JDHS freshman Gwen Nizich slides into home plate against Kodiak during the Crimson Bears 9-1 win over the Bears on Thursday in the ASAA Division II State Softball Tournament at Anchorage’s Cartee Fields. (Photo Courtesy JDHS Softball)

JDHS freshman Gwen Nizich slides into home plate against Kodiak during the Crimson Bears 9-1 win over the Bears on Thursday in the ASAA Division II State Softball Tournament at Anchorage’s Cartee Fields. (Photo Courtesy JDHS Softball)

JDHS splits first steps of state softball marathon

Crimson Bears girls open tournament with win over Kodiak, loss to North Pole

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears softball team opened the ASAA Division II State Softball Championships with a 9-1 win over Kodiak and a 5-3 loss to North Pole on Thursday at Anchorage’s Cartee Fields.

“It is the first steps of a marathon,” JDHS coach Lexi Razor said. “I think we were hitting consistently from the first inning, so that is helpful. They were a little sleepy this morning but the girls came alive.”

The JDHS Crimson Bears built up a 9-0 lead after four innings against the Kodiak Bears and only needed to stop any major run damage for three outs in the top of the fifth to end the game by run rule.

After giving up a lead off single JDHS sophomore pitcher Taiya Bentz struck out the next batter.

Two more Kodiak players reached on singles that scored Kodiak junior Luana Farmer, but JDHS’ Bentz handled a ground ball and threw to Mila Hargrave at first base for an out. Bentz struck out the next batter to end the game.

Hargrave started the game in the circle and went 3.1 innings, allowed just two hits, walked two batters and struck out six. Bentz relieved for 1.2 innings, allowed three hits and one run and struck out two.

“Mila (Hargrave) did a great job on the mound and Anna (Dale) hit well and obviously played her position really well too,” Razor said. “The whole team played and they all kind of played their role and knew what they needed to do so it was nice to see it all come together.”

Juneau scored a run in the bottom of the first inning as Dale doubled in freshman Gwen Nizich. They added five runs in the second inning as Nizich reached on an error scoring senior Amira Andrews, Dale doubled scoring sophomore Tatum Billings and Nizich, senior Mariah Schauwecker bunted scoring Dale, and Hargrave hit a sacrifice fly scoring Schauwecker.

JDHS scored two more runs in the third inning as Nizich doubled in senior Gloria Bixby and Dale singled in Nizich. The Crimson Bears final run came across in the fourth inning as Hargrave led off the at-bats with a home run.

Dale led the Crimson Bears going 3-3 at the plate with four runs batted in and one run scored. Hargrave had two RBI, Nizich one. Nizich, Hargrave, Andrews, T. Billings, senior Zoey Billings and junior Kiah Yadao had one hit each.

Kodiak senior Ashlyn Bolen led the Bears with one hit and one RBI. Farmer, juniors Shanoah Spear, Addalina Haagensen and Aliesha Miranda had one hit each.

Kodiak sophomore Danica Howell went 2-2 innings, allowed five hits and eight runs, walked four and struck out five. Spear went 1.1 innings, allowed four hits and one run, walked one and struck out one.

“The second game against North Pole was close,” Razor said. “North Pole has strong hitters.”

JDHS scored the first run against North Pole in the top of the first inning as Chloe Casperson singled to center field, advanced to second base on an error, reached third on a passed ball and scored on a ground ball out by Dale.

North Pole scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning for a 4-1 lead.

JDHS added another run in the top of the fifth inning as senior Carlynn Casperson earned a lead off walk and two outs later advanced on passed balls to third base and scored on a single by Ch. Casperson to trail 4-2.

“We had one inning where we had four errors,” Razor said. “That was the inning that kind of cost us because we never really hit enough after that. If we take away those errors in that inning then we win. We just have to figure out how to clean it up and get our bats going like I know they can.”

North Pole senior Madison Kurzenberger hit a lead off home run in the bottom of the fifth for a 5-2 lead.

JDHS’ final run came in the top of the sixth inning as Schauwecker hit a lead off single, advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Yadao.

Ch. Casperson went 2-2 with one walk, one RBI and one run scored to lead the Crimson Bears. Car. Casperson, Hargrave and Yadao earned one walk each. Dale, Yadao and Nizich had one hit each.

Yadao pitched the six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, and striking out five.

North Pole sophomore Savannah Wheaton pitched seven innings, allowed five hits and three runs, walked four and struck out five.

Kurzenberger led North Pole with a 2-3 day at the plate, with two RBI and two runs scored. Senior Lylah Murrah had two hits, and Wheaton and freshman Hunter Barber one RBI apiece.

“North Pole had strong hitters and played a pretty clean defensive game,” Razor said. “They picked us off a couple times with some base running mistakes we had. They played well. I told the team tomorrow (Friday) was the day that matters. If we would have won the game it would have made our schedule a little easier, but we can still win two games tomorrow.”

In other action North Pole beat Kodiak 22-4, Delta topped Kenai 20-8, Delta defeated Sitka 9-1 and Sitka beat Kenai 20-8.

Thursday’s pool play action placed the teams for the double elimination tournament starting today.

Friday Games:

GM1 – 10 a.m. Sitka vs. Kodiak.

GM2 – 12:15 p.m. JDHS vs. Kenai.

GM3 – 2:45 p.m. North Pole vs. GM1 winner.

GM4 – 2:45 p.m. Delta Junction vs. GM2 winner.

GM5 – 5 p.m. elimination, Loser Gm1 vs. Loser Gm4.

GM6 – 5 p.m. elimination, Loser Gm2 vs. Loser Gm3.

Saturday Games:

GM7 – 10 a.m. semifinal, Winner Gm3 vs. Winner Gm4.

GM8 – 10 a.m. elimination, Winner Gm5 vs. Winner Gm6.

GM9 – 12:15 p.m. elimination, Winner Gm8 vs. Loser Gm7.

GM10 – 2:45 p.m. championship, Winner Gm7 vs. Winner Gm9.

• Contact Klas Stolpe at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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