The North Pole Patriots softball team may not be out, but they’re certainly down after Thursday’s opening of the DII State Softball Tournament.
Thursday was the lone day of Pool Play for the tournament, meant to determine seeding for the actual bracket on Friday. North Pole will be playing as the lowest seed on Friday after dropping both of their games in the opening round. The Patriots lost to Homer in the first game 15-12 and Juneau-Douglas in the second game.
Boy oh boy, though, that first game sure was a great one.
After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning to Homer, North Pole got on the board thanks to an RBI single from Sierra Howard in the bottom of the inning. The Mariners added three runs in the top of the second, however, to take a quick 7-1 lead.
Homer added another run in the top of the third on a steal of home, but the Patriots defense limited the damage in the inning to just that one run.
From there, North Pole came alive. Lylah Murrah and Howard both scored on an error in the bottom of the third to make it 8-3.Brenneke Tobin’s RBI triple later scored Ciara Martinez to halve the deficit before Danika Dawley’s RBI single gave the Patriots five runs. Alicia Guzman then earned a two-run RBI triple to score Dawley and Grace Sikorski to bring North Pole within one. The next at-bat, Murrah doubled and Guzman scored to give the Patriots seven unanswered runs and tie the game, a remarkable comeback effort.
Things only got better for the Pats in the 5th. Murrah’s two-run RBI single scored Dawley and Taylor Croan to put North Pole in the lead after they previously trailed 8-1. Tobin was later walked with the bases loaded to score Guzman and Sikorski was walked after to score Murrah and give North Pole a 12-8 lead.
In the top of the sixth, however, things couldn’t have gone worse.
After getting two quick outs, Homer lived up to their name as a grand slam homer gave them four of the seven runs they scored in the inning. That put the Mariners up 15-12 and that’s the way it would stay.
After that game, North Pole went on to play Juneau-Douglas. The Patriots lost that game 19-6.
North Pole isn’t out of it yet. They’ll play Thursday at 12:15 against an opponent that had yet to be determined as of press time.
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.