The Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears baseball team defeated Sitka High School 5-1 on Friday, and 4-3 on Saturday, securing them a number one seed at the State Championships next week in Fairbanks.
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Despite losing to JDHS on Friday, Sitka gained a spot at state after going into the losers bracket and defeating Ketchikan High School. Sitka played JDHS again on Saturday to determine placement at state, because two teams from Southeast will attend this year.
"Juneau's players have grown up a lot this year and proved they are Southeast Champions and ready to win at state," said head coach Jim Ayers.
Sitka started strong Saturday leading 3-0 after scoring in the first, second and fourth innings.
Things turned around for JDHS in the fourth inning when Nano Jacobsen singled to start a two out rally. With Jacobsen on first, Ryan Beason hit a home run that cleared the bases, bringing the Bears within one run by the end of the fourth. In the sixth inning, JDHS's Dylan Baker led off with a double, then pitcher Joe Kohan hammered a home run making it 4-3 Juneau.
Kohan held Sitka off by pitching a shutout in the last three innings to get the win.
Through the first five innings, Friday's game was a pitchers' duel between Sitka's Ross Vennaberg and Juneau's Clae Baker.
At the top of the sixth inning, with one man on base, Joe Kohan hit a home run to put JDHS on the board. Then Ryan Beason, Aaron Cohen and Shane Rud loaded the bases, and Sean Bavard doubled, drilling in two more runs.
Sitka scored one and was held scoreless for the rest of the game by Baker.
While describing the games, the coach had to point out the efforts of George Damian. Pinch running for Beason, Damian scored the tying run on Friday night and electrified the crowd again on Saturday as Jacobsen's pinch runner when he tied up the game by scoring from second base.
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