Defending State Champ JDHS Opens Softball Season at Sitka

    The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears girls softball team pose for a photo during the Sitka Invitational on Friday. (photo courtesy JDHS Softball)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The defending Division II state softball champion Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears opened the 2022 season at the Sitka Softball Invitational on Moller Field over the weekend.

      The Crimson Bears played eight, 65-minute games in a three-day, mini round-robin tournament with Thunder Mountain, Sitka, Chugiak and Palmer, compiling a 4-3-1 record.

      On Thursday, JDHS defeated Palmer 5-0 and Sitka 5-4 and fell to TMHS, 7-2.

      “It feels nice,” JDHS coach Lexie Razor said after Thursday’s games. “We don’t have all our team here so everybody is working hard. You never know what you are going to get when you first start a season. They were good wins and good games. They are moving well as a team, they are backing each other up, they are getting to the position they need to and they are just working hard.”

      The Crimson Bears graduated all-state tournament selection Mackenzie Jackson along with Johanna Griggs, Julianne Soriano and Anna Wu and also lost junior Saelyr Hunt to relocation.

      The Crimson Bears return a pair of all-state tournament selections in junior Mariah Schauwecker and sophomore Kiah Yadao and state tournament players of the game with junior Anna Dale and sophomore Tristan Oliva.

      Also returning are championship team members including juniors Zoey Billings, Carlynn Casperson and Gloria Bixby, and sophomores Mila Hargrave and Chloe Casperson. Also on the roster are senior Elin Antaya, juniors Amira Andrews and Bailey Hansen, and freshmen Tatum Billings, Milina Mazon and Taiya Bentz.

      JV players include senior Kalila Arreola, sophomores Jordan Bennett, Denali Isaak, Meadow Stanley, and freshmen Bristol Casperson, Ella Schmidt, Haylee Baxter, Jackie Smith Russell and Kayla Peter.

      “We played a lot of players in new positions,” Razor said of the Sitka tournament. “We only had three girls that were returning varsity players playing a position they had played last year. Anna Dale caught for us and she was our catcher last year… Mariah Schauwecker pitched for us but she also played a lot of shortstop, whereas last year she was a second baseman… and Gloria Bixby pitched for us, as she did last year and she also played some second base. But she played some first base when we needed her… Overall I felt like, as a team, we did pretty good considering how new we were. We communicated well. We made the correct plays. There wasn’t many times that we miscommunicated and when we did we were able to talk about it and fix it…”

     Against Palmer on Thursday, Schauwecker threw four shutout innings and allowed just two hits and struck out six. Z. Billings had two RBI, Chloe Casperson and T. Billings one apiece.

      Against Sitka, Bixby pitched the win and T. Bentz had two RBI.

      Against TMHS, Casperson had two hits, Schauwecker and T. Billings scored the lone runs. Bixby went three innings in the circle and Bentz relieved.

      On Friday JDHS defeated Palmer 15-0 and fell to Chugiak 3-1.

      Against Palmer, Oliva had four RBI, Casperson, Dale and T. Billings two each. Oliva had two hits and Bentz went the distance in the circle.

      Against Chugiak, Oliva had two hits and scored one run. Bentz had one hit and one RBI. Schauwecker went the distance in the circle with four strikeouts and allowing just two hits.

      On Saturday JDHS tied Chugiak 4-4 in their final round robin game.

      In the Chugiak tie, Z. Billings had two hits and scored two runs, Casperson had two RBI and Schauwecker earned two strikeouts in the circle while allowing just three hits.

      A single elimination tournament began Saturday and JDHS defeated Palmer 13-0 and fell to Chugiak 5-2.

      Against Palmer, Dale had two hits, four RBI and scored a run. Bixby and Z. Billings had two hits. Z. Billings and T. Billings scored two runs. Casperson and Z. Billings had two RBI apiece and Oliva, Bixby, T. Billings and Hansen one each. Bixby went three innings in the circle with three strikeouts and Bentz relieved for an inning with two strikeouts.

      In the tournament title game against Chugiak, Oliva and Bixby had one RBI apiece. Oliva, Schauwecker, Z. Billings and Bixby one hit each. Schauwecker and Oliva scored the lone runs. Bixby started in the circle and went two innings, Schauwecker relived for 1.2 innings and had two strikeouts.

      “We could probably improve on our base running,” Razor said. “We were not as strong of base runners as we can be. We saw some things we need to practice as a team and find ways for girls to realize that they can do better.”

      Razor said many players stood out.

      “Anna Dale caught all eight games,” Razor said. “She worked really hard and did a really good job and is stepping into a leadership role, which is really good to see. I think Mariah (Schauwecker) and Gloria (Bixby) also did a great job, they are our other two leaders on the team. Chloe Casperson did an excellent job in center field, learning that position and learning what it takes to guide the outfield. Two freshmen, Taiya Bentz and Tatum Billings, they both did a really great job, their first time playing varsity games - starting, playing, all of that, I thought they did really well…”

    Above - The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears girls softball team pose for a photo at the Sitka airport on Thursday. (photo courtesy JDHS softball).

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