Friday’s nonconference softball game at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park between host Kenai Central and Colony would have been a great warm-up for the season, if it weren’t so cold out.
The Knights, a Division I school playing just their second full game of the season, handed the Kardinals, a Division II school making their season debut, a 22-2 loss in four innings. A light pregame rain gave away to a rainbow, then to a dry sky with a brisk, cold wind that wore down fans and players alike as the contest progressed.
“This team is coming together,” said Colony head coach Tamara Finley, whose team then traveled to Soldotna for a 13-2 nonconference victory over the hosts. “They’re keeping the energy up and the camaraderie up. They’re encouraging each other and holding each other accountable.”
The Knights were sharp offensively and defensively throughout.
On offense, Colony banged out 12 hits but also had the patience to collect nine walks and three hit batters against Kenai starter Kaylee Lauritsen.
“We try to teach the girls discipline and to know where the strike zone is,” Finley said.
Kenai head coach John Manley said Lauritsen was pitching in just her second varsity game. Manley said he expected some rough patches and Lauritsen did better than expected.
“It was a good game and she’s going to get better,” Manley said.
The coach also was mostly pleased with his infield. Both shortstop Zaharah Wilshusen and second baseman Nani Rapoza made several nice plays. Third baseman Abby Every also had a solid stop, while first baseman Lexi Reis made sure catches at first.
For Colony on offense, Hailey Welcome was 2 for 2 with four runs and four RBIs, Alyssa Oswald had three runs, two hits and two RBIs, Bryanna Scarratt and Danyel Finley each had four runs, Brookelyne Helms had two RBIs, Haile Willeford had two runs and Josie Rockefeller had three runs.
Oswald also was in command for the Knights on the mound, giving up just the two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out seven. Finley said Oswald normally needs a reliever, but Friday was the first time she was able to finish off a game.
Catcher Maddi Kennedy was sure-handed, as the Kardinals took just three extra bases — two on passed balls and one on a wild pitch.
“We did not hit as well as we hoped,” Manley said. “That’s something we’ll be working on.”
Lauritsen led the way at the plate by going 2 for 2 with two RBIs. Rapoza was 1 for 2 with a run, while Lakshas and Reis had hits, and Kaidence Harvey scored Kenai’s other run.
Colony 13, Soldotna 2
The Knights toppled the Stars in Soldotna’s home opener. The game was shortened to five innings due to the run rule.
SoHi coach Kelli Knoebel said her team has only been on the field for three days, so she was pleased her squad was able to hang with the Knights for a while. Colony led 5-2 after three innings.
Casey Earll pitched all five innings for SoHi, striking out three. Knoebel said Earll had a fair amount of walks, as well.
“For her first time ever pitching, she did great,” Knoebel said. “At this time last year, she was catching.”
Knoebel said the Stars made some errors in the field, but Earll did a good job staying strong mentally.
“We got this first game under our belt early,” Knoebel said. “We were able to learn a lot and grow a lot. Now, we have a list of things we can fine-tune.”
The coach also said Ashley McDonald did a fantastic job behind the plate.
On offense, Knoebel said Bailey Smith hit the ball well, tripling and lining out to first. Estrella Slats followed that triple in the second inning with a single to knock in Smith. Ashlyn Asp then singled to drive in Slats. Casey Card also was 1 for 3 against Colony.