Boy, things escalated quickly here.
Ketchikan put together an eight-run fourth inning, including a grand slam from Kiffer. It’s not every day that you see two grand slams in one afternoon. All of a sudden, this went from a game that still felt somewhat winnable for JDHS to a mercy-rule loss.
Ketchikan wins, 15-2 and claims the Region V tournament title to go alongside its regular-season title.
Both teams are still going to the state tournament, though. Coach Luke Adams said postgame that he didn’t like the team’s execution today, and hopes they can turn things around before the tournament next weekend.
Just spent a few innings on the field taking photos, but not much has changed.
Ketchikan leads 8-2 over JDHS in the bottom of the fourth, and time is running out for the Bears.
As you might expect, Ketchikan has an answer. The Kings climb on top, scoring six times in the bottom half of the first — so far.
JDHS starter Christian Ludeman struggles with his control throughout the inning, handing out three walks, hitting a batter and throwing a couple of wild pitches. Coach Luke Adams replaces him with Austin McCurley, with the Bears down 6-1 in the first.
We’re back at it at Adair-Kennedy. JDHS pushes a run across in the first inning, thanks to two walks and two hard-hit singles. In the middle of the first, JDHS leads 1-0.
Whoops, wasn’t thinking about the mercy rule. JDHS can’t score in the sixth, and the game is over. Ketchikan wins, 14-2, forcing a final game that will happen here in a little bit.
It’s 14-2 after that long, long inning. It’s the bottom of the sixth — two more chances for JDHS to stage an improbable comeback.
The floodgates have opened. A cavalcade of errors and hard-hit balls (including a home run from Ketchikan pitcher Liam Kiffer) leads to four more runs for the Kings in the fifth — and there still aren’t any outs. The lead has stretched to 11-2. Barring something remarkable, we’ll have a winner-take-all game this evening for the title.
Ketchikan ads another run in the fifth thanks to a bases-loaded walk. But Brock McCormick, who switched places with Kona Ogoy when Ogoy came in to pitch for McCormick, stops the bleeding. Ketchikan’s C.J. Paule tried to tag up and score on a fly ball to left, but McCormick made a perfect throw and catcher Luis Mojica applied the tag to get Paule out at home (that’s the second time in two games Paule has been thrown out at home, for what it’s worth).
So, middle of the fifth, Ketchikan leads 7-2.
Never a dull moment between these two teams. JDHS responds with two runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead, but Ketchikan’s star Wyatt Barajas had another huge moment in the top of the second.
In the first inning, Barajas flew out to deep right field. With the bases loaded in the second, he hit a fly ball in the same direction — but with a little more on it. The ball sailed over the fence for a grand slam, and the Kings added one more later in the inning to bump up their lead to 6-2.
Here’s a photo of Barajas’ swing:
A reminder: Ketchikan has to beat JDHS twice today to capture the Region V crown.
Ketchikan loads the bases in the first but can’t add to its lead. In the middle of the first, it’s 1-0 Kings.
1:40 p.m., Saturday
We have a rematch on our hands, as Ketchikan beat Sitka this morning to advance to the championship against JDHS. Brock McCormick, who got the save for the Bears yesterday, gets the start for JDHS today.
Ketchikan strikes first, as Cody Kemble drives in Brock King on a sac fly deep down the right field line. The Kings are getting good contact, as both of their outs have been deep flyouts.
Check out this photo of Ogoy (who had two key hits and scored the game-winning run) and McCurley celebrating postgame.
JDHS hangs on to win 7-5 and advance to the regional final tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. See the last out below.
A wild inning has put JDHS back on top of a game that’s developed into an instant classic.
With runners on second and third, Austin McCurley put down a sac bunt that drove in Rawson for the tying run. The next batter, Bryant, hit a sharp ground ball back to the pitcher, who knocked it down but couldn’t get a handle on it. The shortstop picked the ball up and threw to first, too late to get Bryant. The throw also got by the first baseman, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
JDHS added another one on a fielding error by the first baseman, and now leads 7-5 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Barajas just crushed a pitch, sending it way over the left-center fence for a two-run home run to give Ketchikan a 5-4 lead. I mean, that thing might have gone all the way back to Ketchikan. At least to downtown Juneau.
Suddenly, JDHS is in a desperate position. Three outs stand between the Crimson Bears and the losers’ bracket. Ketchikan’s Brock King, who replaced Barajas on the mound last inning, will try to finish the job.
