Thunder Mountain Softball Tops Sitka in Second Run-Shortened Game

    Thunder Mountain senior Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale runs safely to second base on an over-throw by the Sitka catcher during Saturday's action at Dimond Park Field. (Klas Stolpe)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School softball team won its second run-shortened game in three days against Sitka on Saturday at Dimond Park Fields, completing a two-game sweep of the visiting Wolves. The Falcons earned a 9-1 five-inning win Saturday after beating the Wolves 10-0 on Thursday.

      “Our goal today was to get the bats out early,” Thunder Mountain coach Julie Herman said. “Thursday night we did not get on the board in the first inning. Saturday we earned two runs and kept rolling from there.”

      The Falcons’ two runs in the bottom of the first inning started with junior Riley Harp taking a lead-off walk and freshman Jenna Dobson reaching on a bunt. Harp advanced to third on a one-out steal and then with two away Harp stole home and Dobson third.

      Dobson would also steal home as junior Sydney Strong was earning a walk.

      “The base runners are having a blast out there,” Herman said. “Base running is a mentality. They are building the confidence to move when they want to move, that’s high level. It is exciting to watch.”

      Thunder Mountain added five runs in the bottom of the second inning with junior Aspen Kasper walking, Harp and Dobson rapping singles, freshman Ashlyn Gates singling in Kasper, and Harp and Dobson again stealing home. Senior Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale singled to score Gates and then scored on an error with S. Strong at bat.

      Sitka’s lone run came in the top of the third inning when Harlee Nelson took a lead-off walk and advanced as Elsie Yocum was hit by a pitch and Morgan Feildpausch walked and scored on a Tamryn Suarez single.

      Thunder Mountain put the clinching runs across the plate in the fourth inning. Freshman Jack Lovejoy earned a one-out walk, advanced on a single by freshman Kara Strong and they both stole a base with Kasper at bat. Lovejoy stole home and K. Strong third with senior Avery Kreischer at bat, then Kreischer singled in K. Strong for the 9-1 tally.

      The Falcons defense held in the top of the fifth inning as Kreischer fielded a Sitka ground ball for an out. Harp caught a line drive in center and after a Sitka single, Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale threw out a batter from her shortstop position.

      Gates earned the win on the mound for Thunder Mountain, going 3.1 innings, allowing seven Sitka hits and one run, striking out one and walking four. Kasper relieved for five outs to close out the win.

    Makenna Smith pitched the first three innings for Sitka and Kayia Balovich relieved.

      Gates, Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and Kreischer had one RBI each; Harp, Dobson and K. Strong two hits each, Gates, Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale, Lovejoy and Kreischer one each; Harp and Dobson scored two runs apiece, Gates, Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale, Lovejoy, K. Strong and Kasper one run each.

      Thunder Mountain next plays its final home game against Juneau-Douglas at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

      “It’s our last week of regular season,” Herman said. “Our goal is to celebrate our seniors, enjoy the sport with our girls and get better every day. Our next step is to take on JD. Offensively, we want to come at them hard, to take the upper hand. The varsity teams have not seen each other in weeks. Lots has happened since then. We are looking forward to the competition.”


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