The Soldotna softball team took a Northern Lights Conference win over Kenai on Thursday, pulling away late in the game to win 17-8.
After SoHi put up eight runs in the fourth inning, Kenai only had one opportunity to rally in the bottom of the fourth because of the 90-minute time limit, but struck out when the game ended after only four innings.
“Conditions were the main thing. It seemed that every inning we went out there it started to rain,” said SoHi coach Kelli Knoebel. “We just focused and put our heads down and played solid defense.
“Really I don’t think (the weather) played too much a difference, and at the end of the day we got to play. If it’s snow, rain or 100 degrees we come out to play.”
An on-and-off drizzle kept conditions challenging for the duration of the game.
Kaycee Munn came up big for Soldotna with five RBIs on two doubles, including a crucial three-run double that broke a 6-6 tie in the third inning.
Knoebel also commended the performance of Mindi West, who filled in for Allison Nelson in the fourth inning and hit a bases-clearing double that extended SoHi’s lead.
“It was a huge, huge hit, gave us a lot of momentum,” Knoebel said. “It started that inning going and ended up being the one we needed.”
Going into the bottom of the second, Kenai trailed 6-1 and needed some momentum. The Kards got it, starting when SoHi pitcher Serena Prior began walking batters with the bases loaded. Prior walked four out of five batters at one point, all resulting in runs scored, and then Shannon Evans hit an RBI single for Kenai to knot the game up at six apiece.
“I told the girls to keep working hard and good things will come,” said Kenai coach Mark King. “I was happy that they were swinging the bat and not watching pitches go by.”
After Munn’s double gave SoHi the lead in the third inning, Kenai’s Carly Norvelle blasted a two-run homer to close the gap to 9-8. Norvelle ended up hitting 2 for 3.
After that, it was all Soldotna. West’s double left the Stars with an 11-8 lead, and hits from Prior, Munn, Kenley Kingrey and Kayla Bauter all brought home runners.
For Soldotna, Prior hit 3 for 3, Kingrey was 2 for 2 with a double, Kalina Smith was 3 for 4 and Ila Cobb went 2 for 2.
Kenai’s Jessica Roper went 1 for 2 with two RBI, and teammate Alyson Quartly hit 2 for 3.
“Overall I think there’s a lot of things we can build on, both offensive and defensive,” King said. “Our bats came alive a lot better than they did yesterday (against Skyview), our defense looked a lot better than yesterday, and again this is only game two for us and Soldotna has a few games under their belt.”
Soldotna leaves with a 3-1 record and will host Houston on Friday at 6 p.m., while Kenai holds an 0-2 record.