Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain girls softball teams met in a cross-town conference clash on Saturday at Melvin Park and the Crimson Bears swept the Falcons, winning 9-1 in the opener and 13-6 in the non-conference night cap.
“The girls played really well,” Juneau-Douglas coach Alexandra Razor said. “I felt like they looked very confident and comfortable. They didn’t really get rattled. In previous seasons we have seen our teams melt or fall apart if the other team gets an advance or starts hitting but our girls did a really good job just playing defense.”
Thunder Mountain out-hit JDHS 25-20 but the Falcons stranded more runners on base than the Crimson Bears.
“We are still in the path of growth,” Thunder Mountain coach Julie Herman said. “And every time we get to go out and play we are impressed with the group that we have.”
Juneau-Douglas took an early lead in the opening game and never relinquished that comfort.
Crimson Bears’ freshman Kiah Yadao and junior Kaia Smith had two runs batted in for the contest; sophomores Mariah Schauwecker, Anna Dale and Gloria Bixby and senior Mackenzie Jackson one each.
Schauwecker, Dale, Smith and Yadao had two hits each; Bixby and sophomore Saelyr Hunt and freshman Tristan Oliva one each.
Yadao was credited with the win in the circle and struck out two batters, and Schauwecker relieved for one inning.
Thunder Mountain junior Sydney Strong tallied the lone Falcons’ RBI in the top of the third inning with a double that scored senior Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale.
The night-cap game featured two lead changes.
Thunder Mountain scored three runs in the first inning and two in the second while Juneau-Douglas scored two runs in the first inning and tied the game in the bottom of the third.
Falcons’ junior Riley Harp hit a two-out triple in the top of the fourth, scoring Strong for a 6-5 advantage.
The Crimson Bears Hunt earned a lead off walk in the bottom half of the fourth inning, stole second, advanced to third on a Dale single, and scored on a Smith fly ball to tie the game. Oliva then laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Dale and Yadao tripled in two more runs. Bixby followed with another triple that put JDHS up 11-6. The Crimson Bears added a run in the fifth and sixth innings and then closed the plate to the Falcons for the 13-6 win.
Yadao had three RBI for the Crimson Bears; Smith, freshman Mila Hargrave and Bixby two apiece; Hunt, Dale and Oliva one each. Smith had three hits; Hunt, Dale and Hargrave two each; Schauwecker, Oliva, Yadao and Bixby one each. Dale scored three runs; Hunt, Smith, Hargrave and Jackson two each; Schauwecker and Yadao one apiece. Jackson earned three walks.
Freshman Jack Lovejoy led the Falcons with four hits; Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale, Strong and Harp two each; senior Avery Kriescher, Gates, junior Aspen Kasper and junior Anne-Alese Rentrop one each. Harp had two RBI; Gates and Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale one apiece. Strong scored two runs; Kriescher, Gates, Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and Harp one each.
Juneau-Douglas coach Razor credited the Crimson Bears pitching staff of sophomores Schauwecker, Peyton Carson, Bixby, freshman Mila Hargrave and backup sophomore Zoey Billings for the weekend wins.
Schauwecker also earned Friday nights 15-0 three-inning conference win with three strikeouts and was credited for a save on Saturday.
“Mariah has a really positive attitude,” Razor said. “She works hard. She is kind of intense but a good kind of intense. She brings that intensity to the field but leaves it on the field which is great to see.”
The Crimson Bears also had 28 stolen bases on the weekend to the Falcons’ seven. Hunt led JDHS with eight steals.
“We have a really fast team,” Razor said. “And we push them and we are okay with them getting thrown out. We practice stealing, we practice sliding, we practice diving back, we told the girls we want them to be aggressive this year.”
Falcons coach Herman said the pandemic non-season last year combined with the influx of freshmen this season means the team will be steadily improving as the season progresses.
“I thought that after we played on Saturday we were able to hold our heads up,” coach Herman said. “The kids were pretty excited about putting runs on the board and being competitive. We felt awesome being in the lead. We can be competitive in the region. Obviously the ‘W’ would feel good and we are still definitely striving for that. We are kind of just settling into our positions and I think that bodes well for the next couple of weeks.”
Prior to the varsity matchups, junior varsity Falcons’ freshman player Ashlyn Gates hit her first high school home run. Gates also garnished four varsity hits on the weekend.
Herman also said the Falcons’ varsity pitching staff competed well.
“And I thought our outfield moved well together,” she said. “But our coaching staff has quite the drawing board as we go into Sitka.”
Thunder Mountain travels to Sitka’s Moller Field this coming weekend while the Juneau-Douglas girls play at Ketchikan.
JDHS has a 4-0 conference record, Ketchikan is 2-0, TMHS 0-4 and Sitka 0-2.
Above: Juneau-Douglas sophomore Mariah Schauwecker throws a strike against Thunder Mountain on Friday. (Klas Stolpe)