4 up, 4 down for JDHS at Fairbanks

Doubleheader sweeps of Patriots, Wolfpack open 7-game roadtrip

Posted: Sunday, May 17, 2009

Juneau-Douglas showed North Pole on Saturday that it isn't a one-dimensional high school softball team.

Eric Engman / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Eric Engman / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

The defending large schools state champions continued their torrid weekend hitting in the Interior, but they also flashed a pair of effective arms in Jennfer Nelson and Brittany Fenumiai.

Nelson pitched a two-hitter in a 14-1 romp of the Patriots in the finale of a Railbelt Softball Conference doubleheader. Fenumiai threw likewise in the opener, the Crimson Bears won by the same score.

"Britt probably throws a little bit faster, a little bit harder, and Jennifer has a good mix," Juneau-Douglas assistant coach Dennis Powers said. "They both have four to five pitches that they can throw at different speeds, and they're both confident."

North Pole pitcher Liz Hall showed some confidence at the plate in the top of the first inning of the second game, giving the Patriots a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Hall took Nelson's first pitch and launched it over the left-field fence.

"It was just in the strike zone, and I did what I was supposed to do - hit the ball," Hall said. "I don't know, that one just went over."

Hall and her teammates encountered many Crimson Bears who were also doing what they were supposed to do, as the unbeaten visitors generated 14 hits in the doubleheader finale, including two home runs during an eight-run, eight-hit third inning.

Juneau-Douglas stretched its 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first to an 12-1 domination in the second, where Hall faced 13 batters.

Gabi Saldivar led off with a hit and scored when Krista Barril reached on a one-out error. Barril found herself at third base after Kalea Chapman walked and Megan Mauseth reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases.

Darby Brown, who will be a nursing student in the fall at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, cleared the bases by crushing a grand slam over the center-field fence.

"I figured she'd pitched down the middle because she had three balls and she didn't want to walk one in," Brown said of the count being 3-1 before she connected. "I figured it (would) be right down the middle, and it was."

Nelson added an RBI single and Saldivar, in her second trip to the plate in the second, cracked a home run over the left field fence. Barril made it 12-1 with an RBI single.

Brown finished 3-for-4 and scored twice, including coming home on an error in the fourth. Mauseth tapped an RBI single in the fourth to seal a 4-0 weekend for Juneau-Douglas, which improved to 12-0 overall and 6-0 Mid Alaska.

Fenumiai also hit 3-for-4 and scored once, and Saldivar had a 2-for-3 day with a pair of runs scored.

Juneau-Douglas finished 6-0 this year against Interior teams, as it swept West Valley on Friday at the South Davis Complex and took both games of a season-opening series against Lathrop in Juneau.

In the first game, Fenumiai struck out 10 and the Crimson Bears manufactured 13 hits, with two each from Fenumiai, Kaci Hansen and Saldivar.

Hansen drilled a two-run triple in the first and Barril had a run-scoring triple in the third, where Saldivar contributed a three-run double. Nelson added a two-run double for the Crimson Bears.

Hall accounted for North Pole's run in the top of the fourth by stealing home after she reached base on a walk and stole second and third.

Ashley Kaufman and Angela Wheeler had singles, respectively, in the third and fourth for the Patriots.

FRIDAY

West Valley discovered on Friday night one reason why Juneau-Douglas is unbeaten this season and owns the last two large schools state softball titles.

The Crimson Bears are aggressive with the aluminum.

Juneau-Douglas churned out 17 hits to the Wolfpack's seven in a 12-4 win for the visitors in the opener of a Railbelt Conference high school softball doubleheader at the South Davis Complex.

The Crimson Bears later won 8-2 in the second game for the sweep, improving to 11-0 overall and 4-0 in conference.

"It's starts from the top down, their coaching staff just does a phenomenal job," Wolfpack head coach Togi Letuligasenoa said before Friday's second game. "Their players buy into their systems and they always seem to have multiple pitchers. They have pitcher after pitcher after pitcher, and it's tough because they have so many different looks they can give you."

In the first game Friday, it was more of a case of hitter after hitter. Eight of 10 Crimson Bears batters generated at least one hit, and four of them produced multiple hits, including senior catcher Darby Brown with a 4-for-4 night.

A lot of repetition in practices are a reason for the Crimson Bears' productive aluminum bats, according to Brown, who also drove in two runs and scored once Friday.

"Basically, we have a lot of hitters that have been playing for a long time. So, there's a lot of experience," said Brown, who will be a nursing student in the fall at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

It's experience that goes back seven to eight years for some of the players. Head coach Dave Massey and his staff have also worked with many of the Crimson Bears since they were 10-year-olds in youth softball.

Juneau-Douglas was missing three key players Friday, but the ones who came to Fairbanks picked up the slack.

Shortstop Kalea Chapman, for example, had three straight doubles, including a two-run shot in the top of the fifth inning, during her five at-bats. Second baseman Jennifer Nelson and third baseman Gabbie Saldivar each hit 3-for-4 and combined for three runs and two RBI, and left fielder Kaci Hanson went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

West Valley's Kristin Dullen and Juneau-Douglas' Britany Fenumiai each went the distance in the pitching circles. Dullen struck out four and Fenumiai had eight strikeouts and the only walk of the game. She also retired the Wolfpack in order in the bottom of the second.

Second game

Center fielder Michaela Hale hit 2-for-3 and accounted for both Wolfpack runs.

She stole home in the bottom of the third after reaching base on a single, and she scored in the fifth on Winters' second RBI hit of the day after Hale reached on an error.

Brown went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run for the Crimson Bears, and Fenumiai hit likewise with an RBI. Krista Beral contributed a three-run double in the top of the fourth.

Dullen went the distance again for West Valley, allowing 12 hits and no walks, and Nelson gave up five hits to the Wolfpack while striking out three and walking one.



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