Thunder Mountain's Bobby Cox, left, is caught off base by Juneau-Douglas' Jacob Dale at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on Friday.

Thunder Mountain's Bobby Cox, left, is caught off base by Juneau-Douglas' Jacob Dale at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on Friday.

Young Falcons win two over JDHS

Juneau-Douglas High School and Thunder Mountain High School baseball squared off Friday night for the second of three crosstown showdowns this weekend, with the Falcons closing out their second win convincingly.

Good performances from senior Finn Collins, junior pitcher Zeb Story and a supporting cast of sophomores and freshmen helped the Falcons to their 11-5 win.

“Our team started out young but they’re figuring it out and it’s showing,” Story said. “We’ve lost five one-run ball games, we could be 7-2 coming into this weekend but we’re 2-7, and I think we’re the best 2-7 team in the state.”

The game turned in the third inning. Down 1-3, the Falcons scored five off a RBI walk, a two-RBI grounder by Collins, and a RBI grounder by freshman Logan Lesmann. The Falcons would add two more runs to their lead in the fourth before JDHS attempted a rally in the top of the sixth with scores from Quin Gist and Michael Cesar, closing the gap to 8-5 with an inning and a half to play.

“A big part of it is just the young guys starting to mature, get the experience, feel comfortable,” Falcons coach Bill Macauley said. “That was a freshman that turned the double play to end the game. Another freshman, a third baseman, he just bangs the ball, he’s fearless.”

The Falcons would take the wind out of the Crimson Bears sails in the bottom of the sixth, adding three runs before the Crimson Bears final turn at bat, forcing JDHS to try and score six in their final at-bat to tie the game.

JDHS had seven errors in the game.

“I think our team’s frustrated, I think in total in the last two games we’ve had 13 errors,” JDHS coach Will Race said. “We’ve hit the ball real well. Last night we out hit them 10-5, but I think we had five errors. Tonight we had a ton of hits but we had seven errors and a lot of mental errors.”

Race felt the game turned on a few key plays.

“One dropped pop-up to the catcher changed that entire game. He was out, but it was dropped, and TMHS scored two runs and tied the game,” Race explained. “Things like that can happen in an instant, so it’s just one of those things of making sure you’re mentally prepared and you know all the possibilities coming. The one situation you’re not prepared for is the one you’re going to end up being in.”

“We still have a lot of potential this year,” Race went on. “All of our games that we’ve lost have been because we’ve had four or more errors.”

The Falcons and Crimson Bears played a third game this weekend on Saturday. Look to the Empire online and Tuesday’s print edition for coverage of that game.

Thursday’s results:

TMHS 3, JDHS 2

Thunder Mountain High School came away with the win on Thursday at Adair Kennedy, holding on to their first-inning lead off the strength of only six hits to close JDHS out 3-2. Juneau-Douglas High School had nine hits in the game but stranded 12 runners on base.

The Falcons’ Phillip Wall opened scoring in the top of the first with a ground ball single to JDHS’ shortstop which brought Zeb Story and Finn Collins home. JDHS struck back with one first-inning run of their own when Donovan McCurley scored after tagging up on a Bryce Swofford fly ball.

Three scoreless innings followed the first before the Falcons bumped their lead to 3-1 in the fifth with a 1-RBI double to left field from Bobby Cox. The Crimson Bears made a rally in the seventh inning when Quinn Gist singled to right field sending Alex Muir home. TMHS squashed JDHS’ rally to end the game 3-2.

TMHS pitcher Phillip Wall and Bryce Swofford both pitched 9-strikeout complete games. Though Swofford was a bit more efficient from the mound, throwing 96 pitches for 68 strikes, Wall’s 130-75 pitch-to-strike ratio was enough to earn him the win.

Highlights from the plate include a three for four night from JDHS’ Michael Cesar and a two for three effort from TMHS’ Bobby Cox.

Thunder Mountain's Finn Collins safely steals second base as Juneau-Douglas' Bryce Swofford jumps for an overthown ball at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on Friday.

Thunder Mountain’s Finn Collins safely steals second base as Juneau-Douglas’ Bryce Swofford jumps for an overthown ball at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on Friday.