Southeast Alaska has a well-earned reputation for tough air travel and tough softball teams.
The region more than lived up to its reputation Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Soldotna softball team.
Thursday, the Stars were flying to Ketchikan for games Friday and Saturday when there was a problem with the fuel pump on their plane.
Instead of touching down in Ketchikan at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the team spent the night in Juneau, then arrived in Ketchikan at 9 a.m. after taking the ferry over from the airport.
“It was a good experience,” SoHi coach Kelli Knoebel said. “We were able to come together as a team.”
The Stars then lost all four games, losing 8-0 to North Pole on Friday in five innings, 15-0 to 2014 small-schools runner-up Ketchikan on Friday in three innings, 14-0 to North Pole on Saturday in four innings, and 20-0 to Ketchikan on Saturday in three innings.
Despite the losses, Knoebel said the experience was valuable.
“It’s a very good aim of where we want to go,” she said. “Even with our inexperience, it was great to go up against great programs to see where we are at.”
Delaney Schneider and Alyssa Corbin each pitched two games for the Stars. Against North Pole on Friday, Schneider walked five and struck out five in five innings.
Knoebel said both pitchers did a good job of battling against tough hitting.
The best weekend at the plate came from Amber Lohrke, who had three doubles and a single, while Mikayla Miller went 1 for 2 in a pinch-hitting role.
Knoebel also said the defense was tested due to the strong hitting of the other squads. The coach said Lohrke fielded some rockets at third, left fielder Alicia McLelland had a great weekend in left field, Olivia Farrell fielded well at second and Carlin Mayer was steady behind the plate.
“Everybody was just a class act and treated us well in Ketchikan,” Knoebel said. “It was an honor for us to go.”
The Stars travel to Homer for a 6 p.m. game Tuesday.
Homer softball finishes 2-2 at Anchorage tourney
The Homer softball team finished 2-2 at the Blue and Gold Battle tournament in Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.
The tournament, which left Homer at 5-3 overall, drew some of the top teams in the state.
In the opening day of play Friday, Homer lost to defending small-schools state champ Juneau 15-4 before notching a 14-4 victory against Dimond.
The Juneau game went four innings, with Juneau doing its damage in 2 1-3 innings against Pam Jantzi.
McKi Needham pitched a scoreless 1 2-3 innings, and also was 2 for 3 at the plate. Maggie LaRue, Kelly Liebers and Jantzi had the other hits for Homer.
Homer rebounded by taking care of Dimond in five innings.
Needham pitched all five innings, giving up four earned runs on four hits while walking one and striking out five. She also went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs at the plate.
Also for Homer, LaRue had three runs, Riley Walls was 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, Kyla Pitzman was 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, Larsen Fellows was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and Isabel Beach had two RBIs.
Saturday, Homer notched a 10-8 victory over Service before falling 5-4 to Thunder Mountain.
In the six-inning victory over Service, Homer put up four runs in the third and five runs in the fourth to provide the difference.
Needham went the distance, yielding four earned runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out two.
Fellows led the way on offense by going 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs, while Kayla Stafford was 2 for 3 with two runs.
Also for the Mariners, LaRue was 2 for 3, Walls had two runs, Needham had two runs and two RBIs, and Pitzman had two runs.
The Thunder Mountain game went seven innings, with the Falcons scoring a run in the sixth inning to lead 5-4, then holding Homer off in the seventh.
Jantzi pitched the first three innings, giving up three runs — two earned — on three hits. Needham finished up, yielding two runs — one earned — on four hits.
Pitzman had the best game on offense, going 1 for 3 with a run and three RBIs.