Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain High School baseball teams played long into the night under the Adair Kennedy stadium lights on Wednesday, with the Crimson Bears earning a 14-5 win over the Falcons.
“We came out ready to play,” Juneau-Douglas head coach Chad Bentz said. “We came out where we left off against Petersburg, then we died down a bit, but we managed to put some more pressure on them. We had a couple good bunts, some base running, and I was happy to see that.”
The Crimson Bears also added 41 assists to coach Bentz’ scorebook with the addition of 41 candles on 41 cupcakes in honor of his birthday.
“I was hoping no one knew about the birthday,” Bentz said. “But the guys got me a card, it was pretty cool, it was pretty special, I appreciated it.”
Crimson Bears senior Garrett Bryant earned the starting win on the mound and left after three innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. Junior Kai Schmidt, senior Brock McCormick and junior Porter Nelson all relieved.
The Crimson Bears scored five runs in the top of the first inning. P. Nelson and Gavin Millard earned walks and scored on an error. Senior Christian Ludeman walked and Bryant singled and both scored on a double by sophomore Kaleb Campbell. Senior Olin Rawson doubled in Campbell. The Crimson Bears added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, three runs in the sixth inning and four runs in the seventh.
Bryant and Campbell led the Crimson Bears with three hits apiece; P. Nelson and Rawson had two apiece; Millard, C. Ludeman, Schmidt and sophomore Caden Mesdag one hit each.
Campbell had three RBI, Millard and Rawson two apiece, and P. Nelson, McCormick and Bryant one each.
Millard scored three runs, Nelson and Campbell two apiece. Senior Ben Coutu, Ludeman, Bryant, junior Carter Walker, Schmidt, Mesdag and freshman Lamar Blatnick scored one run each.
Millard and Ludeman earned two walks apiece, and P. Nelson, McCormick and Blatnick one each.
“We are just always looking to get better at what ever we do,” Bentz said. “We definitely weren’t as sharp pitching. We can’t defend walks or hit batters but those things happen and we just have to work harder at throwing strikes and attacking the strike zone, that is all we can control… we just have to keep working hard, that is all we can do.”
The Crimson Bears continued their strong season defensive play, allowing just five hits and committing just one fielding error. The Falcons allowed 14 hits and had two fielding errors. The Crimson Bears left six of their own runners on base, the Falcons stranded nine.
Thunder Mountain coach Joe Tompkins said his inexperienced team continues to impress the Falcons coaching staff.
“They love to be out there,” Tompkins said. “They are having fun and they are learning. As long as they are doing that I can’t complain.”
Falcons junior third baseman Noah Chambers was credited for strong fielding at third base including a put out on a Crimson Bears’ steal attempt and a running foul ball catch.
Seniors Josh Carte and Oliver Mendoza, and juniors Preston Williams and Isaiah Nelson were noted for their infield work, while senior Josh Rosenbruch and freshmen Kaeden Quinto and Kasen Ludeman played strong outfield defense.
Falcons junior Peyton Lewis started on the mound and went five innings, earning six strikeouts and walking just three batters. Mendoza and Rosenbruch relieved.
“They don’t give up,” Tompkins said. “They come flat sometimes but they have to pick it up, they are learning. We are young and will keep fighting. It is hard when JD jumped out 5-0 in the first. JD has good sticks and stuff right now, our pitchers are working and we will keep working and get better by the end of the season.”
The Falcons scored a run in the bottom of the third inning when Mendoza singled in I. Nelson and added a run in the fourth when Mendoza walked with the bases loaded scoring Rosenbruch.
The Falcons scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh as senior Grant “Red Rocker” Lathrop was hit by a pitch, advanced to second when Carte was hit by a pitch and to third when K. Ludeman walked. Lathrop scored on a wild pitch. Rosenbruch then singled to score Carte and K. Ludeman,
The Falcons were led by two hits from Mendoza and Rosenbruch, and I. Nelson had one hit. Rosenbruch had two RBI and Mendoza one. I. Nelson, Lathrop, Carte, K. Ludeman and Rosenbruch scored one run each. Junior Peyton Lewis, Williams, Mendoza, Carte, K. Ludeman and Chambers earned one walk each.
“They learned to never give up in this game,” Tompkins said. “We teach that all the time. The boys have heart and, you know what, they are having fun. They are growing as a team.”
The Crimson Bears and Falcons will play three non-conference games this weekend at Adair Kennedy Field. Friday game times are 7 p.m. (JV 4) with a Saturday varsity double-header at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Above: Juneau-Douglas senior pitcher Garrett Bryant delivers against Thunder Mountain during the Crimson Bears' win over the Falcons on Wednesday at Adair Kennedy Field. (Klas Stolpe)