Fierce night for the Tigers secures a Whitepine League softball title

May 9—GENESEE — The third-seeded Kendrick Tigers had no easy path to an Idaho Class 1A district softball title.

Kendrick faced two of the best pitchers in the classification in back-to-back games on Wednesday at Genesee High School.

The Tigers breezed through the district tournament, culminating in a 15-9 win over the host Bulldogs in the championship game.

Genesee (17-2) and Kendrick (11-6) earned automatic bids to State, which will begin May 15 at the Genesee Rec Fields. Potlatch also sealed a berth following its 27-7 win over Clearwater Valley of Kooskia in the third-place game.

"To come out with a championship is huge," Kendrick softball coach Morgan LeBlanc said. "It could've gone to any of our top-four teams. They're all really good. ... We came up short last year in the state tournament, so hopefully this will help build some confidence."

The Tigers tallied a tournament-high 23 hits against Genesee pitcher Kendra Meyer, who threw all seven innings.

The junior has been the Bulldogs' ace this season, touting a 13-1 record from the circle with a 3.11 ERA and 110 strikeouts.

Kendrick's hits were the most allowed by the hurler, and just the fourth time she's given up double-digit knocks this year.

"She's a great pitcher," LeBlanc said. "She's probably the second-best pitcher in our division in the state. She throws hard, Genesee is well-coached, has good bats, good defense and so for us to get out of here with a win the way we did — pretty happy for our girls."

Juiced-up bats

Every Tiger who had a plate appearance against the Bulldogs had a hit.

Hali Anderson recorded a team-high four hits, and Kenadie Kirk, Morgan Silflow, Lily Hanson and Hayden Kimberling had three knocks apiece.

Kimberling was 3-for-5, including two home runs and a triple in the Tigers' 15-7 win over the second-seeded Rams in the opening round.

The junior's performance was even more impressive because it was against the reigning 1A player of the year, Jessica Ketola.

"Hayden's got her number, and she swung the bat really well," LeBlanc said. "She has been for a couple of weeks. ... She's a heck of a ball player — proud to have her. She's come a long way."

Kendrick recorded 38 hits in the two games, including 11 for extra bases.

"We can do this at any point," LeBlanc said. "I kind of knew this was building up. It kind of happened last year. These girls have been playing softball for a long time; they have some good youth coaches and they've been playing for us for a long time, and they know how to swing the bats."

A topsy-turvy start

Genesee and Kendrick traded momentum in the first two innings.

The Tigers went ahead 3-0, following the top of the first. But the Bulldogs evened the score thanks in part to a two-RBI double from Mia Scharnhorst during their half of the inning.

Kendrick added two more runs in the top of the second to take the lead for good, 5-3.

Genesee added one run during its half of the inning, but the Tigers scored five runs between the fifth and sixth innings to open the floodgates.

"What was happening is they were hitting the ball in the gaps, and we were hitting the ball to their players," Genesee coach Brian Malcom said. "You have to give them credit; they're a good hitting team, and when we get rolling, we can hit the ball also. But today we fell a little short. But I told the girls not to hang your heads because we have a lot of work to do next week."

Stats of note

Audrey Barber notched a team-high three hits for the Bulldogs. Sydney Banks, Makayla Herman, Brinley Lowe and Rylie Baysinger added three hits apiece for Genesee.

Kimberling picked up the win in the circle for Kendrick, allowing nine runs on 14 hits, and struck out one.

Hailey Taylor (triple), Silflow (triple, double), Kirk (double) and Taylor Boyer (double) all had extra-base hits for the Tigers.

Potlatch primed for State

The Loggers exploded for 12 runs in the top of the second en route to a three-inning mercy-rule victory over Clearwater Valley in the third-place game at the same site.

Hayley McNeal was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, including a home run for Potlatch (10-9). Olivia Smith added three singles.

Autumn Martinez, Gracie Schuster, Eva Schuster, Angelina Melwing, Alex Palmer, Lexie Lycan and Loreal Lamere all had a hit for the Rams (9-6).

Championship game

Kendrick 15, Genesee 9

Kendrick 320 341 2—15 23 0

Genesee 310 100 4—9 14 0

Hayden Kimberling and Kenadie Kirk; Kendra Meyer and Rylie Baysinger.

Kendrick hits — Hali Anderson 4, Morgan Silflow 3 (3B, 2B), Kirk 3, Kimberling 3, Lily Hanson 3, Hailey Taylor 2 (3B), Taylor Boyer 2 (2B), Ashna Casto 2, Harley Heimgartner.

Genesee hits — Audrey Barber 3, Baysinger 2 (3B), Sydney Banks 2, Makayla Herman 2, Brinley Lowe 2, Mia Scharnhorst (2B), Rylie Leseman (2B), Kendra Meyer.


Third-place game

Potlatch 27, Clearwater Valley 7

Potlatch 6(12)9—27 17 5

CV 061—7 6 2

Liza Quaade, Brooklyn Mitchell (2) and Olivia Smith; Riley Parsons, Gracie Schuster (3) and Eva Schuster.

Potlatch hits — Hayley McNeal 4 (HR), Smith 3, Kylie Heitstuman 2 (3B), Reese Lusby 2, Mitchell (2B), Quaade, Emily Capello, Payton Reynolds, Elena Vowels.

Clearwater Valley hits — Autumn Martinez, G. Schuster, E. Schuster, Angelina Melwing, Alex Palmer, Lexie Lycan and Loreal Lamere.


Semifinal game

Genesee 14, Potlatch 11

Potlatch 102 314 0—11 11 7

Genesee 304 610 x—14 9 3

Brieanna Winther, Liza Quaade (3), Brooklyn Mitchell (5) and Olivia Smith; Kendra Meyer and Rylie Baysinger. W—Meyer; L—Winther.

Potlatch hits — Jaylee Fry 4 (3B), Hayley McNeal 3 (3B), Brooklyn Mitchell 2 (2 2B), Olivia Smith, Liza Quaade.

Genesee hits — Audrey Barber 3 (2B), Mia Scharnhorst 2, Sydney Banks (2B), Kendra Meyer, Riley Leseman, Makayla Herman.


Semifinal game

Kendrick 15, Clearwater Valley 7

Kendrick 305 051 1—15 15 0

Clearwater Valley 102 400 0—7 14 0

Taylor Boyer, Hailey Taylor (5), Hayden Kimberling (6) and Kenadie Kirk; Jessica Ketola and Evalie Schuster. W—Boyer; L—Ketola.

Kendrick hits — Hayden Kimberling 3 (3B, 2 HR), Taylor Boyer 3, Ashna Casto 2 (3B), Kenadie Kirk 2 (2B), Hali Anderson 2, Harley Heimgartner (2B), Hailey Taylor, Morgan Silflow.

Clearwater Valley hits — Alex Palmer 4, Jessica Ketola 3 (2B), Lexi Lycan 3, Loreal Lamere 2, Gracie Schuster, Riley Parsons.

Pixley may be contacted at (208) 848-2290, or on Twitter @TreebTalks