Just like that, JDHS retakes the lead. Christian Ludeman scores on a double play, and Olin Rawson (JDHS’ starting pitcher today) scores on a single from Bryant. In the middle of the fifth, JDHS leads 4-3.
Kethchikan takes the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Azariah Schultz doubles to lead off the inning (the ball barely stayed in the yard). He eventually comes around on a Brock King sacrifice fly. Later on, Barajas hits a grounder to shortstop that looks like it could be a double-play ball. They get the force at second, but second baseman Luis Mojica’s throw is a little wide and gets past the first baseman. That allows a run to score, and Ketchikan leads 3-2 after four.
Ketchikan strikes first, but the Bears answer.
The Kings string together three hits and a walk to score once in the second, but JDHS center fielder Garret Bryant makes a great play, throwing out Ketchikan’s C.J. Paule at the plate to stop the rally. Picture of that above.
The Bears then score twice in the top of the third, thanks to Christian Ludeman getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and then Kona Ogoy hitting a single through the right side to plate one more. After three, JDHS leads 2-1. Video of Ogoy’s hit below.
Now it’s JDHS’ turn. The winner of this JDHS-Ketchikan game goes to the championship game tomorrow.
It won’t be easy, as Ketchikan has defeated the Crimson Bears in all three meetings this year. Kings ace Wyatt Barajas is on the mound. Barajas nearly no-hit Thunder Mountain earlier this month. The Bears got to him a little in the first, putting a couple runners on, but he retires them 1-2-3 in the second.
In the middle of the second, it’s still scoreless.
Coaches spoke to TMHS players for about half an hour after the game, wrapping up the season and even looking ahead to next season. The team’s three seniors — Cameron Eppers, Logan Lesmann and Chris San Nicolas — all said postgame that they weren’t happy with the way the season ended, but looked back fairly fondly on their time with the team.
San Nicolas in particular was unhappy, saying he wished he had worked harder in practice during his playing career. Lesmann said that playing for the team was the highlight of his time in high school. Eppers said he hopes that someday, Falcons baseball can have a breakthrough season and get on the same level as JDHS baseball.
TMHS coach Bill McCauley made a point of giving Sitka credit for the victory. Sitka advances to today’s 4:30 p.m. game.
Thunder Mountain’s season ends with a 7-1 loss to Sitka here at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Frankly, the Falcons struggled in all phases of the game today. Even a couple infield pop-ups proved challenging, including this one below that Michael Penn captured.
Thunder Mountain gets on the board, thanks to a throwing error from Sitka pitcher Eman Barragan. He nearly made a great play on a bunt from TMHS catcher Chase Foster, but overthrew first and allowed Isaiah Nelson to score all the way from first. Good hustle on Nelson’s part.
Sitka responds with a run of its own in the top of the fifth due to a pair of hard-hit doubles to center. In the middle of the fifth, Thunder Mountain trails 5-1 with its season on the line.
Below are a couple photos from the action.
Sooner or later, putting guys on base is going to hurt you. For Morgan, that came in the top of the third. He walked the leadoff batter, and eventually handed out three more free passes in the inning as Sitka scored four times — all without getting the ball out of the infield. The two hits in the inning were both in the infield, on a bunt and a groundball. Sitka did that yesterday too, as you’ll recall, as seven straight Wolves were patient enough to draw walks from JDHS pitchers.
Fortunately for Thunder Mountain, the Wolves were a little too aggressive on the basepaths. Sitka had a runner thrown out at home trying to score on a wild pitch and a runner thrown out at third trying to advance on a passed ball.
In the middle of the third, it’s 4-0 Wolves.
The leadoff batter has reached base all five times so far this game, but no damage yet. TMHS pitcher Stone Morgan and Sitka starter Eman Barragan have done a good job of working out of jams. Fortunately for them, this tournament has been a clinic in bad baserunning. We’ve seen two runners needlessly doubled off so far this game. Here in the top of the third, it’s still scoreless.
10:05 a.m. Friday
We’re back at it. Thunder Mountain and Sitka are battling to stay alive here in the first game of the day. Juneau-Douglas plays at 1:30 p.m. in the tournament semifinals.
Both leadoff batters worked walks for TMHS and Sitka, but neither was on base for long. Sitka’s Gavin Flores got thrown out attempting to steal second, while TMHS’ Bryson Echiverri got doubled off first on a line drive to right.
