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DeRocher goes deep for walkoff win

JDHS sweeps Sitka, Ketchikan takes two from TMHS Falcons

Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The clouds parted - somewhat - and the rain mercifully stopped its downpour just in time for Juneau-Douglas to celebrate senior night and 20 years of Crimson Bears baseball on Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, with Don Cary, the school's first coach, throwing out the first pitch to mark the occasion.

Shaun T. Cox / Juneau Empire
Shaun T. Cox / Juneau Empire

And what a special occasion it was with a walkoff win over Southeast Conference rival Sitka on Saturday.

Saturday: Juneau-Douglas 5, Sitka 3

Juneau-Douglas moved one step closer to Southeast Conference perfection Saturday in dramatic fashion, with Alex DeRocher supplying the senior night fireworks.

After Sitka's V.J. Carlos tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning, touching up an otherwise stellar performance by senior starter Aaron Cohen, who struck out nine and gave up just four hits, none bigger than Carlos' jack to left-center.

Cohen, the Bears' No. 3 hitter, had a shot at redemption in the bottom of the seventh, but no way were the Wolves going to give the senior slugger anything to hit, and he drew a walk on five pitches.

Then, on a 1-1 count, DeRocher sent Sitka starter Mike Svenson's offering deep over the fence in left-center, and the Bears celebrated at home plate.

"Everybody was telling me before I went up that they weren't going to give Aaron anything to hit," DeRocher said. "Aaron, he hits bombs regularly and I'm right behind him (in the order). I just knew I had to hit the ball and he gave me a hanging curveball, and I just went with it."

DeRocher's dinger, his second of the year and first career walkoff, improved the Bears' instate record to 11-0, 6-0.

"I'm not really a home run kind of guy," DeRocher said. "I usually just go for base hits and try to knock those guys in. But it's really exciting because tonight, it was a really close game.

"I've never experienced anything like this. It's right up there."

For the second night in a row, it didn't take the Crimson Bears' bats long to warm up.

Dylan Baker singled sharply to right to lead off, followed by a Vinnie Isturis single that saw Baker gamble and take third, only to score on a sacrifice fly by Cohen that nearly went out of the park, and the Bears led 1-0 after one.

The Wolves countered in the top of the second after Makalai Potrzuski drew a walk and went to third on a double by David Reynolds before scoring on a groundout by Cole Venneburg to even things up at 1-1.

The Bears jumped back out front after Baker reached on an error, took third on a wild pitch and then scored on an infield single by Cohen, and JDHS led 2-1 after three.

The Bears added some insurance in the fifth after Isturis singled and went to second on a wild pitch before Cohen drew a walk. Keath Flint drove in Isturis with an RBI single into the gap in left-center, and the Bears led 3-1 after five.

But the Wolves took it right back after Potrzuski drew a walk and took third on a single up the middle by David Reynolds. Centerfielder Jamie Daniel misplayed the grounder and Potrzuski was able to score while Reynolds took second.

Cohen was able to regroup and strike out the side, stranding the tying run at third.

Then came Carlos' heroics on a 1-1 count to tie the game at 3-3.

The Bears' perfect conference season is on the line next weekend against Thunder Mountain at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.

Friday: Juneau-Douglas 8, Sitka 6

Juneau-Douglas banged out 11 hits to stay just a step ahead of Sitka in Southeast Conference baseball action Friday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, topping the Wolves 8-6.

Sitka loaded the bases in the first inning after Anthony Perkins was hit by a pitch, Max Hanson singled to right and Michael Matz reached on a dribbler down the third-base line.

But JDHS lefty starter Damon Ludwig retired the next three hitters with three straight pop outs to infielders to work out of the jam.

Dylon Baker quickly got the Bears started in the bottom half with a sharp liner that hit the fence in left for a double, Vinnie Isturis moved him over and Aaron Cohen sent him home with a grounder into the gap and the Bears took a 1-0 lead after one.

Sitka countered in the top of the second when Cole Venneberg hit a leadoff double and V.J. Carlos got an infield single to put runners at the corners with nobody out. But Ludwig again was able to work out of the jam with a strike out and two fly outs as the Wolves stranded five runners in the first two innings.

