The Kuna High School Lady Kavemen Softball Team finish the year in third place in the State Tournament, held at Skyview High School on May 16th and 17th. Kuna finished the tournament with a 3-2 record, beating Rigby, Blackfoot, and Canyon Ridge, while losing to eventual champions Twin Falls and being eliminated by local rival Bishop Kelly.
The day started out with a dominating pitching performance by junior Nicole Arizana as Kuna throttle the Rigby High Trojans by an 11-7 score. Arizana struck out eight hitters while allowing only one run on no hits and no walks. Junior CeCe Spangler also pitched one and two-thirds innings before Arizana came back in to retire the final hitter of the game. Junior Savannah Nell homered and scored twice, while junior Amanda Kleffner came off the bench to notch a pair of hits, including a home run, along with a couple runs and a couple RBI.
That set up a showdown with the Bruins of Twin Falls High and their ace, Rainey Dyreson. While Dyreson was almost untouchable, striking out eight Kavemen total for the 2-0 win, the game turned into a pitchers’ duel, thanks to Arizana. Nicole gave up only two runs to a team that had been steamrolling opponents all season long. Despite Dyreson’s strong showing, Kuna threatened in the 6th inning before a strange base-running gaff led to a Bruins double play that doused the rally.
The loss sent to the Kavemen to a win-or-go-home game against the Blackfoot High School Lady Broncos. Arizana continued her strong tournament showing by striking out seven and walking only one, and giving up only an unearned run in the 5-1 victory. The Kavemen got all they needed in a four-run second inning, capped off by Arizana’s three-run homer. Senior Adriana Reyna had a pair of hits in the game.
Saturday started with a matchup with the Canyon Ridge (of Twin Falls) Riverhawks. This was another offensive show by the Kavemen, with Nell hitting her second home run of the tournament, while Arizana added her second and third. Arizana’s sixth-inning homer put enough runs on the board to end the game by the ten-run rule, making it 10-0. Arizana struck out five in the six-inning shutout. Freshmen Kaci Marshall and Rylee Newman and junior Nicole Carlisle hit doubles, while senior Michaelia Mills cored a couple runs.
This led to what was to be the season’s final game, a 7-1 loss against bitter rivals Bishop Kelly. The usually strong offense just could not figure out BK starter Emily Baca, and the usually dominating Arizana was touched up for a six-run third inning, though only two of the runs were earned. The offensive highlight of the day was Marshall’s double and stolen base. Newman also came in to throw four innings of shutout relief.
The Kavemen finished a great year, and Coach Joe Kleffner looks forward to next year, when 11 of 13 players return.