The Ketchikan High School Lady Kings are Region V champions.
Kayhi beat Juneau-Douglas High School 13-9 for the regional title on Saturday in Juneau, and will fly to Anchorage on Wednesday for the ASAA Division II state softball tournament, set to begin on Thursday.
Last crowned Region V champions in 2019, the Lady Kings lost their entire 2020 softball season, as did every other spring sport across the state, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the 2021 roster lost a portion of its season because of the community risk level for COVID-19.
But the Lady Kings weren’t denied an opportunity to defend that 2019 title.
Both Juneau-Douglas and Kayhi will represent Southeast during the state tournament, as the region receives two state berths. Kayhi receives the Region V top seed.
The Lady Kings will open the tournament with a pair of pool-play games on Thursday, beginning with a matchup against Delta Junction High School at 10 a.m.
Kayhi and Kodiak High School will meet on the softball field at 2:45 p.m.
Region V’s fifth inning
The fifth inning of the Region V championship game lasted nearly 45 minutes, and between the two teams, 20 batters stepped in the batter’s box.
The Lady Kings sent 11 to the plate in the top half of the inning.
Kayhi led 6-2 when Dyllan Borer led off with a single to right field. Kenzie Pahang did the same, putting runners at first and second, and Gabby Mas worked a walk, loading the bases.
Juneau-Douglas changed pitchers, and after the new hurler retired her first batter, Kelleigh Nickich slapped a groundball into the outfield for a double. Both Borer and Pahang scored, giving Kayhi an 8-2 lead.
The Lady Kings’ Paige Boehlert, Rylie Welk and Shaelyn Mendoza kept the lineup moving, as each ripped base hits to the outfield.
Before the half-inning was over, the Lady Kings had a 10-run lead over the Lady Crimson Bears, 12-2.
But Juneau-Douglas began chipping away in the bottom half of the frame, sending nine to the plate, cutting the deficit to 12-5.
Juneau-Douglas sent seven more batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, inching closer, 12-8.
Kayhi pushed across an important insurance run in the top half of the seventh inning. Boehlert scored, while Juneau-Douglas never allowed a hit.
After a leadoff walk, Boehlert moved to second base on a groundout to the second baseman. She then stole third base, and rushed home on a pitch to the backstop.
Kayhi’s 13-8 lead didn’t last for long, as Juneau-Douglas scored once more in the bottom of the seventh. But the 13-9 score stood, and the Lady Kings were crowned Region V champions.
Several Lady Kings received awards following the Region V championship. Here is that list: