The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team overcame Wednesday's rainy, muddy Sitka weather to win its season-opener 9-8 over Ketchikan, rallying from three runs down in the game's final inning.
The Crimson Bears trailed 8-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning when junior Brett Fairchild reached on an infield hit and advanced to third when junior outfielder Brett Dutton singled to left. Fairchild scored to make it 8-6 on a single by sophomore Matt Freeman that advanced Dutton to third base.
Freeman swiped second base before catcher Bud Baun grounded out to third which scored Dutton to make it 8-7. Junior Greg Smith walked and sophomore Zach Kohan loaded the bases with a high, towering pop-up that dropped in safe the outfield. Freeman tied the game at 8-8 when sophomore Joe Ayers was hit by a pitch on his sleeve. Finally, sophomore Evan Scandling walked with one out, scoring Smith from third and giving the Crimson Bears the victory.
"It was a wet and sloppy game, but a win is a win," assistant coach Mark Hickey said. "The balls were dropping and plopping in puddles. We made some mistakes base-running, but overall we played good for the conditions. It was typical rain ball."
The game was tied at 4-4 heading into the sixth inning when Juneau starting pitcher Dylan Hickey got into a little trouble and the Kings took a 7-4 lead. Juneau took advantage of Ketchikan errors in the bottom of the sixth to close the lead to 7-5 before the Kings added one more in the top half of the seventh inning.
Hickey had a solid outing for the Bears, pitching into the sixth inning while striking out six Ketchikan batters. The junior right-hander gave up five earned runs on eight hits and walked two before being relieved by Scandling. Scandling threw 1 1/3 innings, giving up one run until Greg Smith came in and got the last two outs to record the win.
"Dylan did a good job getting us into the sixth," Mark Hickey said. "He couldn't get a dry ball and he couldn't get his curve ball going with the wet ball. Smith did a good job getting us out of the seventh."
The Crimson Bears offensive attack scattered 10 hits, led by Freeman and Kohan with two hits apiece. Hickey claimed the Bears' only extra-base hit with a double off the fence in the first inning.
Ketchikan's Caleb Mickel hit the game's only home run, a solo shot off of Hickey in the second inning. Mickel also took the loss for Ketchikan, taking over in the fifth inning for starter Jesse Van Arpt who gave up four runs off six hits.
"It was a tough game for Ketchikan to lose," Mark Hickey said. "Our guys showed a lot of heart. They didn't give up."
After losing to Juneau, Ketchikan got clobbered by Sitka 16-4 in Wednesday's late game.
The Crimson Bears continue action today with a double-header beginning at 2 p.m. against Ketchikan and 5 p.m. against Sitka. Starting times have been push back one hour from the original schedule due to the late games running into darkness.
Crimson Bears 9, Kings 8
Wednesday's game at Sitka
Ketchikan 010 213 1 -- 8 10 5
Juneau-Douglas 201 101 4 -- 9 10 3
Hickey, Scandling (6), Smith (7) and Baun; Van Arpt, Mickel (5), Milner (7) and McAlpin. W -- Smith, 1-0. L-- Mickel 0-1. 2B -- Ketchikan: Boyd; Juneau: Hickey. 3B -- None. HR -- Ketchikan: Mickel (1); Juneau: None.