It’s been nearly a month since the Ketchikan High School baseball and softball teams last played on their respective diamonds.
But that streak will come to an end on Thursday.
Both Kayhi clubs traveled on Wednesday to start their respective Region V tournaments, as Kayhi will jump right into postseason play this weekend.
The Kings flew to Sitka, and will square off against Juneau-Douglas High School at 3 p.m. on Thursday, in their first-round matchup.
The Lady Kings traveled to Juneau, and will play Thunder Mountain High School at 6 p.m. on Thursday, in their first-round game.
Here are previews of each matchup:
Kings start Region V tourney vs. Juneau-Douglas
The last time Kayhi and Juneau-Douglas faced each other on a baseball field the game ended in a tie.
The matchup — a preseason round-robin game in Sitka — ended with Kayhi up to bat, with the winning run standing on third base.
But a preseason time-limit rule was enforced, calling the game with a 2-2 final.
The Kings will get another chance against Juneau-Douglas on Thursday afternoon, when they face the Crimson Bears in the first-round of the Region V tournament in Sitka. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The game will be livestreamed on the NFHS Network, and will be available to follow online at iScoreSports.com.
“Those Juneau teams and Sitka have been beating each other up for a month, now, and we’ve been sitting and waiting, hopefully, for a chance to play,” Kayhi head coach Andy Berntson said after the Kings’ practice on Tuesday. “So we’ll take advantage of it.”
The novel coronavirus basically knocked out Kayhi’s season this spring. Those preseason matchups against Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain and Sitka, and a series at Petersburg High School on April 23-24 comprised the Kings’ season leading into this weekend.
Although the series against Petersburg didn’t count toward Kayhi’s record this year. ASAA moved the baseball classification into “big” and “small” school divisions. Kayhi stayed in the “big” school classification with Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain and Sitka.
Petersburg moved to the “small” school division.
So the Kings’ two wins against Petersburg don’t count, and Kayhi technically enters the Region V tournament 0-0. The Kings are the No. 4 seed in the tournament. Juneau-Douglas is the top-seeded team in the region.
“We’re technically 0-0,” Berntson said. “So I kind of argued (with the region) that we’re undefeated, but apparently they didn’t like that argument, and they went with the zero wins. So we go in as the No. 4 seed.”
Kayhi never did play a home game at Walker Field this season — and hasn’t since 2019.
This year’s Region V tournament was supposed to be in Ketchikan, but because of the community’s risk level for COVID-19, the tournament was moved to Sitka.
“It’s unfortunate for the boys,” Berntson said. “These seniors never played a home game their upper-class varsity career. So that’s a pretty big loss of experience for those kids. A bummer for the community because it’s a real good group of kids, as far as quality of kid and talent of baseball player. So that’s a disappointment; it’s a loss.
“But you know, at this point, we’re happy for the opportunity to just do anything, so we’re pushing forward,” he continued. “We’ve had some interesting experiences along the way — both positive and negative — and we’re just going to move forward from here.”
Thursday’s outcome will decide the Kings’ game time on Friday. The Region V tournament is a double-elimination tournament.
Lady Kings open tourney vs. Thunder Mountain
The Lady Kings open the Region V tournament against the last team they played — nearly a month ago.
Kayhi will square off against Thunder Mountain at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the first round of the Region V tournament in Juneau.
The game will be livestreamed on Thunder Mountain’s Facebook page — Facebook.com/TMHSFalcons.
The Lady Kings swept the Lady Falcons during Kayhi’s homestand on April 23-24 at Dudley Field. Kayhi took both games of a doubleheader on April, 23, winning 12-4 and 12-10. The Lady Kings then shut out the Lady Falcons 7-0 on April 24.
Thursday’s outcome will dictate when the Lady Kings play next in the double-elimination tournament.
A win would bump them into the Region V semifinal at 2 p.m. on Friday. A loss would drop Kayhi to an 11 a.m. matchup on Friday, and Kayhi would have to win outright to stay alive in the tournament.
Juneau-Douglas and Sitka square off at 4 p.m. on Thursday, in their first-round game. That matchup also will be livestreamed on Thunder Mountain’s Facebook page.