Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas opened a weekend series at Ketchikan with tight games against Sitka and Ketchikan, respectively.
The Thunder Mountain High School boys’ baseball team continues to flirt with supremacy on the diamonds, this time they coyly batted their charcoaled eyes at the Sitka Wolves on a Thursday night date at Alaska’s first city of Ketchikan.
The Falcons were in command of the outing 10-6 through the first six-and-a-half innings of play and were left standing on the doorstep after Wolves’ batters Brian Way and Jake Licari parked the rawhide deep in the forest in their half of the sixth inning. That was followed by another blast by Erickson Fish to trim the Falcons lead to 10-9. The Wolves would tie the score before being retired.
The Falcons led off the top of the seventh with a Patrick Millay walk but then found themselves with two outs and Millay running on a deep fly ball that was caught at the warning track.
The Wolves Licari single-handedly took the game, beating out an infield single, stealing second base and scoring on a Way walk-off single for the 11-10 final tally.
“Yes it was a tough loss,” Falcons junior centerfielder Martin Conchas-Michel said.
“We are doing a lot better than we have been. We are starting to play as a team and we are competing. We are keeping our heads up and going for the next game. Going for that next W.”
The Falcons opened the game with strong pitching from Gus Swanton and both teams stayed scoreless through two innings.
RJ Markovich got the Falcons’ scoring started in the third, reaching base on a Sitka error. After two outs Swanton rapped the ball to deep right center field scoring Markovich.
Swanton then scored when Sitka attempted to pick him off second and the ball went to center field.
Cam Thomas then blasted a shot off the center field wall and Martin Conchas-Michel walked. Matt Cunningham rapped a single into the outfield to score Thomas and Conchas-Michel.
The Falcons would lead 6-2 starting the fourth. With Erik Reyna on third and Thomas on first, Conchas-Michel singled to make it 7-2.
The Wolves kept picking at the scoreboard, cutting into the lead at 7-4 in the fifth and 7-6 starting the sixth.
Swanton reached base on an error in the top of the sixth, followed by Brandon Chappell. Thomas then hit a double to score Chappell and Conchas-Michel again singled, scoring Thomas and Swanton and putting the Falcons for the final time at 10-6.
JDHS 6 Kayhi 3
The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears traveled without their number one and number two batters, Lance Ibesate and Jackson Lehnhart. The senior and junior, respectively, had prior commitments.
“We took it as a challenge,” JDHS coach Shelden Winters said. “I told the team we didn’t have any excuses. I wanted the kids to step up to the plate.”
JDHS showed it has the deep talent and bench strength to still compete. Junior Tanner Petrie started on the mound and threw a complete game. The Crimson Bears battled to stay tied with the Ketchikan Kings (2-3) and break a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning, rallying for three runs in the top of the set to take the lead 6-3 and hold on for the win.
The Kings led early at 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning with a Connor Fitzgerald single to left field scoring Kenny Hamilton and Kable Lervick.
The Crimson Bears tied the game in the third when Kyle Gould tripled down the left-field line to score a run and then he, too, scored on a throwing error by Fitzgerald. In the seventh inning Josh Magnuson doubled in an RBI and Brenden Winters added an RBI single.
Kayhi sophomore Omar Mendoza threw a complete contest for the Kings.
“It is fun when your big guns are gone and the team responds like it did,” Winters said. “We are playing well.”
The Crimson Bears play Sitka today (Friday) at 1 p.m. and Thunder Montain Saturday at noon in Ketchikan. The Falcons play Ketchikan tonight.