Anchorage’s Abbot-O-Rabbit All-Stars completed a three-game sweep of Gastineau Channel on Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park with a five-inning, 12-2 win in the finale of the best-of-5 Alaska State Little League Tournament.
A-O-R’s more experienced team and its high-powered offense made short work of Juneau, which had nine of its 12 players taking part in their first Majors All-Star state championship series.
“They’re a good team, there’s no doubt,” A-O-R manager Tony Maldonado said of the GCLL All-Stars. “We have a very experienced team. These guys have been together quite a few years and we can hit anybody. We have very good pitching and play great defense, but that was a good team. I just think we overpowered them.”
Maldonado said most of the kids who made up A-O-R also won the 9-10-year-old championship before graduating to the Majors division.
Much like the first two games, Abbot-O-Rabbit wasted little time putting runs on the board. Johnny Homza drew a leadoff walk and Julito Fazzini reached on an error at second base. The ball rolled all the way into foul territory in right field, allowing Homza to score from first. Another error then allowed Fazzini to score and Anchorage took a quick 2-0 lead.
Tony Allred then singled and went to second on a passed ball. Sterling Smith singled to left and took second on an error as Allred scored, and Colton Frenchik drove in Smith with another single to left, giving A-O-R a 4-0 lead on three hits and three errors after a half-inning.
Homza hit a one-out single in the second and Fazzini doubled. Allred singled and both runners scored as Allred took second on an error in center. Maldonado then singled to score Allred, taking third on an error in the process, and Hunter Johnson drove him in with an RBI groundout, giving A-O-R an 8-0 lead after an inning and a half.
A-O-R added another run in the third after a two-out walk to Homza, who then scored after Fazzini reached on an error at short. Fazzini then scored nearly being tagged out in a rundown between second and third to make it 10-0 after two and a half innings of play.
GCLL got on the board in the bottom of the fourth after a leadoff single by Guy Bean. Bean took second on a wild pitch and scored after Bryce Swofford reached on an error at second.
Fazzini struck out the side to end the inning with A-O-R holding a 10-1 lead.
Homza then reached on a fielder’s choice in the fifth, and Fazzini blasted a two-strike pitch over the fence in straightaway center for a 12-1 A-O-R lead.
Juneau added a run in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back singles by Jacob Dale and Zeb Storie to start things off. Storie eventually ended up at third on an error and scored after the umpires ruled interference on A-O-R for having a fielder in the base patch, blocking Storie from running home.
But that was it for Juneau as Michael Cesar was gunned down at third for the final out.
“They played good ball,” GCLL manager Spencer Storie said of A-O-R. “I don’t think our guys played as well as they could have, but we have a young team. Hopefully next year, they’ll bring it.
“Also, I just want to thank Johnathon Mollick and his crew for all of the work they’ve done on this field the last two weeks. We all really appreciate their hard work.”
Homza and Fazzini reached base and scored four times for A-O-R, and Fazzini got the win after striking out eight and giving up two runs on five hits.
Storie went 2-for-3 with a run scored to lead GCLL. Bean also had two hits and scored a run for Juneau.
Abbot-O-Rabbit is now off to San Bernardino, Calif., for the Western Regional Tournament.