After a month away from the softball field, due to the community’s risk level for the novel coronavirus, the Ketchikan High School Lady Kings are now one win away from a Region V title.
The Lady Kings came from behind to defeat the Juneau-Douglas High School Lady Crimson Bears 6-4 in the Region V semifinal on Friday in Juneau, advancing to the Region V championship.
The Lady Kings will have a rematch against Juneau-Douglas Saturday morning for the region title, as a result of the Lady Crimson Bears defeating the Thunder Mountain High School Lady Falcons 16-0 in three innings in the tournament’s consolation bracket Friday evening.
First pitch for the Region V championship is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.
Kayhi’s Hannah Moody tossed all seven innings, for a complete game victory, striking out five Juneau-Douglas batters.
A day after throwing 4-2/3 innings against Thunder Mountain High School, in the regional tournament’s first-round game on Thursday — a game Kayhi won 6-5 over the Lady Falcons — Moody spread out 10 Lady Crimson Bears’ hits across her seven innings of work on Friday, and she didn’t allow a Lady Crimson Bear to cross home plate after the second inning.
Juneau-Douglas came close, however, threatening to score in the top of the seventh inning.
The Lady Crimson Bears had the bases loaded with two outs in their share of the final inning. Juneau-Douglas’ Kaia Smith ripped a two-out single, and after a double put runners at second and third, Kiah Yadao walked, to load them up.
Juneau-Douglas’ Mackenzie Jackson ripped a line drive to right-center field, but the hard shot was snagged by Kayhi center fielder Nyah Edenshaw for the game’s final out.
Juneau-Douglas plated three runs in its share of the first inning, and tacked on one more in the second inning, but Moody settled into a rhythm in the pitcher’s circle after the second frame, tossing 17 first-pitch strikes.
In fact, that rhythm went beyond the pitcher’s circle, as Moody also was 3-for-3 at the plate. She led the Lady Kings with her three base hits, and helped start a rally in the bottom of the second inning.
Down 4-0, Moody ripped a one-out single into right field.
Marley Lewis, who was Moody’s courtesy runner, came around to score on a single by Maggie Boehlert. Kayhi’s Kenzie Pahang also scored in the frame, after Lyla Seludo ripped a double into left field.
That 4-2 score remained after Moody sat down Juneau-Douglas in the top half of the third inning, and the Lady Kings’ offense picked up where it had left off in the bottom half.
Pahang ripped a one-out, two-run triple into the gap, scoring both Dyllan Borer and Lewis — who was running for Moody, again — tying the game 4-4.
Kayhi’s Gabby Mas followed Pahang’s extra-base hit with one of her own. Mas hit a double, which easily scored Pahang from third base, giving the Lady Kings a 5-4 lead.
In two innings, the Lady Kings sent 15 batters to the plate, while claiming a one-run lead, and flipping the momentum of the Region V semifinal in their favor.
Juneau-Douglas went down quietly in the top of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Lady Kings tacked on an important sixth run for insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Lady Kings’ left-handed hitting first baseman Rylie Welk ripped a one-out triple into right-center field, and came around to score on a single by Shaelyn Mendoza. Mendoza’s hit into left field, easily plated Welk, giving Kayhi its 6-4 lead.
The top of the seventh started smoothly for Kayhi, as Moody sat down Juneau-Douglas’ first two batters, before Smith started the two-out rally for Juneau-Douglas.
Lucky for Moody, her defense had her back.
Notes: If the Lady Kings drop the late-morning ballgame on Saturday, Kayhi will have one more chance at a Region V title, with a second championship game scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, if it’s necessary.
The Region V tournament is double-elimination, and if Kayhi loses the 11 a.m. game against Juneau-Douglas, it would only be the Lady Kings’ first loss of the tournament.
That said, if Kayhi wins the 11 a.m. ballgame against Juneau-Douglas, the Lady Kings will be Region V champions.
The Lady Kings’ Region V championship game will be livestreamed on the Thurnder Mountain Falcons’ Facebook — www.facebook.com/tmhsfalcons.