The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team had a big Zach Attack in winning its season-opening game 16-9 over the Ketchikan Kings on Wednesday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
The Crimson Bears were led by the slugging of senior third baseman Zach Kohan and the relief pitching of sophomore Zach Mixson as they began their quest for a repeat state title. Kohan hit two home runs and a double off the fence to lead Juneau's offense, while Mixson shut down Ketchikan over the final three-plus innings to pick up the win on the mound.
"I was just happy to get the season started," Mixson said.
"It was a good day, I felt really good at the plate," Kohan said.
The Crimson Bears jumped on top early, taking a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning as Kohan hit the first of his homers (a deep shot to left), Sergio Magallanes doubled, Isaac Cadiente singled in a run with a second run on the play scoring on an error, Nick Wolf singled in a run and scored on an error and Evan Scandling homered to left centerfield.
"We were just loving being out here," said Juneau senior shortstop Joe Ayers, who doubled but didn't score in the second inning. "It was a great day and a great crowd."
Scandling, who started for Juneau, didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. But he didn't get through the frame, and neither did reliever Bryan Hamey as Ketchikan scored seven runs on four hits, two errors, two walks and two hit batters.
The big blow for Ketchikan was a two-run homer by Andrew Kolanko, with Zach Thompson driving in a run with a single, Casey Bass driving in two runs with a double and Ben Voetberg scoring another run on a sacrifice fly. Mixson relieved with runners on second and third with two outs and got a strikeout to end the inning.
"It was a fastball," Kolanko said of his homer off Scandling. "That's just the way it goes. Juneau always puts up a fight. I think we can come back and be strong. We got nine runs and that shows we can compete with them."
In the bottom of the fourth, Juneau scored three runs as Ayers walked and scored on Kohan's second homer of the game, then Mixson singled and courtesy runner Tres Saldivar came around to score on a single by Ryan Gorle to make it 9-7 Juneau. The Crimson Bears didn't trail again.
"We just needed some big hits," Kohan said. "We rallied a lot today with two outs. I was just glad I could contribute. There was a point where we could have folded out there."
The 2003 baseball season is only one game old, and Scandling said he can already see a difference in this year's version of the Crimson Bears.
"Last year we got a 4-0 lead and lost it to these guys, and we never got it back," Scandling said. "We fought back. Pitching-wise, as a junkballer I'm hurting if I'm not getting the knee-high strike. I'm happy with the win, and that we had someone to put out the fire."
"All my pitches were setting up my other pitches," Mixson said. "My fastball was setting up my curve, and my curve was setting up my changeup."
Juneau gave Mixson some breathing room with four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, as C.J. Keys singled, stole second, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball. With two outs, Ayers doubled, then Kohan drove him home with a double off the fence in left. Mixson reached on an error that scored Kohan, and courtesy runner Saldivar came around to score on a single by Magallanes.
"I was just trying to keep up with Zach," Ayers said of Kohan. "I think our experience showed. We did a good job of getting the lead back."
Ketchikan scored twice in the top of the sixth inning, as Bass singled, Voetberg reached on an error and Josh Robinson singled. Then Bass scored on a double play that erased Robinson and Voetberg scored on a balk call on what appeared to be the third strike on pinch hitter Michael Meacock.
The Crimson Bears came back to score three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Cadiente and Keys singled, Wolf walked, Cadiente scored on an error, then Keys and Wolf both scored when Ayers reached on an error.
Every Juneau batter got at least one run and one hit as the Crimson Bears spread their offense around. Kohan drove in four runs and scored three times, while Ayers, Wolf, Keys and Cadiente scored twice each.
"I got behind in the count, but I just tried to slap it somewhere," said Magallanes, who went 4-for-4 for Juneau with a double and one run scored. "All our lineup was hitting. Our top of the lineup is always hitting, but we do better when our bottom half is hitting, too. I had the jitters at the beginning."
In junior varsity action, Ketchikan beat Juneau 11-4 behind a bunch of singles, walks and errors. Charles Altman was the only Ketchikan player with an extra-base hit, a double in the fifth inning.
Today, Juneau's varsity plays Sitka at 6 p.m. at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The Ketchikan and Sitka varsity teams play at 3 p.m. at Adair-Kennedy, while their JV teams play at 11 a.m. Juneau's JV team will play the Ketchikan JV team at 2 p.m. at Melvin Park.
There are more games on Friday and Saturday, and the complete schedule can be found in the Sports in Juneau listings on Page B2.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.
CRIMSON BEARS 16, KINGS 9
Wednesday's game from Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park
KETCHIKAN 000 702 0 - 9 8 7
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 060 343 x- 16 17 4
Ketchikan - Mickel, Bass (6) and Brown. Juneau-Douglas - Scandling, Hamey (4), Mixson (4) and Cadiente. WP - Mixson, 1-0. LP - Mickel, 0-1. Sv - None. 2B - Ketchikan 1 (Bass 1), Juneau-Douglas 4 (Ayers 2, Magallanes 1, Kohan 1). 3B - None. HR - Ketchikan 1 (Kolanko 1), Juneau-Douglas 3 (Kohan 2, Scandling 1).