Jack Withington hit his second grand slam in as many games in a five-run third inning as Juneau’s Junior All-Stars cruised to an 8-2 victory over Far North in Game 1 of the best-of-5 Little League state championship series Sunday in Craig.
Juneau trailed 1-0 heading into the third after Far North plated a run in the first inning off Juneau starter Nathan Klein.
Klein quickly settled down, picking up the win after giving up four hits and a walk, striking out eight in 4 1-3 innings. RJ Markovich and Jacob Thibodeau pitched in relief, combining to give up a run in the sixth inning on two hits with three strikeouts and a no walks.
“The grand slam was huge offensively,” manager Andy McCauley said. “Down 1-0, it turned the momentum in our favor. Nathan started and pitched very well. RJ and Jacob pitched in relief and our defense turned two key double plays late in the game to help our pitchers out.”
Juneau put up five runs in the fifth, two more in the sixth and one in the seventh to take a 1-0 lead in the series that determines a Western Regional berth.
Juneau finished with eight runs on seven hits and eight free passes.
In addition to picking up the win on the hill, Klein also finished 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, two RBIs and a run scored.
Markovich also had a hit, a walk, a stolen base and scored twice, Jared Markovich had a hit, a walk and scored a run, Grant Ainsworth had a hit and a walk, Dennis Barril added a double, and Kenny Fox and Collin Ludeman each scored a run for Juneau.
Withington followed up a grand slam, five-RBI performance Friday against Prince of Wales with his second slam in as many games, leading Juneau’s offense with four RBIs and two runs scored.
Juneau and Far North face off again today at 5 p.m. in Craig, and Tuesday.
If necessary, the teams play at 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday.