KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Ketchikan High School senior MacKenzie Pahang finished Friday's game against the Sitka Lady Wolves with nine strikeouts — three in the top of the seventh inning to close out the night.
Pahang relieved Marley Lewis on the mound in the fourth inning, and, with Kayhi's strong defense and an offense that crossed home plate in four out of six innings, ended the evening and completed play on the Lower Dudley Field with an 8-3 victory.
Sitka will get a rematch against the Lady Kings on the newly minted Upper Dudley Field on Saturday.
It will be like moving from standby to First Class with green turf, two bullpens, field lighting, covered seating and a middle field "K" signifying the home field of the Kayhi softball team.
But the Lady Kings didn't let anticipation to play there affect their game Friday night.
While neither team crossed home plate in the opening inning, the bats began to connect in the top of the second.
After Sitka went down on fielded hits, Ketchikan's Rylea Armstrong walked and then scored when Taylor Jackson sent the ball high into right field.
Mylee Gray followed suit into right field, scoring Jackson, and then crossed home plate herself when Kari Klinger sent a hard line drive to right field.
Sitka answered in the top of the third, scoring three runners. Kayhi connected in the bottom of the third, but the Lady Wolves fielded well to make the home team's half of the inning brief. The inning ended with the game tied, 3-3.
Then, with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Ketchikan took advantage of a fielding error, putting Vienna Pahang on base. Pahang scored when Rylie Welk drove the ball up the middle of the field and then scored when the ball came off Lewis' bat and struck the pitcher. The inning ended in Kayhi's favor, 5-3.
The Lady Wolves went down swinging in the top of the fifth, a testament to MacKenzie Pahang's successful night on the mound.
Armstrong led off the Lady Kings half of the fifth inning with a shot to the centerfield fence that allowed her to take second base. Jackson walked and both she and Armstrong advanced on pitches that went askew behind the plate while Gray was in the batter's box. Then Gray hit a double, scoring Armstrong and Jackson. But Gray got called out when caught off base. The inning ended with Kayhi in the lead, 7-3.
The final scoring occurred in the bottom of the sixth when Welk reached base on a hit to the pitcher that bounced off the tip of her mitt. Welk advanced to second and then third after pitches struck the fence behind the catcher. Lewis drove Welk in with a pop up to second.
Lewis pitched three innings for Kayhi, allowing no walks and seven hits. She struck out one batter.
MacKenzie Pahang pitched four innings, allowing three hits and two walks. She struck out nine batters.
"MacKenzie came in and did a great job," Coach Kalea Allen told the Daily News. "She's really solid.
"Overall, it was one of our best defensive games," Allen said. "We had only one error, which was great to see, and we scored well."
Gray had two hits and three runs batted in; Armstrong went two for three at bats, and Welk went two for four with an RBI.
Ketchikan and Sitka meet again in two varsity games Saturday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., with seniors Abi Davis, Faith Easterly and Mackenzie Pahang being recognized at 3:30 p.m. A ribbon-cutting for the Upper Dudley Field will be held just before the Senior recognition event.
The junior varsity squads are scheduled to play at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Allen expects Kayhi will adjust "just fine" to its new turf field.
"We're used to adapting," she added, noting that the team has played on dirt and turf both regionally and statewide.