ANCHORAGE -- The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team missed its flight home Saturday night.
But it was worth it.
The Crimson Bears needed to work overtime to claim their second state championship in four years, beating the two-time defending champion Service Cougars 6-4 Saturday night in an if-necessary game after both teams finished the double-elimination tournament at the Cartee Softball Fields with one loss each.
The victory gave three Juneau seniors -- pitcher Rae Walker, shortstop Kari Parr and catcher Suzanne Parr -- their second state title as all three played significant roles as freshmen when Juneau beat Service for the 1999 championship. Two other seniors -- center fielder Krista Staveland and third baseman Kynde Baun -- earned their first title.
"This is awesome," Kari Parr said, almost in unison with her twin sister. "This is definitely the best ending."
"It's emotional," Suzanne Parr added. "It's a sweet ending to our four years."
Five Crimson Bears made the all-tournament team -- Kari Parr, Suzanne Parr, Walker, Staveland and junior first baseman-outfielder Danielle Larson. Freshman pitcher Erika Lindsey and junior outfielder-infielder Tally Israelson both made the good sport team from Juneau.
The Crimson Bears were scheduled to leave Anchorage for their return trip home on the 7:40 p.m. Alaska Airlines flight. But their reservations were junked when the Cougars forced the if-necessary game by beating Juneau 3-1 in what was supposed to have been the title game. Since that gave both teams one loss apiece, an if-necessary game began about 5:15 p.m.
The Crimson Bears won the title about 6:45 p.m., but with the post-game awards ceremonies eating up more time there was no way the Crimson Bears could have made their flight. Juneau's coaches had a couple of team parents call during the last game to switch the team's departure to this morning.
Juneau could have made its plane had the Crimson Bears won the scheduled title game, but Service took advantage of some of Juneau's shakiest defense this season to hand the Crimson Bears their only loss of the tournament. Juneau (23-2 overall) committed 12 errors in Saturday's three games, including seven in the Crimson Bears' title-winning victory over the Cougars (19-8 overall).
In Saturday's loss to Service, hard-working Cougar pitcher Abby Augdahl gave up a run in the first inning as Staveland singled and scored on a double by Ashley Larson. But then Augdahl settled down to shut the Crimson Bears down the rest of the way. Service scored three runs in the third inning on two errors, a two-run double by Margaux Sheehan and an RBI triple by Heather Lyons.
Juneau was disappointed by the loss, but quickly turned things around for the if-necessary game.
"We had a talk before the game," Suzanne Parr said.
"We can't take it back," Kari Parr said. "It was just a mental thing. Once we started hitting, that picked us up."
Augdahl, who also started the if-necessary game for Service, threw six innings on Friday and already had another 19 under her belt from Saturday's games when she took the mound for the finale. Service took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Augdahl singled home a run, but the Crimson Bears finally chased a worn-out Augdahl with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Kari Parr walked and scored on a triple by Staveland, Suzanne Parr singled home Staveland, then Ashley Larson singled home Parr and took third on an error, where Johnston knocked her home with a single.
"It's kind of dead," Augdahl said of her arm. "It gets tiring."
"It was really nerve-wracking," said Ashley Larson, who threw her first complete game of the season in the finale. "We had to take it one out at a time and it worked. I had a lot of confidence in my teammates. I was glad they made the catches they did."
The Crimson Bears threatened to give the game back to Service as three errors in the fourth inning led to a Cougar run and two errors in the sixth led to another, making the score 4-3. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Juneau added two insurance runs as Danielle Larson singled and Johnston tripled her home, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Rachel Barril. The Crimson Bears committed two more errors in the seventh to give Service another run, but then Juneau's defense stiffened. After an error let in the Cougar run, Staveland fielded the loose ball in center field and gunned down a runner at the plate. On the next batter, Staveland made a diving catch. Then Margaux Sheehan hit a simple grounder to second baseman Julie Heard to end the game.
"I busted my butt to get it," Staveland said. "I knew I had to dive to get it. That was great. I knew we had it then."
"We had one goal, to play, win and do our best," Heard said. "It's great. We played with a lot of heart."
Earlier in the tournament, Juneau blanked North Pole 12-0 and beat Service 5-1 on Friday, then opened Saturday's rainy action with a 5-3 victory over Chugiak to avenge the Crimson Bears' only loss of the regular season.
Against North Pole (11-9 overall), Lindsey pitched her first complete game of the season, allowing three hits and walking none while striking out two Patriots. Staveland led Juneau at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, four runs scored and an RBI. Suzanne Parr went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
In Juneau's victory over Service on Friday, Danielle Larson went 3-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs. Freshman first baseman Ashley Larson went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and two runs scored, and Walker threw her second complete game of the season (a five-hitter).
"I feel the need for 10 more ice packs to put all over my body," Walker said as she strapped an ice pack to her pitching shoulder. "That was awesome. We had to do that."
On Saturday, Juneau gave up three unearned runs to third-place Chugiak (22-3 overall) in the first inning as the Crimson Bears made three errors and the Mustangs added a pair of doubles from Courtney Waters and Britney Henry. But the Crimson Bears scored one run in the bottom of the inning as Kari Parr walked, stole second, took third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch. Juneau added four more runs in the second inning as Kari Parr hit an RBI single in and scored on a triple by Staveland, who scored when Suzanne Parr reached on an error then Suzanne Parr scored on a double by Ashley Larson. Larson picked up the victory on the mound, with some relief help from Walker, who got out of the last inning on just three pitches.
