Buzz Ward's power hitting sparked the offense as the Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team defeated the Sitka Wolves 5-2 Thursday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
Ward's two-run homer over the left field fence was his first of the year and gave the Crimson Bears (5-0) a 5-1 lead in the third inning.
"I was ahead in the count and looking to be aggressive," Ward said. "I was looking for a fast ball and that is what (Sitka pitcher Ryan Staten) gave me."
Sitka's Staten pitched six innings and did a solid job minimizing Juneau's scoring opportunities, but Juneau's bats started hot as the Bears' Corey Mahar, Joe Kohan and Aaron Cohen scored in the first inning.
Shane Rud had a sacrifice RBI while Mahar, Kohan and Cohen all recorded singles in the first-inning rally.
Juneau pitcher Christopher Millay threw a solid overall game, but suffered some growing pains in the second inning. Millay walked four straight batters, leading to Sitka's first run.
It could have been a lot worse, but JDHS center fielder Mahar made an outstanding defensive play when he chased down a blooper with diving catch to end the inning.
"The key to this ball game was our defense," JDHS coach Jamie Kissner said. "We made all the plays and didn't have any errors. Kohan made a diving play up the middle to get a guy out at second and that was huge for us at the time."
Kohan's defense ended a fourth-inning threat when Sitka put runners on second and third. Richard Carlos drove home David Reynolds with a sacrifice fly to cut the score to 5-2.
JDHS pitcher Dakota Smith entered the game in the sixth and finished strong, striking out two batters.
Despite the final score, Sitka threatened at various times in the game and forced JDHS to focus.
"We beat them pretty good a couple of weeks ago," Kissner said. "Hopefully this game will help us keep our focus for our game against Sitka tomorrow."
For Sitka, the competitive game proved a step in the right direction.
"We got thumped pretty good a couple of weeks ago by these guys and we really wanted to go out and prove to ourselves that we could stay in the game with these guys, and we went out and did that," said Sitka head coach Randy Conway. "This was as good a high school game as you're going to see right there."
JDHS takes on Sitka again at 3 p.m. today, followed by a game against Ketchikan at 6 p.m.
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