The Juneau-Douglas High School softball team heads down to Fairbanks tomorrow to defend its state title as a four-seed and Crimson Bears coach Dave Massey is not happy about it.
Following an undefeated season and as the defending state champs, Massey disagrees with the Alaska School Activities Association's decision to award JDHS a four-seed.
"There's absolutely no logic to the seeding, none," Massey said.
JDHS (15-0) faces fifth-seeded South Anchorage in the first round at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Hez Ray Softball Complex in Fairbanks. The winner faces either top-seeded Chugiak (19-0) or eighth-seeded Palmer in the next round.
According to the ASAA Web site, the seeding committee uses five different pieces of criteria in its seeding process - overall win-loss record versus varsity competition, head-to-head record, record against other state tournament teams who have qualified, record against other common opponents during the season and strength of schedule against acknowledged strong competition.
Juneau-Douglas did not play against any other large school state qualifying team and do not share any common opponents with the other seven state qualifiers. The Bears didn't travel to Anchorage this year and don't plan on boarding a plane bound for Alaska's most populace city any time soon.
Massey said he will not travel to Anchorage until teams from Anchorage start traveling to Juneau.
"We traveled to Anchorage more than five times since any Anchorage team has come to Juneau," Massey said. "Enough is enough. We're not going to Anchorage until someone from Anchorage comes down here."
Massey said he believes Juneau-Douglas received the toughest seed in the entire tournament. The Bears face a South team who feature pitcher Heather Lyons. Last year. as a member of Service High School, Lyons fired a shutout to send the Crimson Bears to the loser's bracket.
"She's arguably the best pitcher in the state," Massey said of Lyons. "She's the only pitcher who beat us last year."
While Massey may not be happy with the team's seed, he and the team knows that the Crimson Bears can overcome anything.
Last year, the Bears were ranked even lower and went on to win the state title. As a seven-seed, JDHS lost to Service only to win four straight games to take the title.
"There's nothing they're afraid of from the other teams," Massey said. "I don't think they're intimidated by other teams. They're ready to play and they can comeback."
The lesson the Bears learned last year about perseverance is one they plan on taking with them to Fairbanks.
"We did really well at staying positive, staying up, and if we keep that tempo in our game this year we should do really, really well," said first baseman Andrea Doerflinger. "That's served us really well. We lost once and we had to come up through the loser's bracket and we stayed up the entire time. We didn't get down on ourselves."
In addition to resiliency, the Bears boast tremendous depth up and down the lineup.
Doerflinger and senior ace Ashley Larson are both tremendous pitchers and hard hitters while Torie Powers, Hannah Barril, Alycia Cox, Madison Massey and Ilea Belcourt provide speed and power.
Depth, hitting, speed and defense can overcome anything - even a four-seed.
"I don't care where we're at, we can generate runs from anywhere in the lineup," coach Massey said. "We have people coming of the bench who are also capable of generating runs."