Two teams from Juneau’s Midnight Suns Baseball Club recently played at the Memorial Day Memories Tournament in Lacey, Washington.
The Suns’ 12-and-under team posted a 2-3 record while the 10-and-under team went 0-5.
The 12U team played a friendly game before the tournament with Sports Unlimited and came away with an impressive 19-6 victory. Sammy McKnight, Zeb Storie and Kasey Watts each went 3-for-4 and scored a combined 8 runs. Michael Cesar had two base hits while Corbin Neville, Tyler Collins and Sam Hall each collected one hit.
The opening game of the tournament featured a rematch, with Sports Unlimited avenging their earlier loss with an 8-6 win over the Suns. The Suns bounced back in the second game by beating the Kitsap Renegades 8-6. McKnight and Bryce Swofford each pitched three innings, giving up a combined 8 hits while striking out 4. Cesar led the offense going 3-for-4 with three runs scored while Bobby Cox went 2-for-3 with two doubles, and McKnight went 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
Day two of the tournament began with another close game, with the Suns losing to the Kelso Cubs 8-6. The Suns jumped out to an early lead of 4-1 only to see the Cubs answer by scoring 5 runs in the 3rd inning to take a 6-4 lead. The Suns responded with 2 runs of their own in the top of the 4th to tie the game 6-6. But the Cubs were able to score 2 more runs to take a lead they never relinquished at 8-6. The 2nd game of the day ended with the Suns losing to powerhouse Jaha Baseball of Oregon 14-2.
“The coaches were happy with how our team played overall in this tournament,” said 12U Manager Andy Macaulay. “Two of our losses were very close games that we had opportunities to win and advance to the final round. The boys played against some of the best teams in the Northwest that have already played 40 games this year. This tournament provided great exposure for our kids and gave them an opportunity to compete at a very high level.”
For the 10U team, it was the first time they traveled to an out of state tournament, thanks in part to generous contributions and community support. “The response on the fundraising from the community was incredible,” said 10U Manager Jeremy Ludeman. “It’s a great feeling knowing you are part of a community that shows so much support for youth programs like ours.”
The 10U team opened play with a 14-2 loss to the Black Hills 10U American All Star team. In the second game, the Suns fell to Black Hills National All Star team 8-4. The Suns jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning thanks to a 2 run home run by Chris San Nicolas. Christian Ludeman also had a single and 1 RBI.
The Suns opened day two with another hard fought battle, losing to the Renegades 9-8. Tied 6-6 entering the final inning, the Suns scored 2 runs to take a 8-6 lead only to see the Renegades answer with 3 runs and secure the victory. Offensively, San Nicolas had 2 home runs and 2 RBIs while Ludeman hit 1 home run and had 2 RBIs. The nightcap ended in a loss to the Black Hills 9U American All Stars 16-3.
In the consolation round, the Suns ended the tournament with a loss to D4 Thunder by a score of 13-3.
“Our team definitely had the talent to compete at this tournament. They just needed to play with more confidence in their abilities. When they do that, they play very well.” said Ludeman. “Although our record may not reflect it, the coaching staff was very proud of the team and how they represented Juneau. The team learned a lot about what it takes to be competitive at a tournament like this.”