The Kenai Central softball team can look back on Friday’s nonconference loss against Palmer and pick out several stickler plays that could’ve helped them to a win.
Unfortunately, time was called after four innings and the Moose walked away with a narrow 13-12 victory over the Kardinals at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai.
Palmer starter Sophie Romero-Jones pitched through four frames of six-hit ball, striking out four and walking nine. It was enough to beat Kenai’s Savannah Jones, who also struck out four and issued nine walks.
“We’ve got possibilities,” said Kenai head coach John Manley. “If everyone hits their stride, we can win some games.”
Kenai dropped to 1-3 overall with the loss. Kenai first baseman Cierra King sparked Kenai’s offense with a double and an RBI for a 2-for-2 day. Catcher Alyssa Stanton also knocked out a double with two RBI, and third baseman Kiera Duby batted in three runs.
Palmer’s Sally Carr hit 2 for 2 with two RBI, while Alicia Thomas and Susan Shales each belted a double.
In all, the two teams combined for 13 runs scored on errors, including eight on wild pitches and passed balls, but Manley was left to rue what could have been if not for a few botched plays.
“Our base running was a little more aggressive,” Manley said. “But the offense needs to help our pitcher.”
Manley’s words came after a late comeback attempt by Kenai went wasted in the bottom of the fourth. With Kenai trailing 13-8, Stanton sent a double to the outfield that scored two runs, and Stanton scored herself on a ground-out by Duby, closing the gap to 13-11. Romero-Jones walked Mabra Oskolkoff, gave up a single to Brooklyn Nimcheski and walked Fiona Heath.
It set up Treaba Schmitter-Shrier to bring in a run on a single, but Nimcheski was tagged out at third after overrunning the base, giving Palmer the second out. Patricia Catacutan couldn’t complete the rally when she popped out to third base to end the game, her third flyout of the contest.
Palmer opened the scoring in the first inning with a run-scoring single by Sally Carr, who was tagged out at second. The Moose grabbed a 3-0 lead, but SoHi came back to tie it up with runs from King on a wild pitch and an infield dribbler by Duby that was botched, allowing her to reach base on the error and score two runs.
Palmer scored three more in the top of the second, getting an RBI single from Nico Profitt and an RBI double by Alicia Thomas, which was sandwiched around a passed ball by Stanton that scored Carr.
The Kardinals woke up in the bottom of the second with five runs to take an 8-6 lead. Schmitter-Shrier led off with a walk, then scored on a triple by Catacutan, who then made it home on a single by King. Oskolkoff plated the game-tying run on a ground-out to the pitcher with the bases loaded with one out, and Kenai took the lead on a wild pitch that allowed Jones to score. Stanton then scored on a passed ball.
The third inning proved to be the only clean frame of the game, as both teams had threatening runs squelched by defensive infield plays.
However, Kenai ran into trouble at the top of the fourth. Palmer scored seven runs and cycled through 11 batters to take a commanding 13-8 lead. Leadoff hitter Janie Besse started it with a one-out single, then Carr kept it going by bringing in a run on a single herself. An errant throw to first base tied the game at 8-all, and Palmer took the lead on a wild pitch by Jones. Three more runs scored on an error, a passed ball and a wild pitch.
Earlier in the day, Kenai lost 17-9 to Palmer, giving the Moose a clean sweep. Cierra King pitched a complete game for Kenai, while Manley said Stanton kept the Moose honest with great throwing from her catcher position.
Kenai 9, Colony 5
The Kardinals bounced back to split a Saturday doubleheader with a win in the second game at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai.
The game, called after four innings for time, saw Kenai rally with five runs in the bottom of the fourth after Colony had taken a 5-4 lead
“Colony’s a pretty good team,” Manley said Saturday. “In fact, all these teams are pretty solid.”
Savannah Jones earned the win in the pitching circle, catching fire after a slow start.
Alyssa Stanton had a leadoff triple to highlight Kenai’s offense.
Earlier on Saturday, Kenai lost the first game 13-3, which also was called for time after four innings.
King started in the pitching circle, and also went 1 for 2 from the plate.
Kenai will travel to face Homer on Tuesday.
Homer 11, Palmer 10
Annalyn Brown sent the Mariners to a victory Saturday with a walkoff RBI single.
The Moose tied the game at 10-all in the top of the fifth inning prior to the walkoff hit by Brown. The win gave Homer (2-1 overall) a split for the weekend, after a Friday loss to Colony.
Briana Hetrick earned the win for Homer with 5 2-3 innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and three walks, while striking out four. Annali Metz pitched one out with five runs on two hits and four walks.
Mary Hana Bowe, Elsie Smith, Kaitlyn Johnson and Rylee Doughty each recorded two hits from the plate for Homer, with Bowe knocking in three RBI.
Homer scored seven runs in the third to stake out a four-run lead.
Soldotna 20, Kodiak 0
The Stars wrapped up a hot weekend in Kodiak with a supercharged shutout over the Bears on Saturday.
Soldotna 15, Kodiak 7
The offense came alive for the Soldotna softball team in a 15-7 Northern Lights Conference win over Kodiak on Friday.
The Stars scored seven runs in the second inning and held on to win in five innings. Overall, all but one SoHi batter made it around to score at least once, and SoHi’s first three batters got five at-bats.
Danielle Hills earned the complete game win with five strikeouts and two walks issued from the pitching circle, prodding SoHi head coach Kelli Knoebel to give her props for “a smart game.”
From the plate, SoHi was led from the plate by leadoff hitter Jazi Larrow, who finished 2 for 3 with a double, and Amber Lohrke, who went 2 for 4. Taylor Earll also singled and Carlin Meyer hit a bunt single to move the base runners.
“We were really smart at the plate,” Knoebel said. “We made some great plays, and everybody moved.”
Knoebel said the Stars started slow with consecutive strikeouts to open the game, but things soon picked up. After staking out a 7-0 lead in the second inning, Kodiak answered back with three runs in the bottom of the frame. SoHi scored once more in the third and four times in the fifth to take a 12-3 lead.
Colony 12, Homer 4
The Mariners lost their first game of the season in an NLC matchup with the Knights at home on Friday.
Homer outhit Colony 8-7, but committed several errors that let in runs.
Mary Hana Bowe and Elsie Smith led the batting lineup with identical 2-for-3 days, and Smith knocked in two runs as well with a double. Rylee Doughty also had a double.
Annalyn Brown allowed four earned runs on five hits and six walks to take the loss from the pitching circle. Brown lasted three innings before Annali Metz entered the game. Metz gave up four runs on four walks, although she didn’t allow a hit.
Briana Hetrick and Becca Chapman finished the game with a combined two base hits allowed. Hetrick gave up three runs on three walks, while Chapman closed with a scoreless inning.
Malina Fellows gave Homer an early lead with an RBI groundout in the first inning, but Colony struck back with five runs in the second and seven in the fourth. The seven-run blast came courtesy of a wild pitch and four stolen bases. Overall, the Knights stole 30 bases.