The Southeast Conference is opening with a virtual “Who’s IN First” spoof that could carry through the whole season.
Defending state champion Juneau-Douglas High School (3-0 SEC, 5-4 overall) showed how strong they can be by blasting Ketchikan on the Kings field Thursday night 19-7, then followed that up with a 9-2 loss to the Kings on Saturday. In between they put away the Petersburg Vikings 6-2 on Friday and 11-1 on Saturday.
Kayhi also swept Petersburg on Saturday, 12-2, 19-5, although they did not have to face Vikings’ ace pitcher Colby Bell who was used against the Crimson Bears.
Meanwhile, Thunder Mountain (0-2) was falling to Sitka twice on the road, 5-3 and 22-6.
Harsh weather at Kayhi’s Norman Walker Field caused many unforced errors.
“In 12 years of coaching I have never seen worst weather in which to play a baseball game,” Juneau-Douglas assistant coach Frank Barthel wrote describing the Crimson Bears’ splash fest against the Kings on Thursday.
The Crimson Bears scored 19 runs on 19 hits in the torrential downpour.
“Any ball hit in to the air was lost,” JDHS head coach Will Race said. “We asked them to call the game twice and they did not. It was an absolute mud-fest. There was so much rain and the lights were so bright that you could not see anything.”
The Crimson Bears led 11-7 heading into the final inning, and opened a 10-run lead on a bushel of Kayhi errors. three straight drops in right field, third base and second base allowed the Crimson Bears to open up a 10-run lead — all with two outs. They added two more and the game was called.
According to statistics compiled by Barthel, Nathan Klein went 4-for-5 with 3 doubles and 7 runs batted in and Kurt Vandor was 4-for-5 with 3 singles and a double and drove in 2 runs.
Kayhi took the first lead at 3-0 on a single and a pair of past balls.
Jackson Lehnhart hit a two-run single to get the Crimson Bears started.
Klein hit a two-run double three batters later, and Jeffrey Pusich hit a line drive past first base to give the Crimson Bears a 6-3 lead.
Kayhi got one run back in the fourth on an RBI single, but two more errors in the field helped the Crimson Bears score two in the fifth.
Another drop in right field and another two-run double by Klein put J-D ahead 11-4 in the sixth.
The Kings got three runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to two straight errors by the Crimson Bears to pull within three, 11-7.
“It was one of those games where it was so wet that things would just go bad,” Race said. “A routine out would turn into a double because the ball was so wet it would get thrown over someone’s head.”
JDHS put eight runs up in short order as the rain poured down and the game was called.
Tanner Petrie got the Crimson Bears’ win, going four innings and allowing 2 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 8 in a dominating performance on the mound. Tal Norvell relieved for two innings, giving up 3 hits and no earned runs.
Omar Mendoza started for the Kings and Brien Auger pitched the final three innings for Kayhi.
JDHS toppled Petersburg next, winning 6-2 and 11-1.
Vikings sophomore ace Colby Bell was thrown against the Crimson Bears in game one instead of going for a sure win against Kayhi. Bell held JDHS to 2 runs on 4 hits for three innings. JDHS got 3 runs on 4 hits in the fourth for a 4-2 lead. Kyle Gould was 2-for-4 with 3 RBI’s in the game and Jackson Lehnhart was 2-for-4 while scoring 2 runs.
Jeffery Pusich went the complete seven innings, giving up 1 earned run on 6 hits while striking out 10.
“We did not take them as lightly the next game,” Race said.
In game two against the Vikings the JDHS bats collected 13 hits in five innings.
Lehnhart went 3-for-4 and scored twice; Vandor 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs; Petrie 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs; and Christian Gould 2-for4 with 1 RBI.
Klein started his first varsity game and went the full five innings until the mercy rule took effect. Klein allowed just three hits, no earned runs, and struck out 11.
Saturday’s non-conference game against Ketchikan saw the Crimson Bears rest some key players and played others out of position while Kayhi brought their “A” team to the field.
Vandor took the mound, striking out 4 and walking 3 in three innings and giving up just 3 hits and 2 earned runs. Gould pitched a middle inning in relief and struck out the side. Tal Norvell threw the final inning.
JDHS had just 5 hits with Tod Baseden going 2-for-4. JDHS batted over .400 for the weekend.
Falcons fall prey to Wolves on Sitka fields
The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons dropped a pair of games to Sitka 5-3 and 22-6 on Saturday.
Saturday the Wolves played a tight contest with the Falcons where junior Brian Way threw seven innings allowing five hits and 3 runs in the 5-3 victory.
Way also had an RBI double in the third inning to drive in Fish – who himself had just driven in 2 runs on a double of his own – to aid his own cause.
The Falcons tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning. Licari and Fish responded in the bottom of the fifth with a single and an RBI each to give Sitka the go-ahead runs in the first game of the double header.
In the night game, Sitka pitcher Fred Elliot gave up 3 runs in the top of the first inning on three hits. All Sitka did to respond was score 10 runs in the first inning and 12 runs in the second on their way to a 22-6 victory.
Fish was halfway to completing the hitter’s cycle – a home run, triple, double and single in one game – in the first inning alone when he hit a two-run triple in his first at-bat and then, nine batters later, roped a double to center with the bases loaded.
Fish accounted for 5 runs in the first inning alone, adding to his impressive early-season resume.
A.J. Inman also had an RBI double in the first inning and Justin Pratt drove in a run as well.
In the second inning Elliot held Thunder Mountain scoreless and, in the bottom half of the inning, got back the runs gave up in the first inning when he hit a 3-run triple down the right field line that gave Sitka a 22-3 lead that they carried until the mercy rule kicked in during after the fifth inning.
Way and Dalton also had RBI singles in the second inning.
Sitka went 4-1 for the weekend with the only loss one to Dimond High School Friday night when Sitka committed five errors in a 12-4 loss. The Wolves beat Dimond in their two games Thursday night.
The Crimson Bears and Falcons will play Thursday at 7 p.m. at Adair Kennedy Field in the first of three days of action. On Friday TMHS will battle Ketchikan at 4 p.m. and JDHS will take on the Kings at 7 p.m. On Saturday the Falcons will tangle with JDHS at noon and Ketchikan at 7 p.m.
JDHS coaches Will Race and Frank Barthel and Sitka Sentinel writer Tom Hesse provided information to this article.