"That's awesome," Walker said. "I don't think you could have asked for a better ending."
"I just went with it," said Staveland, who earned three Player of the Game awards from tournament officials. "I didn't watch it (her triple), I just ran."
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State softball tournament scores (all games at Cartee Fields, Anchorage)
Friday, May 31
Game 1 -- Monroe Catholic 7, Homer 6
Game 2 -- North Pole 18, Seward 0
Second round (winners' bracket)
Game 3 -- West Valley 4, Kodiak 1
Game 4 -- Service 8, Dimond 5
Game 5 -- Chugiak 10, Monroe Catholic 1
Game 6 -- Juneau-Douglas 12, North Pole 0
Third round (losers' bracket)
Game 7 -- Kodiak 8, Seward 4
Game 8 -- Dimond 14, Homer 8
Fourth round (winners' bracket)
Game 11 -- Chugiak 16, West Valley 0
Game 12 -- Juneau-Douglas 5, Service 1
Fifth round (losers' bracket)
Game 9 -- Monroe Catholic 5, Kodiak 4
Game 10 -- Dimond 5, North Pole 0
Saturday, June 1
Sixth round (losers' bracket)
Game 13 -- Dimond 5, West Valley 4
Game 14 -- Service 6, Monroe Catholic 2
Seventh round (winners' bracket final)
Game 15 -- Juneau-Douglas 5, Chugiak 3 (winner advances to championship game)
Eighth round (loser' bracket)
Game 16 -- Service 7, Dimond 2 (Dimond finishes in fourth place)
Ninth round (losers' bracket final)
Game 17 -- Service 5, Chugiak 1 (Chugiak finishes in third place)
Game 18 -- Service 3, Juneau-Douglas 1
(since Service and Juneau had one loss each)
Game 19 -- Juneau-Douglas 6, Service 4 (Juneau-Douglas wins championship)
Team academic award -- Seward Seahawks, 3.70 team GPA.
Team sportsmanship award -- Kodiak Bears.
All-tournament team -- Carolyn Berg, Monroe Catholic; Kristina Sieff, Dimond; Marissa Rodriguez, Dimond; Melissa Thayne, Dimond; Whitney Strid, Dimond; Courtney Waters, Chugiak; Amber Hartill, Chugiak; Kristie Clark, Chugiak; Nicole Ward, Chugiak; Abby Higbie, Service; Margaux Sheehan, Service; Abby Augdahl, Service; Heather Lyons, Service; Krista Staveland, Juneau-Douglas; Suzanne Parr, Juneau-Douglas; Kari Parr, Juneau-Douglas; Rae Walker, Juneau-Douglas; Danielle Larson, Juneau-Douglas.
CRIMSON BEARS 6, COUGARS 4
Saturday's if-necessary game from Anchorage
SERVICE 001 101 1 -- 4 4 2
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 004 002 X -- 6 9 7
Service -- A. Augdahl, Lyons (4) and Cushman. Juneau-Douglas -- A. Larson and S. Parr. WP -- A. Larson. LP -- A. Augdahl. Sv -- None. 2B -- Service 1 (Hollingsworth 1), Juneau-Douglas 0. 3B -- Service 0, Juneau-Douglas 2 (Staveland 1, Johnston 1). HR -- None.
COUGARS 3, CRIMSON BEARS 1
Saturday's championship game from Anchorage
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 100 000 0 -- 1 5 2
SERVICE 003 000 X -- 3 7 2
Juneau-Douglas -- Walker, Lindsey (5) and S. Parr. Service -- A. Augdahl and Cushman. WP -- A. Augdahl. LP -- Walker. Sv -- None. 2B -- Juneau-Douglas 1 (A. Larson 1), Service 1 (Sheehan 1). 3B -- Juneau-Douglas 0, Service 1 (Lyons 1). HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 5, MUSTANGS 3
Saturday's winners' bracket final from Anchorage
CHUGIAK 300 000 0 -- 3 6 3
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 140 000 X -- 5 8 3
Chugiak -- Ward, Kucko (3) and Clark. Juneau-Douglas -- A. Larson, Walker (5) and S. Parr. WP -- A. Larson. LP -- Ward. Sv -- Walker. 2B -- Chugiak 3 (Waters 1, Henry 1, Wasson 1), Juneau-Douglas 2 (A. Larson 1, Johnston 1). 3B -- Chugiak 0, Juneau-Douglas 1 (Staveland 1). HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 5, COUGARS 1
Friday's fourth-round game from Anchorage
SERVICE 100 000 0 -- 1 5 1
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 203 000 X -- 5 10 2
Juneau-Douglas -- Walker and S. Parr. Service -- Lyons, A. Augdahl (5) and Cushman. WP -- Walker. LP -- Lyons. Sv -- None. 2B -- Service 1 (A. Augdahl 1), Juneau-Douglas 1 (A. Larson 1). 3B -- None. HR -- None.
CRIMSON BEARS 12, PATRIOTS 0
Friday's second-round game from Anchorage
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 230 003 4 -- 12 13 0
NORTH POLE 000 000 0 -- 0 3 6
Juneau-Douglas -- Lindsey and S. Parr. North Pole -- Russell, Humphrey (7) and Van Hatten, Musgrove (7). WP -- Lindsey. LP -- Russell. Sv -- None. 2B -- Juneau-Douglas 2 (Staveland 1, S. Heard 1), North Pole 0. 3B -- None. HR -- None.