High School Sports

After missing state last year, Juneau-Douglas softball is back with plans to go out on top

The Juneau-Douglas high school softball team wasn’t able to defend its Division II state title last year. The Crimson Bears fell short of reaching the 2022 state tournament after placing fourth in their regional tournament.

“That gave us a little fire for this year, and the girls have been working towards their goal, which is exciting,” Juneau-Douglas head coach Lexie Razor said. “It was pretty motivating, winning the sportsmanship trophy and getting fourth place at regions kind of humbled us and gave us the focus to really do what we needed to do this year.”

The Crimson Bears channeled that fuel into a sensational 2023 season in which they lost only once, dominated their conference and opened the 2023 state tournament with a commanding 9-1 win over Kodiak on Thursday morning.

“We weren’t really happy after last season because that’s not the end we wanted, so we’re just using it to fuel ourselves this year,” senior catcher Anna Dale said.

Juneau-Douglas got out to an early lead and was up 7-0 by the end of the second inning. Kodiak didn’t record its lone run of the game until the top of the fifth inning.

“We started hitting really well, everybody played their role and did what they had to do, and that’s really important for us,” Razor said.

Dale led the charge for their strong day at bat with four total RBIs, including a run-scoring double in the bottom of the second inning.


“I definitely didn’t start off the season at bat as hot as I wanted, but I think I’m starting to find it and I’m really happy that I can do that for my team,” she said.

She recorded at least one RBI in each of the first three innings didn’t get a chance to make it four in a row because she never got a fourth chance at bat.

“She’s doing really well,” Razor said. “She’s a leader that we can rely on to do almost anything we ask.”

The Crimson Bears are an upperclassmen-heavy team with seven seniors, four juniors and just three underclassmen.

“We have a lot of seniors on this team, so it’s our last time playing together, and we want to go all out,” Dale said.

Juneau-Douglas lost just one senior from last year’s team, so there is still a lot of familiarity and chemistry on this year’s squad.

“We’ve been playing together since we were little, so I think that is really our fuel to know that we don’t want that season to end like it did last year,” Dale said. “We want to keep fighting and hopefully win a state championship.”

South delivers statement win over West Valley

Two-time reigning state champion South High had an excellent all-around performance Thursday in shutting out West Valley 10-0.

“I think this was a great performance top to bottom both offensively and defensively,” South head coach Brandon McCutcheon said. “The team performed really well-balanced.”

The Wolverines had four different players record home runs against the Wolfpack that included a pair of solo shots from seniors Alexis Keaveny and Olivia Heartwell, a two-run homer by reigning Gatorade Player of the Year Emily McCutcheon and a three-run homer by sophomore player of the game Millicent Wurst.

“Milli always has had big bat potential, and she just hadn’t turned it on this season yet,” McCutcheon said.

Even though she was the only one to score on her home run, Heartwell managed to get the team on the board using other methods. Later in the game, she busted out her basketball skills and crossed up the West Valley catcher so she could safely tag home plate for the 10th and final run of the game.

“Everyone is always rooting for Olivia to get a home run,” McCutcheon said. “She brings out the energy from players around her because everyone wants to see her do well and succeed.”

As impressive as Heartwell’s swift moves running bases and the explosiveness of the team’s bats were, McCutcheon said the most dominant performance came from starting pitcher Alexis Moore. She allowed just one hit and struck out 11 while not giving up a run.

“Her curveball was working, and she was striking batters out left and right,” he said. “She was producing a lot of swings and misses, which is always great because it takes some pressure off the defense. When they did hit the ball, we performed well on defense too.”

If the Wolverines continue to perform as whole the way they did Thursday, they’ll be a tough out for any team, especially since the state softball tournament is double elimination.

“To be able to come into a game and see that we’re hitting on all cylinders right now, we’re hoping to carry that momentum through to the next games,” McCutcheon said. “I think as long as our bats keep producing, we’re going to be fine through this tournament.”


ASAA Division I state softball tournament

Thursday (Pool Play)

Pool A

Chugiak 10, Colony 2

Chugiak 15, Service 2

Service 10, Colony 8

Pool B

South Anchorage 10, West Valley 0

Bettye Davis East 21, West Valley 0


Bettye Davis East 4, South Anchorage 3

ASAA Division II state softball tournament

Thursday (Pool Play)

Pool A

Juneau-Douglas 9, Kodiak 1

North Pole 22, Kodiak 4

North Pole 5, Juneau-Douglas 3

Pool B

Delta Junction 9, Sitka 1

Sitka 20, Kenai Central 8

Delta Junction 13, Kenai Central 0

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.