The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team finished its regular season on a high note, defeating Ketchikan 10-6 on Friday and going on the beat Sitka 3-1 on Saturday to give Juneau a four-game winning streak heading into the state baseball tournament on June 1-2 in Palmer.
The Crimson Bears finish the season with a 12-2 record and last year's state runner-up baseball team looks to be peaking at the right time this season.
Sitka (4-10) had more to play for with second place in the region on the line in Saturday's game. Coming into the game, Sitka had lost to Ketchikan 8-2 on Friday and 5-0 earlier on Saturday to hold a 4-9 record coming into the game against Juneau, a half-game behind Ketchikan which finished the season 5-9.
The Wolves drew first blood when Sitka's Dan Stockel scored on a bases-loaded walk off of Juneau's Evan Scandling in the first inning. Scandling got out of the inning without any further damage and, along with reliever Bruno Del Olmo, the Bears shut down Sitka the rest of the way.
Juneau scored all of their runs in the second inning. Jake Dutton and Zach Kohan both singled and Scandling drew a walk to load the bases. Dutton scored on a single by Mike Rader and with two outs, Matt Freeman hit a single that scored both Kohan and Scandling to make it 3-1.
"There were men in scoring position and I just wanted to get a pitch to hit," Freeman said. "This team is great with two outs. But now I'm just looking forward to state. I give credit to God. I wouldn't be here without him."
The Bears had eight hits with Mike Rader and Zach Kohan leading the way with two hits apiece. One of Kohan's hits was a triple that he was called out when he failed to touch second base.
Scandling pitched five innings for the Bears. He gave up just one run on four hits. He struck out two and walked one to get his first win of the season and improve his record to 1-2 on the season. Del Olmo was almost untouchable out of the bullpen, striking out two batters without surrendering a hit.
Brett Haavig took the loss for the Wolves. He pitched the entire game and gave up three runs on eight hits while striking out three Juneau batters.
"I thought we did OK," head coach Jim Ayers said. "It was a big game for Sitka with them playing for second place. Haavig did a great job. I have confidence in Evan (Scandling) and Bruno (Del Olmo). I've been telling people these guys will be fine."
In Friday's senior-night game, Seth Marrs took the mound for Ketchikan. Marrs started Wednesday's game against Juneau and was yanked after facing only four batters.
At first, it looked like Marrs would have a repeat performance of Wednesday's game. Five Juneau batters, two singles, two walks, two errors and a balk later, the Kings trailed 3-0 with runners on second and third base with nobody out.
But Marrs settled down, struck out the last three Juneau batters and went on to shut down the Crimson Bears until the fourth inning.
The Crimson Bears took the lead for good with four runs in the fourth inning to make the score 7-5. Two of the runs came on a triple down the right field line by Matt Freeman that scored Bryson Buck and Reed Willis. Freeman went 2-2 with a sacrifice and three RBIs.
"Everybody got to do something," Jim Ayers said. "It was a good test of our emotional control."
Juneau's Brett Fairchild made the start but ran into some wildness, giving up a run in the second and four runs in the third inning. In both innings, Fairchild retired the first two Ketchikan batters before finding difficulty getting the third out.
Greg Smith came in for relief of Fairchild in the fourth to earn the win and Kohan entered the game with tow outs in the sixth inning and close the game for the save.
"Brett (Fairchild) was struggling a little bit," Ayers said. "He was frustrated so we went to Greg (Smith) who did a great job and Zach (Kohan) closed."
Ayers scored three runs for the second straight game on just one hit. He was hit by a pitch and walked twice. On Thursday, he was hit by two pitches and walked once while scoring three runs.
"I never played leadoff before this year," Ayers said. "When you have guys like Dylan (Hickey), Evan (Scandling) and Brett (Fairchild) behind you, you better get on base."
After Saturday's game the All-Region team was announced and the Crimson Bears led the way with four players on the roster. Will Nicholas, Dylan Hickey, Ayers and Fairchild join Sitka's Brandon Nicholas, Jason Mooney and Steve Hartrich along with Ketchikan's Jesse Van Aart and T.J. Milner.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crimson Bears 10, Kings 6
Friday's game at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park
Ketchikan 014 010 0 -- 6 7 3
Juneau-Douglas 300 421 x -- 10 10 2
Fairchild, Smith (4), Kohan (6) and Thatcher, Baun (4); Marrs, Mickel (4), Milner (6) and McAlpin. W -- Smith, 2-0. L -- Marrs. S -- Kohan 2B -- Juneau: Dutton (2); Ketchikan: None. 3B -- Juneau: Freeman (1); Kethcikan: None. HR -- None.
Crimson Bears 3, Wolves 1
Saturday's game at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park
Ketchikan 100 000 0 -- 1 4 1
Juneau-Douglas 121 301 x -- 3 8 2
Scanling, Del Olmo (6) and Baun; Haavig and Stokel. W -- Scandling, 2-1. L -- Haavig. 2B -- Juneau: Hickey (8); Sitka: None. 3B -- Juneau: Kohan (1), Sitka: None. HR -- None.