Kodiak claims first small-schools championship

Posted: Sunday, June 08, 2008

ANCHORAGE - The first two times Kodiak and Ketchikan met at this year's state softball tournament, each won by identical 1-0 scores.

So was another pitcher's duel guaranteed when they faced off in Saturday's small-schools championship game?

Not exactly.

Kodiak turned the title tilt into batting practice as the Bears pounded out 11 hits to supply a 15-0 victory in four innings to claim the school's first championship in the Alaska School Activities Association small-schools tournament at Cartee Fields.

The Bears (13-7) actually beat Ketchikan twice on Saturday, winning 1-0 earlier in the day to set up the if-necessary championship game.

But unlike their first win, the nightcap was a slugfest as Kodiak scored 11 runs in the second inning, three in the third and once in the fourth to prevail by the mercy rule.

"I don't know how to explain it," Kodiak first baseman Addie Jones said. "The fact that the first two times we played them they were 1-0 games and then we rallied them 15-0 ... it's really cool to stick it to them."

In that back-breaking 11-run second inning, Kodiak sent 15 batters to the plate and benefitted from seven hits and six Ketchikan errors.

"They started hanging their heads, and we gained momentum," said star Kodiak pitcher Tianna Allen.

Most of the damage came against starter Kayla Howe, although ace Danielle Larson and freshman Molly Royer got roughed up, too.

Jones went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Corissa Ferris went 2 for 3 with three RBIs to highlight the lopsided win. Both were named to the all-tournament team along with the southpaw, Allen.

Allen, who was arguably the tournament's Most Valuable Player, continued her near perfect pitching Saturday, sweeping Ketchikan with back-to-back one-hitters.

She struck out nine the first time and eight the second time. In all, she fanned 30 Ketchikan batters over three state tournament games.

"She was really devastating," Kodiak coach Dave Allen said of his daughter. "She's got a down pitch, an up pitch, an inside-outside pitch. It was incredible."

The coach said she developed a riser over the last three months and mastered it this weekend.

"It just started to come around," he said. "All those boring hours in the gym paid off."

Tianna Allen said she spent three days a week in the winter lifting weights at 6 a.m. and five days a week pitching for 90 minutes after school.

"Hard work pays off, I guess," she said while soaking up the championship moment. "It's just a really great experience. It's everything I expected and more."

But it would have all been for naught if Kodiak didn't win the first championship game against a previously undefeated Ketchikan squad to set up the if-necessary title game.

That 1-0 victory came courtesy of Janelle Tirona, who lined a two-out single to score the game's lone run in the top of the seventh inning.

Tirona, the team's No. 9 batter, came through like a cleanup hitter.

Her coach said she's been clutch all season.

"She's got the highest batting average. She has the highest on-base percentage. And people look at me like, 'Why do you have her at the nine spot? Are you nuts?'

"But it's come around so many times where we needed a strong hitter in that part of the lineup. So we just started calling her our zero hitter. She's come around so many times for us."

ASAA/First National Alaska

Small School All-Tournament Team

Danielle Larson, Ketchikan; Caitlin Way, Sitka; Amanda Cobb, Soldotna; Tianna Allen, Kodiak; Mykala Martin, Ketchikan; Megan Fondell, Sitka; Addie Jones, Kodiak; Corissa Ferris, Kodiak; Emma Young, Monroe Catholic.

• Van Williams, sports and assistant section editor for the Anchorage Daily News, may be contacted at 907-257-4335 or VWilliams@adn.com.

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