Kenai Central’s Kyana Griskevich scores in front of Homer’s Ariana Davis on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Kyana Griskevich scores in front of Homer’s Ariana Davis on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Tuesday softball: Kenai comes back to topple Homer

The Kenai Central softball team defeated Homer 14-8 on Tuesday in Northern Lights Conference play at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Field in Kenai.

The Kardinals are 5-4 in the league and 7-10 overall, while the Mariners are 3-4 and 3-14.

Bill Bell has been the head coach at Homer ever since the Kardinals started their program, and he said this is the first time Kenai has been able to sweep the season series from the Mariners. Kenai also defeated Homer 13-9 on May 9.

The Kardinals went down 6-0 after the top of the first inning as Kenai starter Kyana Griskevich struggled with control, walking six and giving up six runs in 2-3 of an inning.

“She’s such a competitor, and she wanted to go really bad,” Kenai head coach Bob Frates said of Griskevich. “At the end of the day, I just felt it was better to go with another pitcher.

“(Kyana’s) a competitor. She’ll be back.”

Lola McEwen’s steady pitching allowed the Kardinals to get back in the game. McEwen pitched the final 6 1-3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking four and striking out five.

“She’s just consistent,” Frates said of McEwen. “That’s what we needed — to eliminate those walks.”

The Kardinals got right back into the game by scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. Homer starter Becca Trowbridge also struggled with control, walking seven in 1 1-3 innings while giving up nine runs — five earned.

Bell said his team is close to jelling but that didn’t happen Tuesday.

“I think they came in a little slower and a little apathetic,” Bell said. “I think they didn’t have the energy that Kenai had.

“And it hurt.”

Homer reliever Ariana Davis only walked three in 4 2-3 innings, but Kenai was able to get to her for seven hits and five runs — four earned.

Bell said Davis did a good enough job on the mound to win, but that Homer didn’t support her defensively or at the plate.

The coach Davis is his Bert “Campy” Campaneris, who in 1965 because the first major league player to play every position in a major league game.

“We use her at short, we use her as pitcher, we use her at catcher,” he said. “We put her wherever we need and she’ll do a good job of it.”

By the end of the second inning, Kenai was up 10-8. McEwen and a solid Kenai defense was able to keep the Mariners off the board the rest of the way.

Frates said shortstop Zoey Riley had a great game.

“She’s usually pretty solid, but she’s had a rough couple of games,” Frates said. “I asked her if she wanted to use a fielder’s mask today just to help build that confidence.

“She jumped all over that. I think that made a big difference for her and I think today was a big confidence boost for her.”

Avia Miller also had a big game for Kenai, finishing 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run. Miller also smacked a fly ball that was caught up against the fence, and made a diving catch in the outfield.

“She struggled a little bit with her hitting all season,” Frates said. “The last two, three games, she’s starting to hit more and more.

“Today, she was just crushing it. And that for a coach, it’s just awesome. It makes our time worthwhile.”

While highlighting those two players, Frates said it was the whole team that came together after the top of the first and got the win.

Also for Kenai, Maggie Grenier was 2 for 2 with two runs, Riley was 2 for 4 with three runs, Griskevich had four runs and three RBIs, and McEwen had two RBIs.

Emily Owens had two runs for Homer, while Keagan Niebuhr was 3 for 3 with two RBIs.

Kenai Central’s Lola McEwen delivers to Homer on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Lola McEwen delivers to Homer on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Avia Miller hits against Homer on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Avia Miller hits against Homer on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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