Juneau-Douglas base runner Tristan Oliva is safe at second base as Sitka senior Nai’a Nelson defends, Saturday at Moller Field. Juneau won the softball game, part of a three-day home tourney in Sitka. (Sitka Sentinel photo)

JDHS, TMHS turn in strong showings at three-day softball tournament in Sitka

Competing in their first home games of the season, Sitka High’s Lady Wolves softball players won against a variety of teams in a tournament this past weekend, but came up short against Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas.

Teams from Sitka, Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain, Ketchikan, North Pole, Palmer and Homer competed for three days under sunny skies at Moller Field. Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé put up a 6-1 won/loss record, while Thunder Mountain High School went 5-1, according to MaxPreps.

Sitka led off Thursday by blanking Homer 10-0 and taking down the North Pole Patriots 13-3. Later Thursday, a walk-off hit in the sixth inning gave Sitka a 3-2 win over Thunder Mountain.

On Friday the Lady Wolves took an early lead in their match-up with Ketchikan, only to see the Kings stage a late rally and claim a 13-6 victory.

A number of fielding errors by Sitka, as well as adaptable hitting by Kayhi, gave the Kings an edge in that game, SHS sophomore Ally Mayville said.

“This whole season, we haven’t been used to hitters picking up our pitchers, like Kaiya (Balovich), super fast,” Mayville said. “So I think we were kind of surprised that they could read her super fast and they were getting good hits. And then we got a bunch of compacted errors, and they started building up and then they kind of capitalized on our errors.”

Though Sitka initially held a multi-run lead, the Wolves’ batters couldn’t keep up the pace in later innings.

“Then when we got back on offense, our bats just weren’t where they were in the first inning,” said Wolves left fielder Sadie Saline.

The squad needs to improve on “bunt coverages and coming back really fast from errors,” she added.

Looking forward, senior shortstop Nai’a Nelson would like her team to limit errors, and likewise highlighted the need for better defense against bunting.

“We just got really hot in the beginning and took the field and couldn’t really rein it in. So that’s going to cause some errors… I think that was our first game experiencing that. So that was kind of the learning point in the game. We’re going to take that experience and learn from it. And the sooner that happens, the better we will be in the long run,” Nelson said.

The Lady Wolves followed up with a near-insurmountable early lead at the top of the first inning against the North Pole Patriots, scoring 12 runs in short order. On offense, the Patriots stumbled and didn’t score until the third and the final inning.

Nai’a Nelson hit a triple early on, scoring 2 runs in the process. Coming out of the loss against Kayhi, she said, the Wolves were ready for another round of softball.

“After a loss, you kind of have to redeem yourself,” Nelson said after the North Pole game. “And that was just one of the games where you build your confidence back up and remember what kind of team you actually are. And we’re a hitting team. So we really had to show it that game and prove to ourselves.”

Mayville said the Lady Wolves were determined to win after falling to Kayhi.

“Coming like right out of that tough loss, it really just, you know, put a fire under… under our bats, it really just gave us some good fuel to realize that we can’t come in expecting anything, we have to work for everything that we get,” Mayville said.

In moments such as the first inning against the Patriots, she continued, hitting can be contagious as the team’s bats come alive.

“I’ve noticed when one girl picks up a good hit, it’s just like one after the other,” Mayville said. “We build off of each other’s momentum. And then Delilah (Callahan) and I, Chalic (Brenton), they all do a really good job of picking everybody up in the dugout. So once you go up to bat, you’re just feeling good about yourself. You’re feeling confident and you’re ready to hit the ball.”

Saline felt the same about Friday’s final game.

“We were on a roll for everything. And then like Ally said, we felt when one person falls down and they give off that type of energy, we all kind of pick it up,” she said.

Sitka coach Jael McCarty was happy with her team’s performance in their second tournament of the season, in which they now have a 13-2 winning record.

“I’m feeling really good about this season and this team – I can’t wait to get after it… I’m not a bit bothered by our losses, softball is a game of ups and downs,” McCarty said. “Any given day any of the Southeast teams can take down another, we are a conference of giants. We are sticking to our game plan: stick together, be challenged, and get better everyday.

On Saturday, Sitka blanked Homer again, this time 13-0, but fell to Juneau-Douglas 5-1. Also in the tourney, Juneau steamrolled Palmer 14-1 Thursday, but fell 6-1 against Ketchikan, J-D’s sole loss of the tourney. The Crimson Bears flipped the script and beat Kayhi Friday 2-0, the beat Homer 11-1. On Saturday, Juneau followed their win over Sitka by beating Palmer 9-0 and North Pole 9-7.

More in Sports

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Ida Meyer (301) and Etta Eller (294) lead the 3,200 at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Track and Field State Championships on Saturday. (Pete Pounds / Alaska Sports Report)
JDHS’ Etta Eller takes gold, Ida Meyer silver in 3,200 at state track and field championships

Eller also wins 1,600; Wilder Dillingham wins 200 during event in Anchorage.

An orange-crowned warbler looks for bugs on a willow (Photo by K.M. Hocker)
Thunder Mountain High School pitcher Jack Lovejoy catches a line-drive hit to end the Region V softball championship game against Sitka High School on Saturday at Melvin Park. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain High School Falcons are conference champs, heading to state softball title tournament

TMHS rebounds from 19-12 loss in back-to-back Saturday games against Sitka, wins finale 9-3.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Kai Ciambor outmaneuvers Soldotna’s Daniel Heath during the ASAA Soccer Division II State Championships at Veterans Memorial Field in Wasilla on Saturday, May 25. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
JDHS comes up short in state soccer title games

Boys fall behind early in 4-1 loss to Soldotna, girls miss opportunities in 2-0 loss to Kenai.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé goalkeeper Alex Mallott stops a shot by Ketchikan’s Joe Larson (9) during the Crimson Bears 4-2 win May 17 over the Kings during the regional tournament at Adair-Kennedy Field. JDHS defeated Ketchikan again in state semifinals to advance to the state title game. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams are playing for the state title on Saturday

Boys to defend crown in rematch against Soldotna, followed by top-seeded girls against Kenai Central

(Clarise Larson/ Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams advance to state semifinals after decisive wins

Top-seeded girls stay undefeated with 5-0 win against Palmer, second-seeded boys top Homer 3-1.

The author’s wife kneels to net a trout over the weekend. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Live free, fish hard

In my young trout bum days I’d go hard. It was the… Continue reading

An orca swims beside a boat near Berners Bay on May 12. (Photo by Eric Jorgensen)
On the Trails: Orcas, ducks, warblers and others

I went on the Audubon cruise to Berners Bay in May, on… Continue reading

Most Read