Defending champ Juneau eliminated

Losses to Chugiak and Lathrop end Bears' season

Posted: Sunday, June 07, 2009

Juneau-Douglas - the defending state softball champion - came into Friday's state tournament quarterfinal play with one loss and left with two more to have its season abruptly ended.

Chugiak handed the Crimson Bears (18-3) their first loss at Cartee Fields, with the help of freshman pitcher Darion Gobert, who furnished eight strikeouts and allowed one hit to propel the Mustangs to a 4-1 quarterfinal victory.

The Crimson Bears were leading 1-0 through five innings, but three errors in the sixth allowed for Chugiak's four runs.

"That's awesome against Juneau, because they're usually a good-hitting team," said Chugiak assistant coach Kim Martin.

In consolation action, Railbelt Conference fourth-place finisher Lathrop upset Railbelt champion Juneau 3-0.

Chugiak coach Jim Huber attributed the quarterfinal upset to Gobert, timely hitting and two sixth-inning errors by Juneau - a dropped ball in left centerfield and an overthrow at third base.

The Mustangs, down 1-0 in the top of the sixth, capitalized on the mistakes by coming up with six hits in the inning.

Senior Mariah Bookbinder scored the first run and went 3 for 4.

In the first round, Ashley VanRyn struck out 10 batters to help Chugiak thump Colony 12-1.

The Mustangs face East today at 9:30 a.m.

Last week the undefeated T-birds snatched the CIC title from runner-up Chugiak, winning the championship game 12-11 in overtime.

"I'm not worried. Our hitting has (improved) a lot," said Bookbinder, who has appeared at state in each of her four years, never having advanced to the championship game.

The Mustangs finished fourth last year and earned third in 2007.

"Maybe the fourth time will be a charm," she said.

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