Kenai Central’s Avery Ellis forces out Soldotna’s Kadee Adams out at second base Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Avery Ellis forces out Soldotna’s Kadee Adams out at second base Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Wednesday softball: Soldotna defeats Kenai; Palmer tops Homer

The visiting Soldotna softball team defeated Kenai Central 15-1 in four innings Wednesday in Northern Lights Conference action.

The Stars are 15-7 overall and 7-2 in the league, while the Kardinals fall to 6-11 and 2-4.

Soldotna excelled in all three phases of the game.

“They’re really good,” Kenai head coach Bob Frates said of the Stars. “They got the momentum going early and they didn’t let up.

“We just couldn’t get any momentum behind us.”

The offense put up three runs in the first inning, six in the second, one in the third and five in the fourth.

The defense also gave the team a major boost. In the first inning, with no outs and runners on first and second, Avery Ellis lined a ball to shortstop that Alyssa McDonald snared. She then turned the double play at second base.

For good measure, when pitcher Isabelle Cruz got Kailey Stynsberg to ground to short, McDonald made a smooth play to get SoHi out of the inning unscathed.

“That’s what good players do — they make good plays and make them look smooth,” SoHi head coach Kelli Knoebel said of McDonald. “It gets us rolling and gives us confidence.

“Then we just keep going and pass the bats and get hits.”

Cruz worked all four innings and gave up a run on a hit while walking five and striking out two.

At the plate for the Stars, Tatum Cooper was 2 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs, McDonald was 2 for 2 with four runs and an RBI, Cruz had two RBIs, Bella Gares was 2 for 4 with three RBIs, Kiara Forkner had two runs and Bailey Conner had two RBIs.

Knoebel said Kadee Adams also had a great game running for Cruz, scoring a pair of runs.

“It’s the fact that everybody is buying into what the team is doing,” Knoebel said. “Total team softball.”

Frates said his team didn’t hit like he expected. He said McDonald and Cruz kept the team from getting any momentum.

“I told her after the game she’s like a vacuum cleaner,” Frates said of McDonald. “She just sucked in everything.”

Peighton Curren was 1 for 1 for the Kards and scored the team’s lone run, getting pushed across on a sacrifice fly from Seylor Tomrdle.

Lola McEwen gave up eight runs on seven hits in 1 1-3 innings for the Kards, while Kyana Griskevich yielded seven runs — six earned — on five hits in 2 2-3 innings. Griskevich did strike out six and got unlucky with several well-placed balls by the Stars.

“I think that was one of the better games she’s had,” Frates said of Griskevich. “She was kind of thrown in there at a moment’s notice.

“She did well. She throws hard.”

Palmer 24, Homer 9

The visiting Mariners fell to 2-3 in the Northern Lights Conference 9-16-2 overall with the Wednesday loss in three innings.

Homer came out and scored 11 runs in the top of the first inning, but Palmer answered with 11 runs in the bottom of the inning.

The Mariners bats cooled off after that, but the Moose kept rolling with eight runs in the second and five runs in the third.

Ariana Davis and Julie Guess scored a pair of runs for Homer.

Becca Trowbridge yielded 12 runs in two-thirds of an inning, while Keagan Niebuhr gave up seven runs in two-thirds of an inning and Emily Owens gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Soldotna’s Tatum Cooper fouls off a pitch against Kenai Central on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Tatum Cooper fouls off a pitch against Kenai Central on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Kyana Griskevich delivers to Soldotna on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Kyana Griskevich delivers to Soldotna on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Alyssa McDonald throws out a runner against Kenai Central on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Alyssa McDonald throws out a runner against Kenai Central on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Steve Shearer Memorial Ball Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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