With the doors closed on their final school year and their building taken over by firefighters, the Skyview softball team proved it is never too late to make history.
The Panthers topped Soldotna 6-5 on Tuesday at Guy and Judy Hayes Field for the softball program’s first victory over the Stars.
That kept Skyview in the running to make even more history by garnering the program’s first state berth.
The top two teams in the Northern Lights Conference earn state berths. Kodiak has locked up one of those state berths at 6-2.
Homer is at 5-2 and can clinch the second state berth with a victory over host Soldotna today at 4 p.m.
But if the Stars beat the Mariners tonight, things get interesting. A win tonight puts Soldotna at 4-3 with a Thursday game against Skyview remaining. The Panthers are 3-3 with a Thursday game with SoHi and Friday game against Kenai on the slate.
“We’re going to try and win out,” Skyview coach Steve Schoessler said. “I’m real proud of the way, once they tied it up, we hung in there and didn’t get flustered.
“We kept playing ball.”
The game was a tight, back-and-forth affair.
Skyview, the home team, grabbed a 1-0 lead after the first, but SoHi led 2-1 after 2 and 3-2 after 3.
In the fifth inning, the Panthers rallied to take a 5-3 lead. SoHi came right back in the sixth inning for a 5-5 game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Marina Rodriguez walked and stole two bases to get into position for the winning run.
Schoessler said the key to the victory was putting pressure on SoHi’s defense. Skyview had three hits off Serena Prior, but only struck out three times and walked five times.
“Once we got on the basepaths we were aggressive stealing bases and moving runners around,” Schoessler said.
Sam Reynolds, Lynn Hesse and Cat Schoessler were each 1 for 3 with a walk. Reynolds and Hesse scored twice, while Schoessler scored once.
“They played a great game,” SoHi coach Kelli Knoebel said. “Take nothing away from them. They made the other team make plays and that’s great softball.”
Reynolds pitched all seven innings for Skyview and gave up seven hits and four walks while striking out six.
“We had a couple of errors out there but we didn’t let them get to us,” Schoessler said. “We didn’t compound the errors by stacking them on top of each other.”
Prior was 2 for 4, while Amber McDonald, Macylea Elsey, Kayla Bauter, Ila Cobb and Allison Nelson all had one hit.
Knoebel said the Stars are ready to fight to keep their season alive today.
“We let one slip away today but we’re ready to come back tomorrow and do our thing,” she said.
Homer 24, Kenai 0
The host Mariners’ bats were jumping as they moved to 5-2 in the NLC and one step closer to a state berth. Kenai fell to 0-7 in the league.
Homer had 16 hits in the game, which lasted 3 1-2 innings.
For Homer, Mary Hanna Bowe had two runs and two RBIs, McKi Needham was 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, Larsen Fellows was 3 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs, Pam Jantzi had two runs, Kayla Stafford had two runs, Shyanna Parr had two runs, Brenna Evarts had two runs, Maggie LaRue was 2 for 2 with three runs and Riley Walls had two runs.
Cierra King took the loss for Kenai, with seven of her runs being earned. Needham gave up two hits in four innings for the win for Homer.
Kenai’s hits were from Shannon Evans and Patricia Catacutan.