The age 17-18 team from Juneau's Midnight Suns Fastpitch Softball Association tied for fifth place in the 22-team Garden Island Classic softball tournament that ended Saturday in Kauai, Hawaii.
The Midnight Suns opened Saturday's single-elimination bracket action with a first-round bye, then blanked the Colorado Cardinals of Denver 8-0 to move to the third round. But a series of bloop hits in the sixth inning let Team Iowa rally to claim a 5-4 victory, eliminating the Midnight Suns from the tournament.
In Friday's final round-robin pool-play action Juneau beat the Fort Collins (Colo.) Black Stars 6-4, then the Midnight Suns tied the defending champion Native Girls of Kauai 0-0 to close out their pool-play games with a 2-1-1 record and the second seed from their pool. On Thursday, the Midnight Suns beat Most Wanted of Denver 7-2 and lost to the Devils of New Jersey 2-0.
"Overall, the girls didn't see anyone they couldn't compete with," Juneau coach Tim Adair said. "This was the last tournament for a lot of the girls, who aren't planning on playing softball in college. We've got three more days here, so we plan to hit the beaches and get burnt."
In Saturday's game with the Cardinals, Juneau hit four triples to the fence in the top of the first inning as the Midnight Suns jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Kari Parr tripled to left to lead off the game, then scored on a triple to left by Krista Staveland, who scored when Suzanne Parr reached on an error. MaryAnn Moffet singled to left and one out later Kynde Baun hit a two-run triple to left centerfield to score Parr and Moffet. Savanah Stewart knocked home Baun with a single and scored on a triple to left centerfield by Zeta Moss, who scored one out later on a single by Kari Parr.
Juneau added another run in the fourth inning when Kari Parr walked, went to third when Staveland's bunt resulted in an error, and scored on a grounder to first by Suzanne Parr.
The Midnight Suns used three pitchers in the game, with Andrea "Rae" Walker going two innings with two hits and one strikeout, Tara Potts going two innings with one hit and two strikeouts, and Nicole Adair going one inning with one hit, a walk and two strikeouts. The game was called after five innings because of an eight-run mercy rule.
Against Iowa, Juneau scored two runs in the first as Staveland singled with one out, then Moffet hit an inside-the-park home run with two outs. Juneau made it 3-0 in the third inning as Moffet walked, Turner walked and Baun singled home Moffet. But Iowa scratched out a run in the fourth inning on a single, a sacrifice bunt and another single, making it 3-1.
Juneau added a run in the top of the sixth inning as Moss singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jenny Ahlgren, Kari Parr walked, and Staveland singled home Moss to make it 4-1 Midnight Suns. However, in the bottom half of the inning, Iowa strung together four hits and a walk to score four runs and win the game.
"They were mostly little bloops over the infield, with one double that knocked in a run," Tim Adair said. "They were all clean hits."
On Friday, Juneau beat Fort Collins as the Midnight Suns scored three times in the first on an RBI double by Moffet and a two-run single by Hilary Turner. Juneau added another run in the second as Suzanne Parr scored Ahlgren with a single to make it 4-0. Fort Collins scored two runs in the bottom of the second and tied the game at 4-4 in the fourth inning. Juneau scored twice in the seventh to win the game, as Staveland hit a two-run double.
In their tie with the Native Girls, Walker threw a three-hitter and no runner made it past first until the sixth inning when the Native Girls stranded runners at first and third with two outs, but catcher Suzanne Parr threw out a runner trying to steal second to end the threat. The Midnight Suns had chances to score as they loaded the bases in the first two innings, but they couldn't push a run across. Staveland had two hits for Juneau, while Moffet and Moss had one hit apiece.
AMERICAN LEGION RAINED OUT
Juneau's Auke Bay American Legion Post 25 Midnight Suns baseball team got an extra day to heal its many injuries as the opening round of the Alaska State American Legion Baseball Tournament was rained out Saturday at Anchorage's Mulcahy Park.
Juneau was scheduled to play Service of Anchroage on Saturday, and the game will be made up at 9 a.m. today. All four opening-round games were rained out Saturday, so the bracket shifted back one day.
Because of injuries, Juneau was down to nine healthy players as the District 2 tournament ended earlier this week in Wasilla. Juneau coach Jim Ayers said he hopes four or five of his sidelined players will be healthy in time for today's game.