The host Kenai Central softball team opened up the season with a 20-18 victory over Soldotna on Friday.
“Any time you can beat Soldotna, you are doing well,” Kenai Central coach John Manley said. “It was the first game so we saw things we needed to work on, but we’d only been outside four days before the game.”
Manley said the game was back and forth all the way.
He said Zaharah Wilshusen came up big at shortstop by throwing out seven runners and catching two balls. She also had two hits, walked three times and scored five runs.
Libby Brinner pitched the first three innings for Kenai and also had three hits, including a double. Caitlin Crabb pitched the last four innings.
At first base, Kyana Griskevich dropped just one of 14 balls and had two hits. At catcher, Andie Galloway threw out three runners and had two hits.
Hermoine Lansear threw out two runners from third, while second baseman Maggie Granier threw out three at first.
Soldotna coach Kelli Knoebel also was encouraged by her team’s start.
“It gave us a good starting point in regards to where we can go,” Knoebel said. “It was great to get out and play softball for the first time.”
The coach said most of the team is freshmen and sophomores.
Knoebel said everybody in the lineup scored.
Harley Thomas made her first varsity start on the mound and struck out five, while Bailey Connor caught her first varsity game.
Katie Himz was 2 for 5 with 5 RBIs and a walk, and played well at first base. Brook Fisher did well in the leadoff spot and at third base.
Ashlyn Asp played well at shortstop and was 2 for 4 with two walks. Summer Tugan played well in center field and sparked the offense late with a single, double, walk and two RBIs.