Bears are perfect in Fairbanks

Posted: Sunday, May 04, 2003

After posting a perfect 6-0 record in Fairbanks, the defending state champion Juneau-Douglas High School softball team hopes it can book a second road trip north that will be just as successful.

The Crimson Bears closed out their six-game road trip with a pair of 10-run rule victories on Friday, beating the Eielson Raves 13-1 at Eielson High School, then knocking off the Monroe Catholic School Rams 12-1 at the Interior Girls Softball Association fields.

The Juneau (7-2 overall) players hope to book a return trip north on June 5-6, when the state tournament takes place at the Hez Ray Fields in Fairbanks.

"That felt good," Juneau sophomore shortstop-catcher Jordan Johnston said of the road trip. "We had our struggles at the beginning, but we feel we've got our game going now. We really came together for the last four games."

"We came together more, we mellowed out," added Juneau sophomore pitcher Ashley Larson, who picked up victories in three of the games on the road trip. "We calmed down and played better. This whole week we worked on our hitting. We knew we could play, it was just a matter of whether our mentality was right."

The Crimson Bears, who only have four returning varsity players from last year's state championship team, said they felt like the new players are finding their roles on the team. Nine of Juneau's 12 varsity players are freshmen or sophomores, so the Crimson Bears feel Juneau's 1-2 start on its road trip to Sitka was due to nerves and adjusting to high school play for the younger players.

"Fairbanks was a lot different than Sitka," freshman pitcher-outfielder Alycia Cox said. "We started to put everything together. Our (spring break) trip to Arizona is paying off. We definitely came together and whenever someone got down we could help them get back up."

"We got to work a lot together," freshman pitcher-infielder Hannah Barril added. "We did a lot better, and we're ready for Southeast. We saw Ketchikan down south in Arizona and they had a lot of the same teachers we did."

In Friday's opener against Eielson, Barril, freshman Alicia Maryott and Cox combined to throw a three-hitter while Johnston went 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. Ashley Larson and Danielle Larson, the only senior on the team, both had two RBIs and a run scored, while Nicole Bavard had two RBIs and two runs and Rachel Barril went 3-for-3 with a run scored.

In Friday's second game against Monroe Catholic, Ashley Larson threw a two-hitter with eight strikeouts to improve to 4-1 on the season. Five Crimson Bears hit doubles - Ashley Larson, Danielle Larson, Melissa White, Ilea Belcourt and Cox - and six players had at least two hits in the game.

Johnston went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, White was 2-for-2 with three runs and two RBIs, Belcourt, Danielle Larson and Cox scored two runs each, while Ashley Larson and Hannah Barrill had two RBIs apiece for Juneau.

"It was great, we played better every day," Juneau coach Dave Massey said. "We're a better team now than when we got up there. Everybody was stepping up and it didn't matter who was in the (No.) 7, 8 or 9 spots because they were all hitting. It's hard to play six games without a letdown, and I thought we played six good games and in each we got better."

The Crimson Bears, who have yet to play at home, will hit the road again this coming weekend, as they'll play three games on Friday and Saturday in Ketchikan, then will play two games next Monday and Tuesday in Craig against Prince of Wales.

Charles Bingham can be reached at cbingham@juneauempire.com.

CRIMSON BEARS 13, RAVENS 1

Friday's game from Eielson High School, Fairbanks

JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 505 30 - 13 12 2

EIELSON 100 00 - 1 3 5

(Game called after five innings, 10-run rule)

Juneau-Douglas - H. Barril, Maryott (4), Cox (5) and Bavard. Eielson - Goodwin and Murtiff. WP - Maryott, 2-0. LP - Goodwin, 1-4. Sv - None. 2B - Juneau-Douglas 0, Eielson 1 (Allen 1). 3B - Juneau-Douglas 1 (Johnston 1), Eielson 0. HR - None.

CRIMSON BEARS 12, RAMS 1

Friday's game from the IGSA fields, Fairbanks

JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 062 31 - 12 16 3

MONROE CATHOLIC 000 10 - 1 2 0

(Game called after five innings, 10-run rule)

Juneau-Douglas - A. Larson and Bavard. Monroe Catholic - Stalter and Winfree. WP - A. Larson, 4-1. LP - Stalter, 2-2. Sv - None. 2B - Juneau-Douglas 5 (A. Larson 1, D. Larson 1, White 1, Belcourt 1, Cox 1), Monroe Catholic 0. 3B - None. HR - None.



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