Twelve minutes is all that stood between the Bartlett softball team and victory Friday at Guy Hayes Field in Soldotna.
The Golden Bears, who coach Cameron Van Ryn said did not win a game last season, took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning at Guy Hayes Field in Soldotna.
The game was on a time limit, so not only did the Golden Bears have to hold Soldotna without a run, but they had to take more than 12 minutes to do it.
Otherwise, the game would roll on to the fifth inning.
Bartlett pitcher Sam McFadden quickly put down the Stars, only allowing a runner to reach first on a walk, but it turns out it was too quick.
The game went to a fifth inning, where the Stars scored twice for a 7-6 victory. With Soldotna’s 5-2 win in the first game, SoHi started the season perfect, while Bartlett still hungers for a win.
In Saturday action at Guy Hayes, Soldotna lost to Chugiak 8-6 and 9-8.
In Friday’s second game, Jordan Sedy started the winning rally in the fifth by reaching on an error. McFadden was replaced on the mound by Heather Breslin, who had struck out 11 in the first game. Kaycee Munn then hammered an 0-2 pitch to the left-field wall for a double that scored Sedy and tied the game.
“That’s what you like to see,” Soldotna coach David Cleveland said. “It was a pressure situation with two strikes, and she just laced that to the wall.”
Breslin responded by striking out two. Serena Prior then blooped a ball to right field that fell in the middle of four Bartlett defenders and scored Munn for the victory.
“I thought they were going to catch it, but then I saw Kaycee running home to score,” Prior said. “It was a great feeling.”
Despite the tough loss, Van Ryn also was feeling good. He coaches a summer fast-pitch softball team in Anchorage that last season had eight players sign for college scholarships.
When Bartlett needed a coach for this season, he signed up. At the first practice, he realized he was in for a change when he asked how many girls has played softball before, and four raised their hands.
“We didn’t want to stall in the fourth inning just to get a victory,” Van Ryn said. “We need more at-bats, we need more ground balls, we need more fly balls.
“We’re looking to improve. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Both coaches were happy to see their squads put in a pressure situation like the fifth inning so early in the season.
“Two outs, the winning run on, that’s what it’s all about,” Van Ryn said. “That’s fun.”
After pitching the first three innings, Sedy pitched the fifth inning for the victory. She also came out for the fourth, but she walked three and one runner got on due to an error, so Cleveland decided to bring in Nikki Hegge.
“I wasn’t mad at her,” Cleveland said. “I just wanted her to settle down a little bit.”
McFadden kept SoHi’s bats silent for most of the game. The Stars did not have a hit in the first, third and fourth innings, but had a five-run second inning. Tanisha Chavez had a two-RBI single in the frame, while Maddy Wilcox scored two more with a triple.
Lauren Gallagher led the Bears at the plate in the second game by going 2 for 3 with two runs.
The first game belonged to Hegge and Breslin. Hegge pitched five innings and gave up three hits and two runs — one earned. She struck out seven and walked three.
“We did a lot better than I was expecting in the first game,” Hegge said. “A lot of these girls haven’t played at this level before.”
Breslin was just as tough, pitching five innings and giving up eight hits and five runs — three earned. Her 11 strikeouts came with just one walk.
“She can pitch in college,” Van Ryn said. “She’s the reason I came to coach here. I didn’t want anybody to ruin her.”
The Stars did get several big hits against Breslin. Munn doubled in the first to score Wilcox, then Prior led off the second with an inside-the-park home run.
“That was fun for the first at-bat of the year,” she said.
In the fifth, Hegge tripled to score Lagi Wong, then scored on a single by Prior. Gallagher again had two hits for the Bears.
“I think these were good games,” Hegge said. “They showed what we are made of. We have to keep pushing and get better.”
Chugiak 8, Soldotna 6
The Stars committed 12 errors in falling to the Mustangs in five innings.
Hegge pitched the whole game and gave up just two earned runs. She gave up four hits, struck out six and walked four.
“You’re just not going to win committing that many errors,” Cleveland said. “It was just little things, nothing huge. We had a few mental errors — first-weekend mistakes of not knowing where to throw the ball when we get it.”
Cleveland said Chugiak had good pitching, but he was happy with the way his team hit the ball. Munn was 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs. Cleveland said the Stars left the bases loaded twice.
Chugiak 9, Soldotna 8
The Stars had the tying run on second in the bottom of the fifth and final inning, but could not push that run across.
Sedy pitched and gave up nine runs, but three were earned as SoHi committed nine errors. Sedy gave up six hits and six walks while striking out one.
Maddy Wilcox was 1 for 2 with a walk. Her single scored two and tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth, then Sedy hit an inside-the-park home run to put SoHi up 8-6.
Chugiak scored three times in the top of the fifth for the win.
The Stars open conference play at Kenai on Monday at 6 p.m.