ANCHORAGE -- An exhausted Juneau-Douglas High School softball team ran out of gas one game shy of the championship game at the state softball tournament this weekend at Cartee Fields in Anchorage.
After playing softball for nearly eight hours and four tense losers' bracket games Saturday, the Crimson Bears simply ran out of steam in a 3-0 loss to Chugiak in the losers' bracket final. A victory in that game would have sent Juneau into the championship against defending champion Service, giving the Crimson Bears a chance to reclaim the title they won in 1999.
"The girls had played nearly seven hours of softball," Juneau head coach Kari Monagle said after the loss to Chugiak. "Fatigue had set in. We made mistakes that come from being tired."
As it was, Chugiak avenged an earlier loss in the tournament to Service to force an if-necessary game with a 9-2 victory. But in the if-necessary game, the Cougars claimed their second straight state championship with an 8-7 victory over Chugiak in eight innings.
The Crimson Bears lost their opening game Friday 1-0 to the Dimond Lynx, after enjoying a first-round bye in the tournament. The loss increased from two to five the number of games between Juneau and the championship game.
"Friday's loss forced us to work our way back through the bracket," Juneau pitcher Nicole Adair said. "We put ourselves in a difficult position and were not able to get out of it."
Dimond pitcher Raquel Ranger led the Lynx past the Crimson Bears in the second round Friday. Last season, Ranger allowed two hits in a 7-0 victory over Juneau that knocked the Crimson Bears out of the state tournament on its second day.
The Lynx right-hander threw a two-hitter at the Crimson Bears in Dimond's 1-0 win. Lynx catcher Crystal Miller smacked a two-out, one-hop shot to the left-center field fence, tripling in Gretchen Mengel, who reached on a Juneau's lone error.
Juneau assistant coach Dave Massey was optimistic of the Crimson Bears chances after Friday's loss. "We've played through the loser's bracket before," Massey said. "We made it to the title game after losing, we can do it again."
The Bears began their march through the losers' bracket with 14 hits in a 15-6 dismantling of Monroe Catholic in the final round of action Friday night.
Needing to win every game they played Saturday, the Crimson Bears got off to a fast start with a 6-0 victory over the North Pole Patriots. Andrea 'Rae' Walker hurled a three-hitter and was aided by the bat of Julie Heard who smacked a triple, driving in a run in the fourth inning.
In the next game against Lathrop, Hilary Turner hammered a line drive deep into the left field corner in the first inning for a two-run inside-the-park home run. Julie Heard -- running for Adair who reached on an infield hit -- scored on Turner's home run. The Crimson Bears coasted to an 8-1 win, eliminating the Malemutes from the tournament.
Juneau then survived a four-run first inning by the Bartlett Golden Bears by scoring five runs in the sixth to claim a 9-4 victory. Suzanne Parr was 3-for-3 and drove in three runs to lead the Crimson Bears, who had 13 hits in the game. Fatigue began to show in the play of Juneau, as the Crimson Bears committed eight errors in their third game of the day.
The Crimson Bears finally succumbed to the pressure of playing four games in the same day, without a break, as they lost to Chugiak to fall one game short of the championship game.
Chugiak capitalized on a pair of Juneau errors in a three-run fourth inning to take charge of the game. The loss eliminated Juneau from the tournament.
"We just could not get going," catcher Suzanne Parr said. "We wanted to win, but we just could not get things going. We were tired, but Chugiak did what they had to do to win. They capitalized on our mistakes."
Mongale said the Crimson Bears made things difficult on themselves with the loss to Dimond on Friday.
"Last season we were two and out," Mongale said. "We won four of six games this year, I am proud of how hard the girls worked today and how they responded after Friday's loss. It is hard to be in the running if you're exhausted. We simply ran out of steam."
LYNX 1, CRIMSON BEARS 0
Friday's winners' bracket second-round game
Juneau-Douglas 000 000 0 -- 0 2 1
Dimond 001 000 x -- 1 1 3
Juneau -- Walker, Adair (5) and Su. Parr. Dimond -- Ranger and Miller. W -- Ranger. L -- Walker. 2B -- None. 3B -- Dimond: Miller. HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 15, RAMS 6
Friday's losers' bracket second-round game
Monroe Catholic 003 120 -- 6 10 7
Juneau-Douglas 622 50x -- 15 14 1
Monroe -- Stalter and Roland. Juneau -- Walker and Su. Parr. W -- Walker. L -- Stalter. 2B -- Monroe: Stalter. Juneau: Turner. 3B -- Closuit. HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 6, PATRIOTS 0
Saturday's losers' bracket third-round game
North Pole 000 000 0 -- 0 3 2
Juneau-Douglas 300 201 x -- 6 4 1
North Pole -- Russell and Musgrave. Juneau -- Walker and Su. Parr. W -- Walker. L -- Russell. 2B -- None. 3B -- Juneau: J. Heard. HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 8, MALEMUTES 1
Saturday's losers' bracket quarterfinal
Juneau-Douglas 200 001 5 -- 8 8 2
Lathrop 000 000 1 -- 1 2 2
Juneau -- Adair and Su. Parr. Lathrop -- Cleworth and Zatewski. W -- Adair. L -- Cleworth. 2B -- Juneau: Su. Parr. 3B -- Lathrop: Behr. HR -- Juneau: Turner.
CRIMSON BEARS 9, GOLDEN BEARS 4
Saturday's losers' bracket semifinal
Juneau-Douglas 111 105 -- 9 13 8
Bartlett 400 000 -- 4 5 3
Juneau -- Walker and Su. Parr. Bartlett -- Davidson and Neeson. W -- Walker. L -- Davidson. 2B -- Juneau: Su Parr. 3B -- None. HR -- None.
MUSTANGS 3, CRIMSON BEARS 0
Saturday's losers' bracket final
Chugiak 000 300 0 -- 3 6 0
Juneau-Douglas 000 000 0 -- 0 5 2
Chugiak -- Morrissey and Henry. Juneau -- Walker, Adair (4) and Ahlgren. W -- Morrissey. L -- Walker. 2B -- Chugiak: Sacks. 3B -- Chugiak: Sacks. HR -- None.