Even though the coaches were only calling it a glorified scrimmage, the Juneau-Douglas High School girls softball team treated Thursday night's 5-1 victory over the Ketchikan Kings like it was a playoff game.
For one thing, the game at Melvin Park was the home-opener for the Crimson Bears, who have been on the road the past three weekends. And, the Juneau players hate losing to other Southeast teams, even when the games don't count in the region standings.
"We like to work 'em every time," said Juneau shortstop Kari Parr, who scored twice and created her usual havoc on the basepaths. "We don't like to lose to them at all."
The Crimson Bears were coming off their lost weekend -- a weekend where they were snowed out of eight games in Anchorage -- and the Bears just wanted to get back in action.
"It was disappointing," Parr said of the trip to Anchorage, which resulted in the players hanging around their hotel rooms until the team decided to come home early.
"It wasn't fun at all," Juneau pitcher Stephanie Heard said.
In official games, Juneau is still 8-0 this season, but the Crimson Bears are 2-0 in unofficial games with Ketchikan this season. Ketchikan is 3-5 in region play, 3-7 with the extra two losses to Juneau. The Kings went 4-4 on a trip to Oregon for games early in the season, and Ketchikan coach Joe Austin said he's worried about exceeding the state's 22-game limit for high school regular seasons.
Juneau coach Kari Monagle said Ketchikan was in town early for this weekend's series of games, so they decided to play their glorified scrimmage on Thursday just for something to do. Both teams batted 12 players instead of the usual nine, which is one reason Monagle said the game didn't count in the standings.
The games count in the region standings today and Saturday as action continues at Melvin Park. In today's varsity schedule, Ketchikan plays Sitka (1-7) at 3 p.m., then Juneau plays Ketchikan at 5 p.m. and Sitka at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Ketchikan and Sitka play at 11 a.m., then Juneau plays Sitka at 1 p.m. and Ketchikan at 3 p.m.
In Thursday's game, Juneau scored one run in the first inning as Kari Parr walked, stole second, took third on a grounder by Nicole Adair, then scored on a grounder by Suzanne Parr.
The score stayed 1-0 until the fourth, when Julie Heard walked, then scored when Kari Parr and Adair hit back-to-back singles. Suzanne Parr singled to load the bases, and Hilary Turner followed with a two-run single to make it 4-0.
"I didn't know two runs scored on that," Turner said.
"It was an exciting play," said Stephanie Heard, who struck out six batters and allowed just two hits in six innings.
Ketchikan scratched out a run in the fifth inning as Maria Swaim led off with a single to center, then two strikeouts later Jonnae Ostrom doubled her home to make it 4-1. Juneau made it 5-1 in the sixth inning as Jenny Ahlgren singled to right and went to third on an error by Ketchikan's rightfielder Zeta Moss, then scored on a grounder by Julie Heard.
Ketchikan starting pitcher Tara Potts, who played for Juneau last year, said she felt "weird" being in the visitor's dugout Thursday. Potts allowed seven hits in five innings, and only struggled in the fourth when Juneau strung a walk and four singles together for three runs.
"But it feels like that every time we play," Potts said. "I felt I pitched a really good game. We tried. I feel like we can get to them every time."
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRIMSON BEARS 5, KINGS 1
Thursday's game at Melvin Park
KETCHIKAN 000 010 0 -- 1 2 2
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 100 301 x -- 5 8 2
Potts, Loughman (6) and Stewart. S. Heard, Walker (7) and S. Parr. W -- S. Heard. L -- Potts. Sv -- None. 2B -- Ketchikan: Ostrom; Juneau-Douglas: Walker. 3B -- None. HR -- None.