Nicole Adair was exhausted but happy after the Juneau-Douglas High School girls softball team closed out its regular season with a perfect record Saturday afternoon at Melvin Park.
Adair had just pitched all 11 innings of Juneau's 3-2 victory over the Ketchikan Kings, and she said her surgically reconstructed right arm was "dead."
Adair struck out 15 Ketchikan batters and only allowed five hits in the Crimson Bears' victory, which came one day after Adair struck out 15 Sitka batters and allowing just three hits as Juneau claimed a 4-1 victory over the Wolves in the regulation seven innings.
In Juneau's other games over the weekend, the Crimson Bears beat Sitka 6-3 earlier on Saturday and topped Ketchikan 11-3 on Friday night to finish the season with a perfect 12-0 record in regulation games, 14-0 if two glorified scrimmages against Ketchikan are counted.
"That kept us going, we wanted to finish the season with an undefeated record," Adair said after Juneau had to play four extra innings against Ketchikan, the final two in tie-breaker format where the last hitter from the previous inning starts out the next as a runner on second base.
In Saturday's late game, Juneau won it in the 11th inning when runner Rachel Barril went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Krista Staveland and one out later scored on a fielder's choice when Ketchikan pitcher Aleisha Filyaw threw Jenny Ahlgren's comebacker to the mound home to try and get Barril, who slid under the tag.
"I was just busting my tail, hoping they messed up," Ahlgren said.
"We were a little worried," Barril said.
Juneau took a 1-0 lead in the second when Barril reached on an error, took second on a wild pitch, took third on a grounder to second and scored on a fielder's choice as Ketchikan catcher Jonnae Ostrom blocked the plate but didn't get the glove on Barril until Barril got her hand on the dish. The Crimson Bears made it 2-0 in the fourth when Danielle Larsen walked, took second on a single by Barril, then went to third and later scored on a pair of wild pitches.
Ketchikan tied the game at 2-2 when Angela Campbell's two-out triple on a full count in the top of the seventh scored Jessie Johnson and Savanah Stewart.
"That was big for me, because I never hit the ball," Campbell said.
"That was kind of a bummer because I thought we'd get strike three or an out like we'd been doing," Adair said.
Adair, a senior, only pitched one inning last year after doctors found two torn tendons in her shoulder when they went in to scrape down the front of joint where it had been grinding. Earlier this season, Juneau coach Kari Monagle chose key spots to test Adair's strength but didn't pitch her more than a few innings on any given weekend. With Juneau headed to the state tournament May 18-19 in Anchorage, Monagle threw Adair this weekend the way she'd normally use the team's top pitcher.
In Friday night's game against Sitka, Adair mixed speeds and used pinpoint control to keep the Wolves off balance. Adair said she uses four pitches -- a rising fastball, changeup, dropball and screwball. But it's her changeup, which comes to the plate about 20 mph slower than her other pitches, that seemed to have Sitka off balance.
"It's a nice little weapon," Adair said. "They almost made me change it because they said my changeup was too slow."
"She's one of the few pitchers who can disguise her changeup," Juneau centerfielder Hilary Turner said.
The Sitka batters said Adair kept them off balance all night, and the Wolves felt they didn't capitalize in the one inning (the fourth) where Adair struggled. In the fourth inning, Adair had already given up one run on an RBI single by Kelly Revard and the bases were loaded before she settled down and struck out the side for the third time in the game.
Juneau catcher Suzanne Parr drove in two runs in Friday's victory over Sitka, while Adair helped her cause with an RBI and a run. Julie Heard had the team's other RBI, while Barril, Heard and Kari Parr were the other Bears to score besides Adair.
In Friday's early game against Ketchikan, Juneau took advantage of two Ketchikan errors, two walks and a single by Adair to score three runs in the bottom of the first. Ketchikan closed the margin to 3-2 with a run in the third on a Maria Swaim single and a run in the fourth on a Campbell double.
But the Crimson Bears scored six runs in the fourth to make it 9-2, with the big blow a three-run double by Turner and single RBIs from Kari Parr, Adair and Rae Walker. Ketchikan's Ostrom homered to deep center in the fifth to make it 9-3, but Juneau answered with two more runs in the bottom of the inning on RBIs from Ahlgren and Adair. Kari Parr, Suzanne Parr and Staveland each scored twice for the Crimson Bears.
In Saturday's early game against Sitka, Juneau took a 2-0 lead in the third on a two-run inside-the-park homer by Turner. Sitka tied the score in the fourth as Sidney Wyman and Chelsea Young both drove in runs. But Juneau made it 5-2 in the bottom of the inning as Ahlgren drove in a run and Adair hit a two-run single. Wyman scored on a double by Revard in the sixth for Sitka to make it 5-3. Juneau answered in the bottom of the inning as Kari Parr went to second on throwing error by Sitka's third baseman, then came home on a throwing error by the rightfielder trying to get the ball back to the infield.
Ketchikan (11-11 overall, 5-7 Region V) swept two games from Sitka (1-11 Region V) to earn a spot at the state tournament, winning 6-2 on Friday and 8-3 on Saturday. In Friday's game, Zeta Moss had a triple and two RBIs to lead the Kings. On Saturday, Moss scored three runs and hit a double while Ostrom had four RBIs, a triple and a double to lead Ketchikan.
At the end of Saturday's Juneau-Ketchikan game, an all-Region V team was announced. The players on that squad were Adair, Turner, Kari Parr and Suzanne Parr from Juneau; Filyaw, Moss and Jodi Jakubek from Ketchikan; and Wyman and Krista Ozawa from Sitka.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRIMSON BEARS 3, KINGS 2
Saturday's game from Melvin Park
KETCHIKAN 000 000 200 00 -- 2 5 2
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 010 100 000 01 -- 3 9 2
Two outs when winning run scored.
A. Filyaw and Ostrom. Adair and S. Parr. W -- Adair. L -- A. Filyaw. Sv -- None. 2B -- Ketchikan: A. Filyaw; Juneau-Douglas: None. 3B -- Ketchikan: Campbell; Juneau-Douglas: Adair. HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 6, WOLVES 3
Saturday's game from Melvin Park
SITKA 000 201 0 -- 3 8 4
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 002 301 x -- 6 10 1
Riggs and Ozawa. Walker and S. Parr. W -- Walker. L -- Riggs. Sv -- None. 2B -- Sitka: Whitson, Revard; Juneau-Douglas: Ahlgren. 3B -- Sitka: Oen; Juneau-Douglas: None. HR -- Sitka: None; Juneau-Douglas: Turner.
CRIMSON BEARS 4, WOLVES 1
Friday's game from Melvin Park
SITKA 000 100 0 -- 1 3 1
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 120 001 x -- 4 6 2
Hagan and Ozawa. Adair and S. Parr. W -- Adair. L -- Hagan. Sv -- None. 2B -- None. 3B -- Sitka: None; Juneau-Douglas: Barril. HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 11, KINGS 3
Friday's game from Melvin Park
KETCHIKAN 001 110 0 -- 3 10 4
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 300 620 x -- 11 8 0
Loughman, H. Filyaw (4), Potts (5) and Ostrom. Walker and S. Parr. W -- Walker. L -- Loughman. 2B -- Ketchikan: Campbell; Juneau-Douglas: Turner. 3B -- None. HR -- None.