The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball team routed Prince of Wales to successfully open the Region V Baseball Tournament on Thursday in Sitka.
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The Crimson Bears beat POW 15-1 in five innings and stand one win away from reaching the state tournament for the first time since 2004.
"They're just kind of a hard, blue-collar baseball team," JDHS coach Jim Ayers said. "If one guy goes down, someone picks it up."
Juneau broke open a 4-0 game with eight runs in the third inning. JDHS tacked on four more in the fourth to finish the contest.
Freshman pitcher Dylan Baker struck out 10 batters in five innings for the win.
"Dylan Baker has a good, medium fastball and a really nasty 12-to-6 curve ball that he has a lot of command of," Ayers said. "The change of speeds and the hook is tough to pick up. Dylan, as a freshman, stepped up and wanted the ball. He's a great young man and has got a big future."
Offensively, Joe Kohan continued to swing a hot bat. The junior led off the first inning with a home run and went 3-for-3 with a double and three runs scored. Kohan has smacked home runs in five straight games and in seven of the Crimson Bears' last eight contests.
"He's worked hard to be comfortable and confident at the plate," Ayers said. "That's important for any good hitter. ... If you throw the ball around the plate, he's comfortable and confident.
Catcher Nano Jacobsen went 1-for-1 with a two-run home run in the second inning and Sean Bavard added two base hits and a run scored for the Crimson Bears (16-5).
JDHS will have a chance to advance to the state tournament if it defeats two-time defending state champion Sitka at 3 p.m. today.
If the Crimson Bears lose today, they can still make the state tourney with a win in the loser's bracket at noon Saturday. If JDHS wins today, it will play for the region title at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Sitka ended Juneau's bid for a state title berth last year with a walk-off home run in the region title game.
Clae Baker, Juneau's 6-foot-6 pitcher, is expected to start for the Bears.
"We're looking forward to a good game (today)," Ayers said. "Baker is more than ready. We'll be there with a little of everything."
Tim Nichols, sports editor,can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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