Arctic Heat 12U team wins state softball tournament
The Arctic Heat softball team won the five-team 12-and-under state tournament held July 12-13 in Fairbanks.
The five-team field sported teams from Anchorage, Fairbanks, and defending state champion, Delta Junction.
After having placed second in last year’s tournament, coach Bill Kaltschnee hinted that the team needed to make amends for the previous year, when they placed second.
The team started strong, upending the host Jolly Rogers, 16-0, behind a no-hitter thrown by Avery Brown. Brown recorded six strikeouts.
The two squads met again with Heat hurler Kylie Seagroves posting nine strikeouts en route to the victory. Seagroves also hit her first homerun on the series.
Emerging first in pool play, the Heat then faced the Fairbanks Brewsters team in the first round of bracket play, plating nine runs in the top of the first.
Kaltschnee said the team’s defensive was likewise hitting on all cylinders, as Seagroves and Brown combined efforts, recording eight strikeouts and yielding but one run.
The team ended up a perfect 3-0 on the first day.
The second day began with the long awaited rematch between Delta and the Arctic Heat, with the Heat scoring two runs in the first, on hits from Issy Kaltschnee and Avery Brown.
Delta responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Arctic Heat then exploded for 13 runs in the third, with back-to-back home runs from Savannah McHugill and Keegan Sharpe.
Brown contributed another home run as the Heat scored four more runs for a resounding 19-2 win.
As the tournament’s only unbeaten team, the Heat then waited for the other squads to work their way through the loser’s bracket, with Delta Junction stepping up to set the stage for a replay on last year’s title match.
The Arctic Heat would leave nothing to drama, scoring nine runs in the first, with Mikeala Lawrence clubbing a lead-off homer, followed by back-to-back triples from Seagroves and Kaltschnee.
Delta Junction was set down in order, with Heat third baseman Savannah McGhill making a spectacular play in the “hot corner,” snaring a sharp hit up the line then throwing a strike across the diamond for the out.
The Heat scored 11 more runs over the next two innings for the 20-0 title victory.
Kaltschnee said that after a year of practicing all winter and setting a goal of winning the state tournament, the championship was a sweet way to end the year.
The local squad placed four girls on the all-tournament team, including Mikaela Lawrence (9 for 10 Batting Average, or BA of .900), Issy Kaltschnee (12 for 14, BA .857), Kylie Seagroves (3 wins on the mound, 12 for 16, BA .750), and Avery Brown (2 victories, 8 for 13, BA .615).
State Championship Arctic Heat team members include Mikeala Lawrence, Kylie Seagroves, Abby Stewart, Issy Kaltschnee, Avery Brown, Dani Toth, Ari Lewis, Keegan Sharpe, Paige Sharpe, Brooklynn Gould and Savannah McHugill.