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The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team took a giant leap toward its second straight berth in the state tournament by winning two of three games Friday and Saturday in Ketchikan.
The Crimson Bears defeated Sitka 10-0 on Friday behind a no-hitter from junior Brett Fairchild and followed it up with a 5-4 victory over Sitka on Saturday morning. But the Bears failed to clinch the Region V title when they lost to Ketchikan 10-8 in Saturday's second game of the doubleheader.
Juneau upped its record to 8-2 and now holds a commanding lead over second-place Sitka (4-5), with four games remaining this week in Juneau. A win by the Crimson Bears or a loss by Sitka will clinch a state berth for Juneau. Ketchikan is out of the region running with a 2-7 record.
Fairchild was dominating in Friday's victory, pitching five innings, striking out five and walking just one batter to bring his record to 2-0 on the season. He also helped his own cause with a fourth-inning, two-run homer that invoked the 10-run rule when Sitka failed to score in the top of the fifth inning.
Mike Rader opened up the scoring for Juneau in the second inning with a grand slam home run that scored Matt Freeman, Zach Kohan and Brian Thatcher. Juneau added four more runs in the third, two of them coming off a single by Freeman that scored Dylan Hickey and Fairchild. Hickey went 2-for-3 with two doubles and Freeman was a perfect 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
In Saturday's game, the Bears trailed 4-1 heading into the sixth inning when Freeman doubled, knocking in Evan Scandling and Hickey to bring the score to 4-3. Joe Ayers' sacrifice fly scored Bud Baun to tie the game in the seventh and with two outs, Hickey doubled to score Rader from second base.
Fairchild came into the game in relief in the sixth inning and claimed the win with a solid effort in the seventh. Baun, Juneau's catcher, ended the game when he picked off Mike Loucks at first base to end it.
The Bears got out of a jam in the sixth inning, with runners at first and second and nobody out, when assistant coach and team scorekeeper Mark Hickey pointed out to the umpires that Sitka put in a substitute player that was not announced. The runner was called out at second base and the Wolves failed to score in the inning.
"It was a big momentum swing for us," Hickey said. "It was 4-3 and they looked like they were going to make it bigger."
Sophomore Kyle Lanz got the start and made it through 3 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, striking out three. Greg Smith relieved Lanz in the fourth. Hickey and Scandling each went 2-4 to lead Juneau in offense.
The Bears wrapped up their final road game with a loss to the struggling Kings. Evan Scandling took his second loss of the season in a relief appearance. Will Nicholas started for the Bears and gave up seven runs.
Ayers had the hot bat for Juneau, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and swiping three bases. Hickey added his third home run of the series, a two-run shot to left field that scored Ayers in the first inning.
Dylan Hickey continued his hitting tear, going 7-for-10 in the series with three homers and three doubles. He now has four home runs in ten games and is 2-0 on the mound.
"The guys did tremendously well," Head coach Jim Ayers said. "They need to learn more to play in tougher competition. Sitka and Ketchikan played us real tough. The whole season they wanted to beat us. Our focus now is to get a win and go to state."
Crimson Bears 10, Wolves 0
Friday's game at Ketchikan
Sitka 000 00 -- 0 0 3
Juneau-Douglas 044 2x -- 10 8 1
Fairchild and Thatcher. Gould and Stockel. W -- Fairchild (2-0). L-- Gould. Sv -- None. 2B -- Juneau: Hickey 2; Sitka: None. 3B -- None. HR -- Juneau: Fairchild (1), Rader (2).
Crimson Bears 5, Wolves 4
Saturday's game at Ketchikan
Juneau-Douglas 010 002 2 -- 5 8 2
Sitka 200 200 0 -- 4 6 2
Lanz, Smith (4), Fairchild (6). Gould and Stockel. W -- Fairchild (3-0). L-- Gould (0-3). Sv -- None. 2B -- Juneau: Freeman, Hickey; Sitka: None. 3B -- None. HR -- None.
Kings 10, Crimson Bears 8
Saturday's game at Ketchikan
Juneau-Douglas 203 210 0 -- 8 9 2
Ketchikan 202 303 x-- 10 11 0
W. Nicholas, Scandling (5). McAlpin and Stockel. W -- McAplin L-- Scandling (0-2). Sv -- None. 2B -- Juneau: Kohan, Scandling; Ketchikan: Van Aart, Updike. 3B -- None. HR -- B. Nicholas.