Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Anna Dale is hugged by classmate Gloria Bixby (12) as players celebrate her game winning hit during Saturday’s extra inning win over Ketchikan at Melvin Park. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau empire).

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Anna Dale is hugged by classmate Gloria Bixby (12) as players celebrate her game winning hit during Saturday’s extra inning win over Ketchikan at Melvin Park. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau empire).

Crimson Bears go ‘international’ over Lady Kings

Saturday extra-inning win was continuation of Thursday game

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Anna Dale put an exclamation rap on Ketchikan senior pitcher Mackenzie Pahang’s yellow spinning orb and put it to the gap in right center field to score Crimson Bears junior Chloe Casperson for a 12-11 walk-off extra-inning win over the Lady Kings on Saturday at Melvin Park in a continuation game from Thursday night.

“I think we all kind of took a breath from Thursday night,” JDHS’ Dale said, of the gap between the start and the finish of the game. “It was our first home game on Thursday. I think we were all pretty nervous. We didn’t play our best. And Mackenzie (Pahang) was on fire today, we couldn’t quite catch up to her in the beginning.”

Play resumed on Saturday in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 7-7 tie with Crimson Bears senior Carlynn Casperson on first base and sister Chloe Casperson laying down a sacrifice bunt to move her sibling to second. But Kayhi’s Pahang knuckled down and struck out sophomore Milina Mazon, and senior Mariah Schauwecker. Chloe Casperson advanced to third on a wild pitch but Dale also fell to the opposing pitcher.

The game went to international rules and a runner was placed at second base to start each at bat.

Kayhi sophomore Mylee Gray began on base in the top of the eighth.

JDHS junior pitcher Mila Hargrave put Kayhi’s first batter down but Lady Kings’ senior Faith Easterly earned a walk and Pahang helped her own cause with a home run over the right field fence for an 11-7 lead.

“After they got the big lead we looked like we were in trouble but we never gave up,” Dale said.

JDHS’ Hargrave fielded a ground ball and Chloe Casperson caught one in the air to get out of the inning.

Dale stood on second to start the bottom of the eighth and Hargrave put a three ball two strike pitch past the left field fence to cut the Kayhi lead to 11-9.

JDHS senior Gloria Bixby earned a walk and freshman Gwen Nizich put a two ball count well past the center field fence to tie the game at 11-11.

Kayhi got out of the inning and sophomore speedster Vienna Pahang was placed at second in the top of the ninth.

JDHS’ Hargrave struck out their first two batters and walked anotherm but JDHS catcher Dale gunned the ball to third baseman Mazon at third base to catch Pahang on an attempted steal.

The bottom of the ninth looked dismal for JDHS as their first two batters went down with Chloe Casperson standing on second base but Dale put a line drive to the center field fence and Chloe Casperson scored to end the game 12-11.

“I think I was more of just relieved,” Dale said. “When you have a runner on second and you only need one run you just have to make connection and make a base hit and that is what I was going for.”

JDHS coach Lexi Razor noted the win was a defining moment for the Crimson Bears.

“We coaches didn’t know they had it in them to come back after that home run Pahang hit,” Razor said. “I think it is really important for us to have those close games and for them to fight through it so they know they can do it and not give up. It was definitely a long day but a good day.”

JDHS would improve to 13-0 on the season with two more wins on Saturday.

The Crimson Bears worked past Ketchikan again by the score of 7-5 behind a home run and three runs batted in from Dale, three hits from Schauwecker, and a pair of RBI from Schauwecker and Hargrave. Hargrave put another four innings in with three strikeouts, Bixby put in 2.2 innings in the circle with three strikeouts and junior Kiah Yadao closed the game with a strikeout.

JDHS next toppled Sitka 14-2. Nizich rocketed her second home run of the day in a nine-run first inning that included scoring hits by Schauwecker, Hargrave, Yadao, Billings, Carlynn Casperson and Chloe Casperson.

Nizich, senior Zoey Billings and Chloe Casperson led with two RBI each; Dale, Schauwecker and Hargrave led with two hits each; Nizich scored three runs and Dale, Schauwecker, Hargrave and Ch. Casperson two each.

Schauwecker pitched the full run-shortened four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three.

“It is pretty exciting,” Razor said. “The last game they really started hitting like we have been hitting in all the previous series. I don’t know if it is nerves or first time playing on our home field but we weren’t hitting as well. That last game against Sitka they were just relaxed and hitting the ball and having fun. We have a lot of potential and we have a lot of upperclassmen that are leading the group. It is exciting to see them all come together. Even the players on the bench are together as a team.”

Coming into the weekend JDHS had not hit a home run. They had seven this weekend including one from first year JV player Quinn Branch in her first at bat.

JDHS also earned a 10-9 win over Sitka on Friday.

“I think we are in a good situation,” Dale said. “These games were really close this weekend and I definitely think we are a better team coming out of this weekend than we were three days ago. They put up tough competition and we were able to show what we could do.”

The Crimson Bears will finish their season at Melvin Park hosting Thunder Mountain on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (JV 5:30 p.m.) and again on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (JV 11 a.m.) The Crimson Bears senior honors will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The softball Region V tournament is May 25-27 at Sitka.

JDHS has already qualified as the No. 1 SEC seed to the state tournament in Anchorage, June 1-3, by virtue of the top regular-season record.

As far as region titles JDHS took the crown from 1993-2004 but did not win another until 2014 and none since the new tournament format began in 2017 — regular season winner and region tournament winner (if same then the region runner-up is second SEC seed to state)

Last season, the Crimson Bears finished fourth in the region tournament while Ketchikan went on to win state and Thunder Mountain was runner-up. JDHS won state in 2021 as the second seed from southeast.

“We haven’t won the region tournament yet and we would like to do that,” Razor said.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé freshman Gwen Nizich connects for a home run during Saturday’s extra inning win over Ketchikan at Melvin Park. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau empire).

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé freshman Gwen Nizich connects for a home run during Saturday’s extra inning win over Ketchikan at Melvin Park. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau empire).

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