The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team continued its undefeated season Tuesday by winning three games against Sitka in a rare tripleheader.
Senior Carrie Ann Laliberte made the most of her last high school softball games at home, pacing the Crimson Bears first with her bat in an 8-1 win in the opening game followed by a pitching gem in a 6-0 shutout over Sitka on Tuesday at Melvin Park.
In the third game, Juneau's Lii Levale hit a walk-off grand slam in the eighth inning in a 7-4 win.
The third game was added to make up for rain on Monday.
"It's bittersweet because this is the last home game," Laliberte said. "So we just have a good time and have fun."
Laliberte was in a groove on the mound, scattering three hits over six innings in the second game. She mixed up her pitches well and kept the Sitka batters off balance.
"She's pitching pretty good and has been consistent all year," JDHS assistant coach Glen Alt said. "She keeps us in the game and lets the offense do the work. It's not just pitching - she's killing the ball and is probably hitting over .400 this year, which is pretty good."
Juneau started quickly with two runs in the first inning. Laliberte led off with a double and scored on a single by Nethia Lavering. Lavering stole second and reached third on a passed ball before scoring on a sacrifice by Darby Brown.
Juneau's left side of the infield played flawlessly as third baseman Cortney Wagner and shortstop Brittany Fenumiai made difficult plays look easy. Wagner and Fenumiai made or assisted in almost half of Sitka's outs.
"It felt good out there, but I couldn't have done it without my defense - they have my back," Laliberte said, who plans to attend Washington State University next fall.
Laliberte and the Bears (12-0) held Sitka without a hit until two outs in the third inning when Jule Peterson's soft liner just made it over the outstretched glove of Juneau second baseman Nicole Young.
Wolves pitcher Emily Conway kept Juneau in check for three innings before running into trouble in the fifth. Conway started off the inning by beaning Lourdes Andes, who stole second and scored on a Laliberte hit.
Brown knocked home Laliberte, who scored twice in the game. Juneau's scoring was capped off by Rachel Peyton whose pinch-hit, two-out line drive scored Brown and Nicole Fenumiai.
Laliberte finished the game 2-for-3 and was the only Juneau player with multiple hits. Lavering was 1-for-3 with a run scored and two stolen bases and Brown was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
"Starting last week, I've been getting my head into it more," Laliberte said. "I'm feeling way more comfortable in the box."
Peterson was 2-for-2 and Megan Fondell was 1-for-2 to lead Sitka.
Although Juneau dominated Southeast play this year, Alt gave credit to a Sitka team that has a much smaller enrollment than Juneau.
"Sitka is not a bad team and for the most part they've been good all year long," Alt said. "They've played us tough all season. It wouldn't surprise me to see them in the small school championship game."
Laliberte was 2-for-4 and scored two runs in the first game that was highlighted by a six-run second inning for Juneau. Brittany Fenumiai had a solid pitching performance, surrendering just three hits and the single run. Brown was 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the game.
In the third game, Levale provided the highlight of the night with her grand slam.
JDHS trailed 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth. After loading the bases, Levale cleared the fence to win the game. She finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs.
Jennifer Nelson pitched all eight innings, scattering five hits and striking out three.
Taylor Larson went 1-for-3 with a triple, Krista Barril hit a single and Brittany Fenumiai doubled in the win.
JDHS plays a doubleheader at Ketchikan on Saturday before entering Railbelt Conference play Wednesday at Wasilla.
Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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