Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé girls softball team will be heading to the state tournament in Anchorage for the first time in five years.
“Our seniors were eighth graders the last time the Crimson Bears were in the state tournament,” Juneau-Douglas coach Alexandra Razor said. “It’s a big deal. Juneau-Douglas used to be at state every year. For us, it is just being mentally strong and taking one pitch at a time. One play at a time. And not get caught up in the whole end theme but focus more on what we can do right now in this moment.”
The Crimson Bears will represent Southeast as the number two seed as they fell to Ketchikan 13-9 in the Region V championship game.
Ketchikan, with four seniors and seven juniors on the roster, led 12-2 in the top of the fifth inning and Juneau-Douglas needed to score in the bottom half to extend the game.
“We had to score or they would have run-ruled us,” Razor said. “And our girls scored. They put some runs on the board to keep us in the game. They are not giving up and they are talking about it and figuring out what they need to do.”
Sophomore Anna Dale and junior Kaia Smith led the Crimson Bears with three hits apiece. Smith, freshman Kiah Yadao and senior Jojo Griggs led with two RBI each. Freshman Tristan Oliva led with three runs scored, sophomore Mariah Schauwecker and Dale scored two runs apiece and Smith one.
Schauwecker went four innings on the mound, allowing seven hits and nine runs. Freshman Mila Hargrave three innings with four hits and four runs allowed while striking out three and walking two.
“Ketchikan is a good team,” Razor said. “They have a lot of experience and composure but I do think they are beatable. I do think if we are able to play the game that we can play then we can come ahead of them. We have a long team but our upperclassmen that we do have are strong leaders for us. And we have some underclassmen who are stepping up and taking leadership roles, so that is exciting.”
It took some work to earn the state berth for the Crimson Bears.
Juneau-Douglas opened with a 6-0 win over Sitka.
Schauwecker and Yadao shared the mound through the seven innings. Schauwecker struck out one in three innings and allowed just four hits. Yadao struck out eight in four innings while allowing one hit.
Sophomore Saelyr Hunt led Crimson Bears batters with two RBI. Dale and Oliva led with two hits apiece. Hunt, Schauwecker, Dale, Smith, Oliva and Hargrave each scored one run.
Juneau-Douglas then fell to Ketchikan 6-4.
Schauwecker started and went 1.1 innings, allowing four hits and two runs. Yadao relieved for 4.2 innings and allowed six hits and four runs while striking out five.
Hunt collected three hits, Schauwecker, Dale, Smith, Oliva, Griggs and sophomore Zoey Billings one each. Hunt, Schauwecker, Dale and Griggs scored one run each. Oliva and Billings had one RBI apiece.
In an elimination game the Crimson Bears powered past Thunder Mountain 16-0 to set up the title game, and a rematch against Kayhi.
The Crimson Bears exploded for 12 runs in their second at bat against the Falcons and ended the game after three innings.
Yadao kept the Falcons scoreless, allowing just two hits and striking out two.
Dale led with six RBI and three hits. Hunt, Schauwecker and Dale scored three runs each.
“When we looked at some of our stats our team had hit better this past weekend than we have all season,” Razor said. “While we left some batters on base we see we are still improving and getting to where we need to be.”
The Crimson Bears will open state play on Thursday in a round robin format for seeding. They will play at 12:15 p.m. against North Pole and at 5 p.m. against Homer. Ketchikan opens against Delta Junction at 10 a.m. and Kodiak at 2:45 p.m.
The state tournament runs through Saturday at Anchorage’s Cartee Fields.
Thunder Mountain fell in the region tournament to Ketchikan by the score of 6-5 and beat Sitka 9-1 before losing to JDHS in the elimination game.
Junior Aspen Kasper started against Ketchikan and went 3.2 innings and took the loss. Freshman Ashlyn Gates relieved for 2.1 innings. Junior Sydney Strong led with three hits. Strong and Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale had two runs apiece. Strong had one RBI.
Freshman Jack Lovejoy started against Sitka and went three innings, allowing 11 hits and striking out one. Senior Avery Kreischer relieved for two innings and struck out two.
S. Strong led with three RBI. Kreischer and Kara Strong led with three hits apiece. Kreischer, Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and S. Strong led with two runs scored each.