The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé softball team needed every swing of the bat to defeat their cross-town rivals Thunder Mountain 8-6 in the Region V Softball Championships at Sitka’s Moller Field on Thursday.
“The weather was tough,” JDHS coach Lexi Razor said. “This was the most rain we have definitely played in this year. It was consistent rain making it hard for pitchers but once we got Kiah (Yadao) in there she figured it out and it was pretty consistent so it was good.”
The tournament No. 4 seed TMHS Falcons got on the scoreboard first as junior Kennedy Love reached on a ground ball error that scored juniors Jenna Dobson and Bryanna Eakes, who had walked, to open the game.
The tournament No. 1 seed JDHS Crimson Bears took a 3-2 lead in the bottom half of the first inning as senior Anna Dale tripled in freshman Gwen Nizich, and Dale and senior Mariah Schauwecker scored on passed balls.
The Falcons took a 4-3 lead in the top of the second inning as junior Aliza Mesdag scored with the bases loaded and Eakes was hit by a pitch and junior Ashlyn Gates flied out to center field scoring freshman Cambry Lockhart on a tag up.
JDHS junior Mila Hargrave had started in the circle but Yadao entered the game in the second inning.
The Crimson Bears again regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a single by Nizich that scored senior Carlynn Casperson and junior Chloe Casperson for a 5-4 advantage.
The Falcons tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the third inning on a one-out fielder’s choice hit by Lockhart that scored junior Jack Lovejoy.
The Crimson Bears kept pace with another run in the bottom of the third inning as senior Gloria Bixby earned a one-out walk, advanced on a two-out single by Carlynn Casperson and both stole another base setting up a double by Chloe Casperson that scored Bixby for a 6-5 advantage.
The Falcons tied the game again in the top of the fourth inning as Gates hit a two-out double and scored on a double by junior Kara Strong.
The Crimson Bears regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning as Carlynn Casperson hit a two-out double and scored on a single by Chloe Casperson for a 7-6 advantage. JDHS added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning as Dale was hit by a pitch, advanced on a passed ball and scored on a one-out sacrifice fly by junior Mila Hargrave for 8-6.
After giving up a lead off single in the top of the seventh to Falcons batter Lovejoy, the Crimson Bears Yadao tightened the circle and struck out a batter, got another to pop out to catcher Dale and struck out the final hitter for the win.
“We had some solid hits,” Razor said. “We were aggressive a couple times but got caught. We’re happy being aggressive because we will push things more often than we will get out.”
Schauwecker and Chloe Casperson led JDHS with two RBI apiece. Chloe Casperson and Carlynn Casperson led with two hits apiece. Dale and Carlynn Casperson led with two runs scored apiece. Schauwecker led with two walks.
Hargrave started in the circle and went one inning, allowing no hits and four runs, walking four batters and striking out one. Yadao relieved for five innings, allowed eight hits, two runs, walked one and struck out six.
For the Falcons, Lockhart started in the circle and allowed one hit and three runs, and walked three. Gates relieved in the first inning and totaled 4.2 innings of work, allowing five hits and five runs, walking four and striking out five. Lovejoy appeared in the sixth inning for two outs.
Eakes, Gates and Strong led the Falcons with one RBI each. Gates and Lovejoy led with two hits apiece. Dobson, Eakes, Gates, Lovejoy, Mesdag and Lockhart scored one run each.
JDHS advances to play at 6 p.m. Friday against No. 3 seed Sitka, a 23-10 winner over No. 2 seed Ketchikan.
TMHS plays in an elimination game at 3 p.m. Friday against Ketchikan.
“Sitka is coming in off of three wins,” Razor said. “And they are hitting really well. I think our girls are focused, they know what they want to come here and do, so they are ready to play and have some fun.”