Juneau-Douglas High School’s Jacob Thibodeau went to the mound in the top of the seventh inning with the bases loaded against Thunder Mountain on Thursday at Adair Kennedy Memorial Park, and shut the door on the Falcons to preserve an 11-9 Southeast Conference win.
“I had about three minor strokes,” Juneau-Douglas coach Will Race said. “I was really, really proud of those guys.”
The Falcons had controlled most of the night’s action, taking an 8-5 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning as Brian Mielke singled and scored on a Matt Cunningham double.
The Crimson Bears would come alive with six runs in the bottom half of the inning as a batter walked, another was hit by a pitch, Bryce Swofford singled to score a run, Grant Ainsworth singled to score two runs, Kellen Johansen doubled and Nathan Klein lined out to the pitcher, which scored Ainsworth on a double play attempt at third base. Jack Withington walked and stole second, which drew a throw scoring Johansen and JDHS looked to be in control 11-8.
When the Falcons loaded the bases in their final at bat behind Jared Markovich’s walk, Patrick Millay’s single, and Zeb Storie’s walk the rally looked to be on.
JDHS’ Thibodeau got his first batter to strike out and the second popped up in foul territory to Swofford who made a circus catch for the second out. Markovich tagged and scored on the out to cut the lead to 11-9 but Thibodeau had the last batter pop out to second base.
JDHS scored the first run of the game as Ainsworth walked in the bottom of the first inning and crossed the plate on a Withington single.
The Falcons tied the game in the top of the third as Mielke doubled and scored on a Finn Collins sacrifice.
The Crimson Bears took a 2-1 advantage in their half of the inning as Ainsworth singled, advanced on a Johansen sacrifice, and then scored when Nathan Klein reached on an error.
TMHS went up 4-2 in the fourth when RJ Markovich singled and scored on a Millay double. Jake Tanner singled in Millay and Stefan Beedle doubled in Tanner.
The Falcons made it 7-2 in the fifth as Collins, Cunningham and Ludeman loaded the bags with singles and RJ Markovich bunted in a run. Jared Markovich singled in another and Millay added another clean hit to score Ludeman.
JDHS got three runs back in their half of the inning as Swofford and Muir singled and Ainsworth was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Johansen singled to score Swofford, and Muir and Withington sacrificed in Ainsworth.
“I said it before and I mean it, it is going to be an exciting season,” Race said. “All around it was really good. That was Bryce’s first time pitching in front of the home fans and that was good for him. Grant came in with a bases loaded jam and did his job, and Thibodeau did his thing. Thibodeau is a fine young man on the mound. It was one of those things. I have said it before, this is a new team. You have to come and you have to be prepared and you have to be ready to play because Thunder Mountain will make it a game.”
Swofford threw 5 innings and went hitless for the first three. He struck out 4, and allowed 5 hits and was responsible for 7 runs. Ainsworth threw two innings, struck out, allowed 5 hits and 1 run, and walked 2.
Tim Christensen went five innings for the Falcons, striking out 4, walking 1, allowing 5 hits and 5 runs. Guy Bean allowed 5 hits, 6 runs, with 3 walks and 1 hit batter.
The Falcons play Sitka at 4 p.m. today and JDHS at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Crimson Bears play Sitka at 7 p.m. today.