Softball

The North Pole Patriots take on Ketchikan in the losers bracket of the DII State Softball Tournament. News-Miner Screenshot

Day two of the ASAA State Softball tournament went pretty late, so we weren’t able to get you all the results. There was also plenty of action Saturday to get you caught up one. With that, let’s get to it.

Delta, North Pole, and West Valley all dropped their opening round games of bracket play a day after all three teams were swept in Pool Play. Still, all three went to the losers bracket and kept their state title hopes alive.

For West Valley, those hopes didn’t stay alive too long. After being outscored 42-2 their first three games of the tournament, the Wolfpack’s season ended with a 14-0 shutout loss to Dimond Friday night. That loss officially eliminated West Valley from the DI tournament and dropped Fairbanks area schools to 0-10 at state softball.

Fairbanks teams didn’t remain winless for long, however.

The Delta Huskies, easily the top team out of Fairbanks this season, had gotten off to a disappointing start at the DII state tournament. They lost leads in their first two games and never had one in game three. Friday night, though, the Huskies showed why they were considered the Fairbanks team with the best chance of taking state with an 8-4 win over Kodiak to eliminate the Bears and stay alive. It was nice revenge for Delta Junction after they blew a 9-5 lead to Kodiak on Thursday and ended up losing 18-9.

The North Pole Patriots also got in on the revenge game. In the first game of Pool Play on Thursday, North Pole fell behind 8-1 against Homer, scored 11 unanswered runs to go up 12-8, and then surrendered seven unanswered to lose 15-12. Friday night, it was another wild game that saw the two teams combine for 41 runs. This time, however, North Pole was on the winning side of things as they took a 21-20 victory over Homer to eliminate the Mariners and keep their own season alive.

Only one team could make it any further, however. Saturday saw Delta and North Pole face off in the first game of the day. The winner would go on to play the loser of the winners bracket game between Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas. In the end, it was the North Pole Patriots who came out ahead in an absolute barn burner with a score of 24-21. Meanwhile, Ketchikan found themselves on the losing end of a 13-12 game to Juneau-Douglas, sending them to the losers bracket to face the Patriots. Delta’s season, meanwhile, was over.

For the Patriots to make the state title game after starting the tournament out 0-3 would’ve come as a shocking upset. Well, consider yourself shocked, because the state title game is exactly where the Lady Patriots ended up making it.

North Pole got off to a four run lead, added two more in the third inning and held that lead the rest of the way as they eventually defeated Ketchikan 10-2 on a walk-off two run home run in the bottom of the fifth. 

With that, North Pole made it out of the losers bracket to take on Juneau-Douglas in the DII state title game. A day after the Patriot baseball team lost in the semifinals, the Lady Patriots earned their chance to give North Pole just their second state championship in 17 years and their first ever in softball.

To win state, North Pole would have to beat Juneau-Douglas twice in a row. 

Game one ended after press time, but a full recap of the events will be in Monday’s paper.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.