A few more notes and thoughts from Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kale’s 6-5 victory:
• JDHS issued 14 walks. Somehow, Sitka still was only able to score five times. The Wolves only had two hits.
• Crimson Bears starter Garrett Bryant walked seven batters in his five-plus innings of work. He struck out six and allowed two hits and two runs.
• Sitka starter Austin Morrison pitched all seven innings, allowing six runs (four earned). JDHS was hitting the ball hard off him at times, and his infield defense didn’t help him much.
Sitka puts the tying run on base (with a walk, believe it or not), but JDHS holds on to win. A game of errors and walks comes to an end, with the Bears on top 6-5. They advance to tomorrow’s semifinals (at 1:30 p.m.) and will play the winner of today’s Ketchikan-Petersburg game.
I’ve been watching baseball for more than 20 years, and just saw something I’ve never seen before. Juneau-Douglas — up 6-0 to start the inning — walked seven straight batters and eight of nine.
That lets Sitka back into the game, as it’s now 6-5 going into the final inning. A 1-2-3 double play bails the Crimson Bears out at the end of the inning, but JDHS coach Adams can’t be happy with that.
The Crimson Bears have been consistent today. Every other inning, they score two runs. In the middle of the sixth, they lead 6-0.
The bottom of the lineup has done most of the damage today for JDHS. The 6-9 batters have scored all six of JDHS’ runs. Walker has scored three times and Mojica has three RBIs and a key sacrifice bunt. JDHS coach Luke Adams is likely happy to see that.
Juneau-Douglas adds a couple more in the fourth, with some help from Sitka fielding. Carter Walker led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error. A single and a sac bunt later, Walker scored on a bunt from Gaby Soto (shown above), who also reached due to the pitcher bobbling the ball. A sac fly from Gavin Millard brought home another run (shown below), leaving the Bears on top 4-0 in the middle of the fourth.
Just like the Falcons this morning, the Crimson Bears strike first.
JDHS No. 9 batter Luis Mojica lined a double to the fence in left to plate two runs in the top of the second. There were a couple of hard-hit balls that inning, as Kona Ogoy hit a double to the gap in left-center to get the rally started.
Midway through the second, JDHS leads 2-0.
Now it’s the Crimson-Bears’ turn. They’re taking on Sitka in their first game, with the first pitch coming a moment ago. Garrett Bryant gets the start for JDHS.
A baserunning gaffe in the first inning served as a turning point in the game. Half of Thunder Mountain’s baserunners came in the first inning, as did the team’s only run.
With one out and runners on second and third, Isaiah Nelson hit a shallow fly ball to center. Both runners got about halfway between their base and the next base — which is not what you’re supposed to do on a fly ball. The runner on second, Chris San Nicolas, was easily doubled off after Petersburg center fielder Brekin Davis caught the fly ball and threw to the shortstop covering second.
Thunder Mountain coach Bill McCauley was upset, obviously. Even after the game, you could see him acting out the play to the team in their postgame meeting. I was standing near the dugout and could hear him saying “…halfway to third…”
Lesmann said after the game that that play deflated the team.
“I think after they got that double play in the first inning, our team kind of dropped and we just, for some reason, couldn’t pull it back together,” Lesmann said.
Thunder Mountain managed just four baserunners the rest of the game.
The first pitch of an huge sports weekend for #Juneau schools. Baseball, softball and all four soccer teams are playing in the state tournament, in addition to the alumni football game. Follow @akempiresports for coverage of it all. pic.twitter.com/gOvu1NLfac— Alex McCarthy (@akmccarthy) May 23, 2019
A few postgame notes:
• Petersburg pitcher Thomas Durkin defeated Thunder Mountain basically on his own. He scored twice and held the Falcons to one run while pitching all seven innings.
• Thunder Mountain coach Bill McCauley said Durkin has pitched exceptionally well against the Falcons two games in a row.
• Thunder Mountain senior Logan Lesmann also pitched all seven innings, allowing four runs on just four hits.
The Region V baseball tournament is underway on this rainy morning in Juneau. Thunder Mountain and Petersburg got the day started at 10 a.m. at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
The Falcons struck first after Bryson Echiverri tripled to lead off the bottom of the first and then scored on a Logan Lesman single. That was the only run they’d score, though, and a three-run Petersburg third inning doomed the Falcons.
The Vikings claimed a 4-1 victory to send Thunder Mountain to the losers bracket.