Lady Tigers win district softball tourney; advance to state
The Mountain Home Lady Tigers hope the third time is the charm.
After winning the District III 4A softball tournament for the third straight year, the Lady Tigers head to state again hoping to finally win it all, after finishing second the past two years.
Mountain Home claimed this year's district title with shutout wins over Bishop Kelly, Skyview and Emmett.
Mtn. Home 10
Bishop Kelly 0
The Lady Tigers had beaten Bishop Kelly 10-0 twice during the regular season, and the third time proved to be no different, as the Lady Tigers again beat them, 10-0, last Tuesday to open the District III 4A Softball Tournament at Emmett.
Mountain Home got two runs in the first and second innings, and five in the third to pull away for the win.
"It's nice to open with a win and get out on them early," said Lady Tiger softball coach Chris Asbury of the Bishop Kelly win.
Arlene Futch, Nickayla Skinner, Ashley Christiansen and Lindsay Sessions all had two hits. Skinner had a double, a home run and an RBI, Futch had a triple and two RBIs, Christiansen had a double and RBI, and Sessions had an RBI. Jennica Quintal, Kelsie Hopkins and Madison Siefferman each had hits (Quintal had two RBIs, Hopkins, one).
Nickayla Skinner limited the Lady Knights to just one hit while striking out 11 batters.
Mtn. Home 1
Charde Huntington's walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning broke up a great pitching duel between Mountain Home's Nickayla Skinner and Skyview's Stephanie Dyer, and gave the Lady Tigers a 1-0 win last Wednesday in the semi-finals. Charde's game-winning hit was the only hit in the game, as Skinner and Dyer battled.
"It was really nerve-racking, I'm not going to lie, because the last few games I haven't been hitting very good," said Huntington after the game. "I came out trying to make contact with the ball, and kind of just kept going, and it felt pretty good."
Nickayla Skinner, who did not allow a hit while striking out 15, walking one and hitting one said she was relieved when Charde hit it out.
"I started crying when Charde hit that home run. It had been nerve-racking!"
"For some reason, they (Skyview) pose a weird match-up problem -- we don't see Dyer that well from the circle," said Coach Asbury. "But we found a way to get it done, and at this point in the season that's what it comes down to -- somebody stepping up and getting it done. Char's been struggling at the plate, and we moved her down in the order tonight, and she came through big. The girls deserve all the credit!"
Mtn. Home 5
Mountain Home faced Emmett for the district title on Friday, and played some great defense and got timely hitting to down the Lady Huskies 5-0 for the district title, their third straight.
Nickayla Skinner and McKenna Mattingly were involved in a scoreless pitching duel through the first three innings.
In the Emmett fourth, Alaura Seley worked a walk off Skinner to start the inning off, and Sam Adkinson followed with a single to right, putting runners on first and second with no outs. McKenna Mattingly then hit a hard line drive to Lady Tiger second baseman Arlene Futch, who caught it, and flipped the ball to shortstop Madison Siefferman covering the bag at second to double off Seley, and there were two outs with Adkinson at first.
Skinner then got Shelby Lambert to hit a grounder back to her, and she threw her out at first to get out of the inning.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Mountain Home took advantage of a hit, a walk and two errors to push across a run to lead 1-0.
In the fifth inning, after Kelsie Hopkins had doubled with two out, Nickayla Skinner smashed her 11th home run of the season to make it 3-0.
Mountain Home got their running game going in the sixth to plate two more runs to increase the lead to 5-0.
Nickayla Skinner set the Lady Huskies down in order in the seventh as Mountain Home gained its third straight district championship.
"It was beautiful," said Coach Asbury of the win. "We executed things that we wanted to do, but it took us a little time -- McKenna's a heck of a pitcher -- we made great contact off her early, and it started coming together there in the fourth, and we ran the bases extremely well and took advantage of some things we've practiced all year, so it came together beautifully tonight, and we got the three-peat!"
Kelsie Hopkins and Jennica Quintal both had two hits, Hopkins had a double, and Nickayla Skinner and Madison Siefferman also had hits. Skinner's was a two-run home run.
Skinner blanked the Lady Huskies on three hits, striking out 10 to improve to 19-1 on the season.
The Lady Tigers head to Post Falls for the 4A State Softball Tournament, which starts tomorrow, and runs through Saturday.
The Lady Tigers will open at 4 p.m. (MDT) tomorrow against Pocatello, a team they beat in extra innings at state last year.
Fans can follow the Lady Tigers on KMHI AM 1240 throughout the state tourney.