JDHS, TMHS softball on state tourny collision course

Juneau’s prep softball teams are on a one-way trip through the Alaska small school state softball bracket. The destination: an all-Juneau state championship match.

Juneau-Douglas High School and Thunder Mountain High School both won their first two games at the Alaska School Activities Association state championships this weekend in Fairbanks and are set to face each other in the semifinal showdown at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. The winner will be one win away from a state title while the loser of the 9 a.m. semifinal will head to a championship play-in game in the loser’s bracket at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The winner of the 11:30 play-in game will go on the championship Saturday at 2 p.m. Whichever team makes it out of that play-in game will have to beat their opponents twice to take the title per “true double-elimination” tournament rules.

Second Round: JDHS 9, Homer 1

JDHS beat Homer High School handily in their second-round game, with senior pitcher Quincy Bates scattering five hits from the mound with an efficient 42 strikes on 62 pitches.

The game remained scoreless for the first two innings before JDHS put up five runs in the third inning off RBI sacrifice flies from Sami Good and Morgan Balovich, a single from Leah Spargo, double from Bates and triple from Amanda Bicknell. JDHS piled four more runs on in the fourth and Homer scored their single run in the bottom of the fifth before the game was called due to the mercy rule.

The Crimson Bears had faced Homer once already this year, topping them 17-5 in a regular season matchup.

TMHS 3, Hutchison 2

In contrast to their opening round route of Soldotna, Thunder Mountain had to battle their way to 3-2 win in a defense-heavy matchup against Hutchison High School in the second round.

Thunder Mountain jumped to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Haleigh Dicarlo scored off a wild pitch and Mikayla Harp plated Alondra Echiverri off a grounder. Hutchison tied the game in the third when two players reached on an error.

With bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Harp earned the crucial third run with her eyes, earning a walk which brought Dicarlo home.

The game would remain tense but scoreless for the last four innings before TMHS could declare themselves winners. TMHS secured the win despite being outhit 2-6.

Opening round: JDHS 9, North Pole 8

JDHS earned their decisive lead in the sixth inning in the back-and-forth match early Friday afternoon with the North Pole Patriots, winning 9-8.

After going down 6-5 in the fifth, the Crimson Bears battled back in the sixth with four runs. In the sixth, Sami Good scored the tying run by reaching home on an error, Amanda Bicknell gave her team the 7-6 lead with a bunt, and Skylar Hickok drove in two runs on a triple to right field to give the Crimson Bears the lead with one frame to go.

The Crimson Bears bit their nails in the seventh when North Pole rallied back within one run, but JDHS closed the game out cooly by picking off three fly balls and ending the Patriots’ rally.

Eight JDHS players earned hits in the game, with Morgan Balovich and Sami Good leading the way by each going 3-4 at the plate.

Leah Spargo started the game on the mound, earning seven strikeouts on four innings pitched. Quincy Bates replaced Spargo in the fifth to close the game out with three strikeouts in three innings.

TMHS 11, Soldotna 1

The Falcons blasted their way through the Soldotna Stars 11-1 in the opening round. TMHS pitcher Taylor Beardslee commanded the mound with an impressive nine strikeouts in five innings pitched.

Thunder Mountain scored two runs in the first, five in the fourth and four in the sixth before the game was ended by the mercy rule. The Falcons’ five-run fourth inning gave them a 7-0 lead that Soldotna was unable to whittle down.

Haleigh Dicarlo, Maxie Saceda-Hurt and Makayla Harp all had three hits on four at bats. Nine Falcons had hits in the game.

Harp came in as relief for Beardslee in the sixth inning, striking a batter out in her single inning pitched.

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