The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team started out slow but picked up steam throughout the evening Thursday on its way to a sweep of Southeast rivals Ketchikan and Sitka at Melvin Park.
The Crimson Bears beat the Kings, 6-2, to open play and then defeated the Wolves, 10-0, in the nightcap. Juneau is now 12-1 overall.
In the opener, Ketchikan scored two runs in the first, and Kayhi pitcher Kelsi Jones held Juneau scoreless through the first three innings.
"Some of the girls were a little nervous, a little edgy for the first bit of the game," Juneau coach Kari Monagle said. "Partway through they came on hitting the ball and doing the things they needed to do. The girls got more comfortable as the game went on, and things started going our way."
Juneau freshman Erika Lindsey said it took awhile to adjust to Jones' slow pitching speed.
"We just got back from Anchorage, where they have lots of fast pitchers. We were used to that," Lindsey said. "With a slow pitcher, it took us a while to get used to (timing the pitches)."
Juneau cut Ketchikan's lead in half in the bottom of the fourth when senior Suzanne Parr beat out a single, stole second, stole third and scored when the Kings' catcher made an errant throw to third base. The Crimson Bears tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the fifth when senior Krista Staveland scored on a two-out double by Parr.
The Crimson Bears jumped ahead in the bottom of the sixth as they hit around the order and scored four runs. Parr, Lindsey and sophomore Julie Heard each had RBI doubles for Juneau.
While Juneau's offense took some time to heat up, the Crimson Bear pitchers kept their team in the game with a steady performance.
Lindsey pitched four perfect innings of relief to close out the victory over Ketchikan, collecting five strikeouts and picking up the win.
"I was kind of scared at first, but I had a good team behind me," she said.
Stephanie Heard started that game, pitching three innings and getting two strikeouts.
In the second game, Juneau freshman Ashley Larson started and held Sitka to three hits and no runs over four innings; she struck out five Sitka batters. Senior Rae Walker relieved Larson to start the fifth and pitched a pair of 1-2-3 innings with three strikeouts.
"Our pitchers have so much depth; it's great to see," Monagle said. "Our pitching is allowing us to stay in there ... and it gives our batters a break."
The Wolves had some scoring chances early, including a one-out triple in the second inning by first baseman Teal Schlins, but never capitalized on them. No Sitka player reached base in the last three innings of the game.
Juneau took advantage of three straight walks issued by Sitka starter Cara Palmer in the bottom of the second. After Robyn Schlins relieved Palmer, Juneau's Julie Heard hit a single to drive in sophomore Rachel Barril and freshman Jordan Johnston. When Heard stole second base the catcher's throw went into center field; Heard and senior Kynde Baun scored.
Barril drove in a run with a double in the third, and in the fourth Staveland had an RBI single and Suzanne Parr an RBI triple for the Crimson Bears. Senior Caroline Levale drove in a run in the fifth.
Juneau closed out the scoring with two more runs in the sixth, including another RBI triple by Parr. After Juneau scored 10 runs, the game was called on the mercy rule.
"We're sitting really well," Suzanne Parr said after the win over Sitka. "Our pitchers did an awesome job."
Juneau faces Ketchikan again tonight at 7 p.m., followed by Saturday games versus Sitka at 11 a.m. and North Pole at 1 p.m. All games are at Melvin Park.
In junior varsity action on Thursday, the Crimson Bears JV opened play with a win over the Ketchikan JV, 14-2. Juneau's Jessie Gray had a home run, while Kerrie Powers added a triple and Nicole Bavard a double for the Crimson Bears. Tally Israelson picked up the win.
The Juneau JV later lost to the Prince of Wales varsity team, 6-5, and the Juneau Red & Black team lost to Sitka JV #2, 7-4. Juneau's Melissa White hit a triple in the game against POW.
Andrew Kreueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRIMSON BEARS 6, KINGS 2
Thursday's game from Melvin Park
KETCHIKAN 200 000 0 -- 2 5 2
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 000 114 X -- 6 10 1
Ketchikan -- Jones and Gallaway. Juneau-Douglas -- S. Heard, Lindsey (4) and S. Parr. WP -- Lindsey. LP -- Jones. Sv -- None. 2B -- Ketchikan 0, Juneau-Douglas 4 (S. Parr 2, Lindsey 1, J. Heard 1). 3B -- None. HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 10, WOLVES 0
Thursday's game from Melvin Park
SITKA 000 000 -- 0 3 3
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 041 212 -- 10 10 1
(game called in bottom of the sixth, 10-run mercy rule)
Sitka -- Palmer, R. Schlins (2), Delong (6) and Ozawa. Juneau-Douglas -- A. Larson, Walker (5) and S. Parr. WP -- A. Larson. LP -- Palmer. Sv -- None. 2B -- Sitka 0, Juneau-Douglas 3 (Barril 2, Staveland 1). 3B -- Sitka 1 (T. Schlins 1), Juneau 2 (S. Parr 2). HR -- None.