The Gastineau Channel Little League Majors softball All-Stars are 2-1 in Pool B of the Western Regional Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif., after a 5-3 win over Oregon on Tuesday.
The 11-12-year-olds rebounded after dropping their tourney opener to Hawaii, 4-3 on Saturday, with an 8-2 win over Arizona on Monday and Tuesday’s win over Oregon.
“We’re playing as well as we’ve ever played,” manager Randy Bates said. “We have an outstanding defense, great pitching and our bats are starting to come alive.”
There are two pools with five teams in each. After round-robin play, the top two teams, seeded Nos. 1 and 2, face the top two seeds from the other pool, No. 1 versus No. 2, in the semifinals on Thursday.
The winner of the semifinal games play in Friday’s championship with a spot in the Little League World Series in Portland, Ore., Aug. 9-16 at stake.
A win in today’s game would guarantee Juneau a spot in the semifinals. Alaska, Southern California and Arizona are the top three teams in Pool B, each with 2-1 records, but Juneau holds the tiebreaker with a win over Arizona.
“We’re the feature game under the lights against Southern California, and that’s a meaningful game for both of us because the winner moves on and plays in the semifinals for the West Region,” Bates said. “If we lose, it will come down to what happens in other games. But our destiny is in our hands tonight.
“If we win, we’re in.”
Juneau’s Erica Maiquis picked up the win Tuesday after giving up two first-inning runs. Maiquis gave up three runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Alaska rallied with a five-run fourth inning in Monday’s win over Arizona, following with three more in the sixth for an 8-2 win. Quincy Bates picked up the win for Juneau, allowing 10 hits and three walks but giving up just two runs with six strikeouts.
Hawaii took an early 3-0 lead in Saturday’s game, with Juneau rallying to tie things up with two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth, only to see Hawaii score a walk-off run in the bottom of the sixth.
Makayla Harp is batting .500 through three games, going 4-for-8 with a home run, three RBIs, a walk and three runs scored. Bates has four hits in nine at-bats with two RBIs and two runs scored, Maiquis has three hits, an RBI and three runs scored, Alonda Echiverri has three hits, including a triple, two RBIs and three runs scored, Ava Thompkins has two hits, including one home run, in five at-bats with three runs scored, Sydney Miller also is 2-for-3, and Maddie Johnson has a hit and an RBI in two at-bats as well as one run scored, and Sophia Hultberg has scored a run.
The team is batting .282 overall.
Today’s game against Southern California is at 6 p.m. AKDT.