The rain and cold did not hurt the Juneau-Douglas High School girl’s softball team’s batting styles in a two game series against the visiting Colony Knights this weekend.
The Melvin Park fences couldn’t hold in the stroke from Randi Held on Friday night as she pasted a pitch over the left field chain links with the bases loaded in the fourth inning.
“It is my first grand slam ever,” Held said. “I just didn’t try to kill it. I just relaxed. It sure feels really good.”
The blast gave the Crimson Bears a 10-1 lead and when the Knights could only put one more run across the plate in their half of the inning the game was called via the “run ahead rule” as the point spread was eight runs after five innings.
According to the rule a game is called when a team is ahead by 15 runs after three innings, or 12 runs after four innings, or eight runs after five innings.
Ashli Kikendall (1 strikeout, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 base on balls) started on the mound and held the Knights in check through four innings before Savanna Schauwecker (2K, 1H, 0R, 0BB) came on in relief.
The Crimson Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first as Emma Good singled, Gordon singled and Kayla Balovich rapped a grounder scoring Good. Gordon scored on a Gracie Meiners ground out and Kikendall singled in Balovich.
The Knights got one run back in their half of the first as Devan Clark singled and scored on a sacrifice grounder by Saige Stefanski.
In the top of the second Good singled to left field and Gordon did the same. Both would score on a blast by Meiners that put her on second base.
In the fourth the Crimson Bears’ Good and Gordon walked and Balovich reached on a fielders choice loading the bases. Meiners singled scoring Good and then Held ripped her first grand.
The second game on Friday only lasted half an inning. Standing in a down pour starting pitcher Schauwecker walked Colony’s Olivia Martin and hit the Knights’ Saige Stefanski before allowing a two out single that scored a run.
The rain increased and the game was stopped and started again on Saturday morning with Schauwecker getting the third out on pitches.
“Our pitching was real good this weekend,” Massey said. “Ashli pitched well on Friday and Savanna showed a lot of composure.”
The Crimson Bears had players get on base in game two but not onto the plate, with Kaitlin Fagerstrom getting caught stealing and Balovich and Held lining out deep in the field.
The Knights would tack on four more runs in the top of the third inning.
In the Crimson Bears bottom half Fagerstrom singled and advanced to third on Andrea Gordon’s double and scored on Held’s hard ground ball. Gordon would score on a Balovich single and Held on a Kikendall ground ball. Balovich would score on a dropped third strike to Schauwecker making the score 5-4 Knights.
“Yesterday we played our best game of the year,” JDHS coach Dave Massey said on Saturday. “We played good defense and hit the ball well. Today we came out and played kind of without energy and fell behind five to nothing before we woke up.”
Balovich came on in relief for the Crimson Bears in the fifth inning and with her teammates going errorless in the field held the Knights scoreless the rest of the way.
Trailing by one run in the fifth and game time winding down the Crimson Bears began a rally.
Balovich lashed a line drive to left field and advanced to third on Kikendall’s grounder and scored on a hard single by Emma Good, tying the score.
Schauwecker than planted a ball over the left field fence for a three-run homer as game time lapsed.
“That was cool,” Massey said. “We hit the ball sharply for the most part, up and down our lineup. That bodes well for us the rest of the year if we can get good hitting from top to bottom.”
JDHS scored their 8 runs Saturday on 6 hits. Balovich, Fagerstrom and Gordon collected two hits apiece. Gordon and Kemp had 1 RBI apiece and Schauwecker 4 RBI on 1 hit.
On Friday’s first game the Crimson Bears scored their 10 runs on 9 hits. Held had 4 RBI, Meiners 3 RBI, and Balovich and Kikendall 1 RBI. Good and Gordon had three hits apiece, Meiners two, Held and Kikendall one apiece.
The Crimson Bears are 9-2 on the season and play a four-game swing through the Matsu Valley and Fairbanks starting Wednesday.