Spring is in full swing, and so too is Juneau high school softball.
The Thunder Mountain High School softball team traveled to Ketchikan, and the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé team traveled to Sitka for the teams’ first games in nearly two years. Last season was canceled due to the pandemic.
“They are totally excited to be back out,” said TMHS coach Julie Herman, who is in her first year leading the team but has prior experience as the volleyball coach. “We have some outstanding seniors who are excited to take the field again and lead the team.”
Those include infielder Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and pitcher Avery Kriescher. Catcher Sydney Strong, a junior, is another standout, Herman said.
JDHS coach Lexie Razor said the Crimson Bears are a young team this year, but the three senior varsity players who are on the team play a pivotal role through being leaders on and off the field.
“We have our three senior leaders we’re looking to contribute on the field, but also off the field with the culture of our program,” Razor said.
She said Mackenzie Jackson, who can play both corner infield positions as well as right field; Julianne Soriano, catcher; and Anna Wu, outfielder; are anticipated to be key players.
“To see their growth is pretty impressive,” Razor said.
Weather and pandemic impact mean that both teams have had minimal time to practice in game-like conditions, but both coaches said they believe their respective teams have been able to drill the fundamentals.
They also expressed appreciation that local fields will be available for games — Razor specifically said she appreciated the efforts of Juneau’s Parks and Recreation Department — and that the season was able to happen at all.
“Athletics in general are just so great for kids, and we are grateful we are getting to have a season, whatever the season looks like,” Herman said.
Two teams, one cause
The JDHS and TMHS softball squads will face off in a fundraiser game on Friday. April 30.
The game will be held at Melvin Park with junior varsity teams playing at 5 p.m. and varsity teams playing at 7 p.m., Razor said.
This year, the game will benefit National Alliance on Mental Illness —Juneau. There will be jars around town for donations, T-shirts will be available for sale at the game and a silent auction will be held for two different gift baskets — one prepared by each school.
“This year we wanted to switch it up because we think mental health awareness especially for youth is very important right now,” Razor said.
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt