Juneau's Midnight Suns Fastpitch Softball Association's age 17-18 team split its two opening-round pool-play games Thursday at the 23-team Garden Island Classic softball tournament in Kauai, Hawaii.
The Midnight Suns opened the tournament with a 7-2 victory over Most Wanted of Denver, Colo., then dropped a 2-0 decision to the Devils of New Jersey.
In the opener, Juneau fell behind 2-0 as Most Wanted's first two batters reached on a single and an error, then come around to score. Midnight Suns coach Tim Adair said Juneau shut down Most Wanted after the first inning.
The Midnight Suns tied the game in the top of the second inning as MaryAnn Moffet singled, took second on a bunt single by Suzanne Parr, then went to third as Hilary Turner walked to load the bases. Zeta Moss hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Moffet, with Parr taking third and Turner later stealing second base. Savanah Stewart singled home Parr to make it 2-2.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Juneau took a 4-2 lead as Krista Staveland singled, Jenny Ahlgren reached on an error, Nicole Adair reached on a fielder's choice that erased Staveland at third, and Moffet followed with a two-out, two-run triple.
Juneau added three insurance runs in the seventh inning as Kari Parr reached on a bunt single, Staveland sacrifice bunted her to second and Adair reached on an error as Parr scored and Adair took second. Moffet followed with an RBI single to score Adair. Moffet took second when Suzanne Parr singled and scored when Turner singled to center field.
Midnight Suns pitcher Andrea "Rae" Walker allowed five hits, two runs, one walk and struck out two batters over four innings. Reliever Nicole Adair allowed one hit and struck out three over the final three innings.
In the nightcap, which was shortened to five innings because of a time limit, Juneau had runners reach base in four out of the five innings but the Midnight Suns couldn't find a way to score.
Tim Adair said Juneau's best scoring chance came in the first inning when Kari Parr singled and Nicole Adair followed with a bunt single, then both runners stole a base so Juneau had runners on second and third with no outs. But the Devils' pitcher struck out the next three Juneau hitters to escape the jam.
The Devils scored twice in the bottom of the fourth as the leadoff hitter singled and stole second, one out later another batter was hit by a pitch, then both runners scored on a two-run double.
"They (the Devils) hit the ball well, but we played good defense," Tim Adair said. "They had a runner reach third in the second inning on a triple, but the next batter hit a shot to Kynde Baun who faked a throw to first then tagged the runner out at third."
The Midnight Suns play two more round-robin pool-play games today, against the Colorado Stars (who lost 3-0 to the Devils on Thursday) and to the hometown Native Girls of Kauai.
The Native Girls split two games with the Midnight Suns en route to winning the tournament championship. After today's pool-play wraps up, the teams will be seeded into a single-elimination bracket with the tourney champion being crowned Saturday night.