The Juneau Douglas baseball team opened its in-state season taking two out of three games in Sitka over the weekend, bouncing back from an 11-4 loss to South Anchorage on Friday to sweep a Saturday doubleheader.
Juneau-Douglas and Sitka once again battled to the end, but it was the Crimson Bears who prevailed under the pitching performance of James San Miguel in Saturday’s finale. The senior righty pitched six innings while giving up only two earned runs and four hits, although eight runs scored off San Miguel as the defense committed untimely errors to keep Sitka in the game.
Juneau’s leading hitters were Justin Brooks and Miles Bedford, who both went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Lance Ibesate hit his second home run of the season while going 2 for 4, and Kyle Gould hit one out while going 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Alex Campbell also had two hits and an RBI.
Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the seventh, Sitka loaded the bases after already pushing one run across. But JDHS relief pitcher Josh Magnuson struckout Sitka right fielder Devon Romine with two outs to end the game. Romine had already gone 2 for 4 in the game on top of hitting the game-winning homer in Sitka’s earlier game against South.
“We reaffirmed in the kids minds that Sitka is going to be a battle all year long,” Bears manager Sheldon Winters. “The ultimate winner is probaby going to be the team that works the hardest.”
Juneau-Douglas hitters combined for 16 hits in the contest, and hot bats became the theme of the day for the Bears.
The lineup had already exploded for 18 hits in Saturday’s first game as the defending state champs avenged the loss from the day before to beat South 14-6.
Gould led the way for the JDHS lineup, going 4 for 5 with a double and two RBIs. San Miguel and Brooks each contributed three hits, with Brooks driving in two runs while connecting for his second home run of the young season. Ibesate also hit a homer and drove in three runs on top of pitching four innings. The junior gave up four runs on seven hits to nab his first victory of the year.
In the Friday tilt, Juneau-Douglas ace Miles Bedford matched up against South ace Josh Crapps, an American Legion all-state selection from last year.
Bedford pitched a solid game, giving up three hits in five innings and only one earned run. But the JDHS defense committed four errors which led to five runs. The Bears had eight hits, led by Ibesate with three and two RBIs. Brooks went 2 for 3 with one RBI.
The Juneau-Douglas JV team won both of its games against Sitka with fine pitching performances by Jeffery Pusich and Tanner Petrie. Brenden Winters went 4 for 6 in the second game, including a triple.
“I actually thought the weekend couldn’t have been better, despite the one loss against South. We got that first loss out of the way and disposed off any lingering notion that we were going to go undefeated again,” Winters said. “We immediately bounced back by doing the things we needed to do to beat South, (which is) basically hit and execute.”
The Crimson Bears are off next weekend, but home dates with Wasilla and Thunder Mountain loom April 29-30 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.