The Juneau-Douglas High School baseball and softball teams discovered who they will take on in their respective state tournaments on Sunday.
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The Crimson Bears baseball team earned a top seed after winning the Southeast Conference championship on Saturday. JDHS defeated two-time defending state champion Sitka 4-3 in the final.
Coach Jim Ayers' team will take on Homer at 11 a.m. Thursday at Growden Field in Fairbanks. The Mariners missed the tournament last year but finished second in the state in 2005.
To see all the official state tournament brackets, check out www.asaa.org
For the Bears, this will be their first state appearance since 2004. JDHS captured state championships in 2002 and 2003.
Either JDHS or Homer will take on either Mid-Alaska Conference champion North Pole or Dimond in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
On the other end of the bracket, Northern Lights Conference champs Kodiak will face the Wolves while Cook Inlet Conference winners South Anchorage will take on Lathrop.
The Alaska School Activities Association expanded the number of participants in the state baseball tournament from four to eight teams this year. Also, the tournament will be a single-elimination instead of double-elimination. If a team loses, the best it can hope for is third or fourth place.
In softball, the Crimson Bears drew Bartlett in the first round of the state large school softball tournament. JDHS and the Golden Bears will play at noon Friday at Cartee Fields in Anchorage.
The Bears, coached by Dave Massey, finished second in the Railbelt Conference this season.
Either JDHS or Bartlett will face Cook Inlet Conference champions Chugiak or Lathrop in the semifinals later that day.
In the other end of the bracket, Railbelt Conference champs North Pole will play defending state champions Eagle River while East Anchorage takes on Wasilla.
The state softball tournament has a double-elimination format with the final taking place at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Juneau-Douglas has been one of the most successful teams in state softball history. Since the tournament's inception in 1996, the Bears have made an appearance each year, winning four state titles and finishing second four times.
In the small school tournament, Ketchikan will play Monroe Catholic while Sitka takes on Kodiak. Both games start at 10 a.m. Friday.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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