again picked up its bats. Tristan Oliva walked to first and Milina Mazon did the same. When Hargrave came to bat once again with Oliva on third and Mazon on second, she sent the ball down the line and reached first base on an error as both Oliva and Mazon scored, 3-1.
Marley Lewis led off the Lady Kings’ half of the second inning with a ground-ball single. Paige Boehlert bunted, advancing Lewis to second. With the two runners on base, Rylie Welk singled to score Lewis and advance Boehlert to third. Then Shaelyn Mendoza grounded out, but not before Boehlert scored to end the third inning, 3-3.
While Juneau went cold for the remainder of the game, Ketchikan did anything but, scoring one run in each of the fourth and fifth innings, and then finishing off with a magnificent four-run sixth inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Mackenzie Pahang, with two strikes staring at her, knocked a triple into right field. Gabby Mass followed with a hard ground ball to center that scored Pahang and put Kayhi ahead, 4-3.
When Kayhi picked up the bats in the fifth, once again the Lady Kings took to the bases. Taylor Jackson hit a ground ball to center field for a double, while Faith Easterly followed Jackson's example, scoring Jackson. The inning ended in Kayhi's favor, 5-3.
But Kayhi wasn't done yet, it came back in the bottom of the sixth inning for four more runs.
Mas singled on a ground ball to second, and Lewis doubled on a fly to center field to score Mas, 6-3.
Paige Boehlert followed with a ground-ball single to advance Lewis to third, but Lewis became an out because of offensive interference.
Welk then singled on a ground ball to second to advance Boehlert to third, and she later scored (7-3) on an error by the third baseman as Welk advanced to second.
Meanwhile, Mendoza singled on a fly ball to center, moving Welk to third base.
Jackson grounded out, but Welk scored on the play (8-3) and Mendoza advanced to third.
Easterly doubled with a line drive to right field to score Mendoza, (9-3), and then she advanced to third on a Moody single to the shortstop.
Easterly got caught trying to steal home to retire the Lady Kings.
Juneau-Douglas quickly popped out, flew out and lined out in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Kayhi had nine runs on 15 hits and two errors. While Juneau's three runs came off five hits. The Bears had only one error.
Moody went the distance on the mound for Kayhi, striking out five Crimson Bears, allowing no earned runs and only five bases on balls.
Kiah Yadao pitched four innings for the Bears, allowing six hits on four runs and tallying five strike outs and one base on balls. Mariah Schauwecker pitched two innings, permitting nine hits and five runs, all of which were earned. She also had the Bears' only RBI.
Kayhi's Easterly batted in two runners, while teammates Welk, Mendoza, Jackson, Moody, Mas and Lewis each had one RBI.
The Ketchikan Lady Kings and the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears will meet for a rematch Friday at Dudley Field, beginning with JV play at 1:30 p.m. and varsity at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.