Dominic Holloway hit a one-out double off the fence in right and Lance Ibesate drew a walk, setting the stage for Baker, who gave the ball a ride deep over the fence and up into the trees in left-center for his 11th jack of the year, and JDHS led 4-0 after two.

The Wolves got on the board in the top of the third after a leadoff walk to Matz and a double to the fence in left-center for David Reynolds. Mike Svenson scored Matz with a groundout, and Luke Clayton drove in Reynolds with a double to left, but Venneberg was nailed at third by DeRocher in left for the final out.

JDHS came right back with two more runs in the bottom half after leadoff singles by Daniel and James San Miguel. Pinch runner Justin Brooks took second and Ibesate drove in both runners with a one-out chopper up the middle, and the Bears led 6-2 after four.

Sitka struck back with three in the top of the fourth after the Bears committed a trio of errors. Carlos doubled and went to third on a single by Perkins, but took home after DeRocher bobbled the ball in left. Hanson then reached on an error at third, but Isturis got Perkins at second after he made the turn and decided to go back.

Matz then doubled to left to score Hanson, and Reynolds reached on an error to chase Ludwig. In came San Miguel, and Potrzuski then drove in Matz on a fielder's choice to make it a one-run game.

But the Bears got one back after DeRocher scored on a perfect suicide squeeze with Daniel picking up the RBI, pushing JDHS back up by two, 7-5, after five.

Sitka again clawed within one after Hanson singled to lead off the sixth and then scored on a bloop single that landed on the line in right make it a 7-6 game.

JDHS got it back in the bottom half after Isturis drew a leadoff walk, and DeRocher slapped a double down the right-field line for his third hit of the game, and it was 8-6 after six. Cohen slammed the door to pick up the save, three up, three down via punchout, ending the game on a nasty curveball.

Saturday: Ketchikan 18,

Thunder Mountain 1

Ketchikan completed a two-game sweep of Thunder Mountain on Saturday in Southeast Conference baseball, racking up 14 runs in the second inning and cruising to an 18-2 win over the Falcons at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.

The Kings wasted little time getting on the board. Jeff Whicker drew a walk, went to second on a wild pitch, stole third and went home on the errant throw. Kenneth Swain then drew a walk, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Jesse Lundgren drew a walk and Swain and Lundgren each got a free base - with Swain scoring - on a balk by TMHS starter Xavier Dunn.

David Klein drove in Lundgren with a sharp single to right, and the Kings led 3-0 out of the gate.

The Falcons got a run back in the bottom of the inning after Chris Luck singled and stole second before moving over on a Xavier Dunn single and scoring on a passed ball, and the King led 3-1 after the first.

But Ketchikan poured it on with 14 runs off nine hits, five walks and four errors in the second to put the game out of reach.

The Kings and Falcons added a run each in the fifth inning to set the final score with Ketchikan racking up 10 hits to the Falcons' four.

TMHS's Chris Luck had had two Falcon hits, an RBI and a run scored.

Ketchikan starter Eric Ruaro gave up two runs on four hits while striking out 11.

Friday: Ketchikan 16,

Thunder Mountain 1

Ketchikan swung away Friday and dumped Thunder Mountain 16-1 in five innings of Southeast Conference baseball behind 13 hits, none of which was more impressive than David Klein's third-inning grand slam to left field.

It didn't take long for Ketchikan to get started as Jeff Whicker smashed a standup double to the fence in center to lead off, and then went to third on a sharp single to left by Kenny Swain.

Swain stole second and Whicker took home after the throw to second was misplayed by the Falcons, and the Kings led 1-0 after one.

Ketchikan struck big in the third with two outs. Swain reached on an error for what would have been the third out, Jesse Lindgren and Simon Brooks both drew walks to load the bases, setting the stage for Klein.

With a 1-2 count and the catcher set up low and away, the pitch came inside and belt high, and Klein belted it over the fence in left for a grand slam home run.

Ruaro followed with a single to left and Chas Allen doubled to right, and both scored on a single by Connor Fitzgerald, and the Kings led 7-0 after the third.

The Kings tacked on five more in the fourth and four in the fifth for a 15-0 lead before the Falcons got on the board in the bottom of the fifth.



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