The host Soldotna softball team defeated Kenai Central 15-6 in five innings Monday in nonconference action at the Soldotna Little League fields.
Both teams used the occasion to honor their seniors. The seniors for the Stars are Emily Hinz, Ava Grossl and Haewon Hong. The seniors for the Kardinals are Libby Brinner and Caitlin Crabb.
The Stars got off to a very quick start in the game. Due to crisp plays by the defense, it took pitcher Miah Mead just three pitches to get through the top of the first. In the bottom of the first, SoHi sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs.
“I think the excitement of senior day really got the girls pumped up right off the start,” Soldotna coach Mike Cruz said.
After SoHi took that big lead in the first, the two teams played even, but that was not enough to keep the Stars from invoking the mercy rule in the fifth.
Mead gave up four runs on five hits through 3 1-3 innings. She left the game when Kenai’s Lola McEwen hit a line drive off Mead’s leg.
Isabelle Cruz came in to allow two runs on two hits in 1 2-3 innings.
At the plate for SoHi, Hinz had two hits, a run and an RBI, while Bailey Conner had two runs, Lexi Stormo had two RBIs and a run, Cruz had two hits, three runs and an RBI, Makynzi Deborski had two runs and two RBIs, and Alyssa McDonald had two runs and three RBIs.
For the Kardinals, Crabb gave up seven runs in the first inning, then McEwen gave up the rest in relief.
Zoey Riley had two runs, Kailey Stynsberg had two hits, two RBIs and a run, and Kyana Griskevich had two hits, a run and an RBI.
Frates said Kenai and Soldotna always play good games. He said both teams hit well, but the Stars made the difference with their defense.
The Kenai coach said Brinner has been a rock of the program for four years, while Crabb always shows up with a smile and is willing to play any position on the field.
“I can’t say enough about either one of them,” Frates said.