Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, being hugged by the JDHS coaching staff, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, being hugged by the JDHS coaching staff, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

JDHS softball star Mila Hargrave signs to the circle at Pacific Lutheran University

Multi-sport athlete will pitch for the Lutes.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave signed a national letter of intent on Monday in the JDHS George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University, where she will put her athletic talents on display for the Lutes.

“I loved the school,” Hargrave said. “I met with the coach and the team and thought they were great. I thought they were really nice. I like Washington. I grew up going there every summer. It is by relatives, and I liked that the school was smaller. It was also one of my cheapest options by a lot, so it is definitely going to be nice to graduate close to debt free.”

Hargrave, a four-year Crimson Bears softball star, is currently ranked first in the state for pitchers with a 1.650 ERA (earned run average). She also has six home runs this season and a batting average of 0.438. She began to dominate from the circle during her junior season in which she finished with an ERA of 1.826 (the lowest in the state), a batting average of 0.397 (6 HR, 32 RBI), and a fielding average of 0.992, with just one error in 127 attempts.

“I would say I have a pretty good attitude and I have a lot of potential, that is what everyone tells me,” Hargrave said. “My glass is only a quarter of the way full. So I think with their good coaching I can get way better and help them in my future years. I will definitely have to work on my change-up and just learning to compete at a higher level.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, shown with JDHS softball team members, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, shown with JDHS softball team members, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

PLU is a NCAA Division III program competing in the Northwest Conference. The campus is located in Parkland, Washington.

This year, the Lutes were young in experience and players moved in positions more than normal until late in the season, when the program’s longest winning streak in 20 years ended in an opening round tournament loss to eventual champion Lewis and Clark. The Lutes then stayed alive with a tournament win over Willamette before falling again to L&C and placing third. Hargrave is expected to bolster a young returning roster.

“First off, for everything outside of softball she is a perfect fit for what we look for at PLU,” PLU head coach Traci Barrett said. “Great student, great person, very committed to her sport, her parents are awesome and athletically what I love about her is she has had to carry a lot of weight on her shoulders for her team to be successful. Like anybody who steps into the circle, a lot is on your shoulders and where she stands in Alaska and the strength she has provided for her team and teammates that is a good thing coming into college…We are looking for someone who is used to carrying a load and step up in big ways when they get here and are not afraid to do that. Obviously she is a really talented pitcher, she is really long. We are looking forward to continuing to help her develop in the circle.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Barrett has watched Hargrave play on a California club team, on film and in workouts at the PLU pitching camp. She likes Hargrave’s love for the sport and her ability to hit and fill in at another position, as was demonstrated this season when JDHS needed a shortstop.

“Honestly the experience she has had just being the ‘one’ will help her and us at the college level,” Barrett said. “When you get into college there are a couple pitchers carrying the load so just her experience level and she has a great off-speed pitch. We see a lot of untapped potential with her length…We are familiar with what she brings to the circle.”

“Luteville” has 286 conference team championships and 11 national titles. The softball team’s last national title was in 2012. Over the past five seasons, the team has been put itself into position to reach that level again. A level where they are known for never going away and where they can’t be counted out until the game is over.

“We’re looking for a championship,” Barrett said. “Anybody we bring into the program we believe is going to help us get back to the championship. At the end of the day that is the goal…but we have a lot of fun and have a lot of energy, and I think Mila brings that real positive energy and love of the game that you have to have when you get to this level.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave autographs a softball as junior teammate Bristol Casperson and senior teammate Kiah Yadao look on in the George Houston Gymnasium on Monday before Hargrave signed a national letter of intent to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave autographs a softball as junior teammate Bristol Casperson and senior teammate Kiah Yadao look on in the George Houston Gymnasium on Monday before Hargrave signed a national letter of intent to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

The Lutes graduate seven seniors. They return a strong class and have experience developing freshmen that includes finding experience and growth in their pitching rotation and figuring out where they can fit in and compete to get on the field.

“We love that Mila is a ‘no fear, get out there, figure out how to win’ player,” Barrett said. “If you don’t have that mindset at the collegiate level it is really hard to compete to get onto the field. Just that spirit of competitiveness and the fact she is a top-rated player in Alaska the past couple of years. I know that is something you get when you work really hard and do the things you are going to have to do when you get to us. All the things that kind of make up her as a player are a great fit for us and what we are excited about.”

Parents Dallas and Sarah Hargrave are PLU alumni from 1996 and 1998, respectively.

“I am excited she is going to play softball, and I am excited that she is going to be at PLU,” Sarah Hargrave said. “She has a great attitude, and she very much wants to help the team overall. She is a team player and has a great skill set. I don’t know all that much about sports so this is a learning curve for me. And she loves the game.”

Dallas Hargrave said the decision was his daughter’s.

“There was no pressure there,” he said. “It is kind of fun. It is neat to have that connection. She didn’t grow up with PLU garb, but now she’s got it.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, shown with mother Sarah and father Dallas, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, shown with mother Sarah and father Dallas, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Mila Hargrave also has numerous conference and state recognitions in basketball and volleyball.

She has received the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Award (NFCA) as a First Team Pitcher of the Year for Region 3, and in January represented the United States in the Netherlands Indoor Cup.

“It is pretty exciting because we were talking to Mila for years asking her to play college,” JDHS coach Alexandra Razor said. “She finally realized that she was good enough at the end of last season and she wanted to. It is exciting to see her have this opportunity to continue to play softball and continue to grow.”

Hargrave led the Crimson Bears to the state title last season and received All-State Tournament selection and two Player of the Game selections at that venue. She was also on the 2021 state championship team.

“I am going to miss the support that I had,” Hargrave said. “Everyone here, all the coaches were helping me. Even growing up before I got to high school they were helpful and then my support system in high school has just been amazing.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, shown with her parents and JDHS coaches, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Mila Hargrave, shown with her parents and JDHS coaches, signed a national letter of intent on Monday at the George Houston Gymnasium to attend Pacific Lutheran University and play softball for the Lutes. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Hargrave plans to major in business and marketing.

“I do have goals,” she said. “I just want to travel and I want to see the world and I want to become part of a marketing or business industry but I don’t have a clear vision of what I am going to do.”

Before heading off to college, Hargrave and the Crimson Bears will host the Region V Championships and try to defend their state title a week later.

“State is just different because we know all the teams we are going to play here. At state, it is different teams and you don’t really know what to expect, but in previous years it has been harder to play the teams in Southeast.”

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