Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The first home run of the season for the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears came with a bonus on Saturday _ three of them. Junior Anna Dale’s first career home run blast into the left field corner in the bottom of the third inning off Sitka pitcher Harlee Nelson bounced just fair inside the foul line pole above the fence for a grand slam that brought home sophomores Peyton Carson from third base, Saelyr Hunt from second and Mariah Schauwecker from first and put the Crimson Bears up 12-1.
“I’m happy. It boosted my energy and confidence,” Dale said. “At first it was curving and I thought it was foul and then it hit the foul pole and I wasn’t sure what to do. After they said to go home I was really happy. It was a little bit of pressure, but our coaches help us to handle the pressure. I think our coaches have been coaching us pretty well for the last few months and it paid off. It hyped our team up, which was good.”
Dale led off the third inning with a double, advanced to third on a single by junior Kaia Smith and scored on a single by freshman Tristan Oliva.
The monster day for Dale included six RBI, three runs scored and going 3-3 at the plate.
Dale batted third to open the game and hit a double off Sitka pitcher Kayia Balovich that scored Hunt and Schauwecker, who had walked. Dale scored on a ground ball out from Oliva.
The Crimson Bears scored a game-ending run in the bottom of the fourth when senior Mackenzie Jackson opened the inning with a walk, advanced on a walk to freshman Mila Hargrave and sophomore Carlynn Casperson being hit by a pitch. Casperson was picked off base which would play into the distraction on the Sitka pitcher and senior Anna Wu walked. Hunt lifted a fly ball out to left field that allowed Jackson to tag up and score, ending the game by run rules.
Sitka’s lone run came in the top of the third as Adriana Denkinger singled, advanced on outs and scored on an error.
Oliva added two RBI and Hunt, Jackson, Yadao and Carson one each. Hunt, Schauwecker and Jackson scored two runs, and Smith, Yadao, senior Jojo Griggs and Carson one each. Jackson had two hits, Smith, Oliva and Carson one each.
Schauwecker pitched the four innings, allowed just two hits, the one run, and struck out three and walked three.
Juneau-Douglas also defeated Sitka on Friday 11-9 following the Crimson Bears senior appreciation honors for Jackson, Wu, Griggs and Julianne Soriano.
“I am feeling very thankful,” Jackson said. “I couldn’t do it without my coaches and my teammates and the support of parents and family and friends. But I would really like to thank my coaches and my teammates the most because I couldn’t do it without them for my senior year.”
Jackson said she likes her position at third base.
“I just love the fast pace,” she said. “I get kind of bored really fast so third base keeps me kind of on my toes and I like the quick reactions where I don’t have to wait for the ball.”
The game featured eight stolen bases by the Crimson Bears, a number they replicated the following day.
Hunt, who hasn’t been put out in 20 steal attempts, commented on her multi-steal nights.
“I get a big lead and then I watch what the catcher does,” Hunt said. “If she fakes it she doesn’t usually throw it so I’m pretty ready to steal the base on that. But I just like getting around and I think I am pretty fast. Being smart is key.”
Dale said the team’s bats were important for base runners.
Carson had 4 RBI in the game, Schauwecker and Smith two apiece, and Griggs one. Hunt and Griggs had two hits apiece, and Schauwecker, Dale, Smith, Oliva, Yadao and Carson one each. Griggs scored three runs, Schauwecker, Dale and Yadao two each, and Hunt and Jackson one apiece.
Schauwecker started on the mound and went 2.1 innings, allowing four hits and seven runs, and striking out one and walking three. Yadao relieved for 4.2 innings, allowed three hits and two runs, and struck out three and walked one.
“It was a great weekend,” Juneau-Douglas coach Alexandra Razor said. “Senior night was really good and today the girls really started hitting like they can, in the rain and all.”
Razor said the Friday game was intense.
“It was back and forth,” she said. “I am glad the girls were able to keep their heads up and keep playing good. And we have been aggressive on the base paths and it has been paying off. We are just going to keep doing it. We know we may be thrown out occasionally but we are going to reap more rewards.”
Razor also noted that first baseman Kaia Smith was stepping up as a leader, Schauwecker was becoming solid on the mound, and the team’s bats were heating up, which allowed the team to execute plays.
Juneau-Douglas next plays at Thunder Mountain at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday for the Falcons senior appreciation and final home game on Dimond Park Fields.
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