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Around The Bases, Juneau America tops Juneau National

America wins Alaska District 2 minor division all-star title

Posted: July 10, 2012 - 12:03am
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The Juneau Nationals and Juneau Americans line up for the Pledge Of Allegiance prior to the start of their Alaska District 2 minors division championship game Monday at Miller Field. The day was also officially proclaimed Alaska Flag Day by Governor Sean Parnell. Shafer Suzuki carried the Alaska Flag and Sam Hall the United States Flag.
The Juneau Nationals and Juneau Americans line up for the Pledge Of Allegiance prior to the start of their Alaska District 2 minors division championship game Monday at Miller Field. The day was also officially proclaimed Alaska Flag Day by Governor Sean Parnell. Shafer Suzuki carried the Alaska Flag and Sam Hall the United States Flag.

Bryson Echiverri pitched a no-hitter with eight strikeouts through five innings in Monday’s Alaska District 2 minor’s division all-star championship game, helping Juneau American to a 7-1 win over Juneau National for the title. Chris San Nicolas came on in relief to close out the sixth inning. San Nicolas also had 3 RBI on 2 hits, Echiverri had 1 RBI and 1 hit, and Luis Mojica had an RBI and a hit for American. The National’s lone score came on a fielder’s choice. National batter Cameron Eppers walked and stole two bases and then scored on Brandt Hultberg’s sacrifice. National pitcher Gabe Storie registered six strikeouts in three-and-one-third innings of work. Hultberg came on in relief and notched three strikeouts.

The American against National final was played in a flood of southeast liquid sunshine. Prior to that game Haines topped Prince of Wales 15-0 in a rain-saturated affair for fifth place and Ketchikan beat Sitka 14-9 for third place in even more rain. Typical southeast weather... or as POW players stated, “It is only mud, we are used to it.”

Sitka led Ketchikan 8-7 going into the final inning when the first city bats came alive. With the bases loaded Tyler Slick tripled to make it 13-7 and then Kyle Carver singled in another run. Sitka’s Dominic Baciocco singled and scored on a Reese Greenough single for the final point.

Monday’s final games were determined by the round robin portion of the tournament (Seed, Team, Number of Runs Given Up, Half-Innings Played, Runs Allowed Ratio):

1- Juneau National - 8 - 12 - 0.6667

2 - Juneau American - 14 - 15 - 0.9333

3 - Sitka - 21 - 13 - 1.6154

4 - Ketchikan - 40 - 15 - 2.6667

5 - Haines 48 - 11 - 4.3636

6 - Prince of Wales - 62 - 9 - 6.8889

Gooooo “Pockets”!!!

A Haines player at the Alaska District 2 Minors baseball tournament is making his parents happy. It seems Mark Davis has found a way to save on the laundry loads... he turns his baseball pants inside out. His nickname during the tournament has not been hard to figure out. Mark “Pockets” Davis says he does it because, “It is fun.”

It Is Rocket Science!!!

Minor league teams have been privy to a NASA engineer’s technical savvy during the AK D2 Minors little league tournament. Rob Kelso, a retired NASA engineer, is an instructor for the America Baseball Clinics nationwide and has been sharing some great tips for the youngsters. Such as: One of the coaches had a problem with a player who throws side arm and they couldn’t fix it. Kelso instructed that the youth should be tossing a hockey puck and that would correct his throwing motion.

Kelso also taught that catchers should only discard their helmet and masks on a pop foul. They should hold the helmet/mask in their hand until the foul is spotted and then discard the helmet/mask away from where they are heading. Other plays should involve keeping the helmet/mask on for protection.

Kelso also related a story from when he was with the U.S. National team in Puerto Rico. He watched the Puerto Ricans use milk cartons to teach youth about playing catch.... milk carton require that you move your feet to position your body where the carton (mitt) is in front of the throw.

There were way too many more lessons and techniques taught for this reporter to follow, let alone comprehend. Attending coaches, players and teams received a wealth of information in a relatively short few days here.

Famous Sports Quote:

“Most games are lost, not won!” Casey Stengel, American baseball player and manager.

Merkle’s Boner (Reader Submitted):

September 1908 saw a classic pennant race in the National League involving three teams: the Chicago Cubs, the New York Giants, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. On September 23 the Giants and Cubs were tied for first with the Pirates a game and a half behind. That day the Giants were hosting the Cubs at the Polo Grounds. The game went into the bottom of the 9th tied at 1 to 1. The Giants had Harry “Moose” McCormick on third and Fred Merkle on first with two out. Merkle was 19-years-old and the youngest player in the National League. He mostly played as a back up to the Giants’ regular first baseman Fred Tenney, and had only 47 plate appearances all season. Giants’ shortstop Al Bridwell came to the plate and lined Cubs pitcher Jack Pfiester’s first offering into center field for a clean single. McCormack easily scored from third. Game over. Or not. Rule 4.09 states in part: “A run is not scored if the runner advances to home plate during a play in which the third out is made by any runner being forced out.” Merkle, seeing McCormack cross the plate and fans streaming onto the field (at that time at the Polo Grounds most fans had to cross the playing field to reach the exit), turned and left the field without touching second. Typically that rule was not well known at the time and seldom enforced on walk-off hits, but Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers (who considered himself an aficionado of the official rules) saw an opportunity to invoke the rule. What happened next has many different variations. Evers claimed he shouted to Cubs center fielder Solly Hofman and, amid the chaos of a field swarming with fans, he retrieved and threw the ball to Evers who stepped on second to force Merkle and end the inning, negating McCormack’s score. Some accounts say the ball was intercepted on its flight to Evers by Giants’ first base coach Joe McGinnity who threw the ball into the crowd. Some versions say Evers and his shortstop teammate, Joe Tinker, chased down the fan with the ball, took the ball from him and ran back to second base to complete the play. Still other versions say the ball was indeed thrown by McGinnity, could not be located and Evers found another ball to take to second base. In the end the two umpires on the field, Bob Emslie and Hank O’Day, ruled Merkle out, and the game ended in a tie. National League President Harry Pulliam affirmed their action and ruled that, if the Giants and Cubs were tied at the end of the season, they would decide the league title with a playoff game in New York. The two teams were indeed tied at the end of the regular season with 98 and 55 records. The Cubs, needing a police escort into and out of town, won the playoff game 4 to 2. They went on to beat the Detroit Tigers 4 games to 1 in the 1908 World Series, the last time they won a championship. Merkle played professional ball until retiring at the end of the 1926 season (and even played from 1917 to 1920 with the Cubs). The play quickly took the title ‘Merkle’s Boner.’ Unfortunately, the nickname ‘Bonehead’ accompanied him through the rest of his career. After retiring Merkle was known to avoid baseball until he was finally convinced to participate in a Giants Old-Timers’ Game in 1950, six years before his death. He received a standing ovation.

Famous Sports Quote:

“The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey. The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front. The new ballplayer cares about the name on the back.” Steve Garvey, America baseball player.

On This Date In Baseball History, July 10:

1911 - With just one punch, Sherry Magee KOs home plate umpire Bill Finneran after he is ejected for disputing a called third strike. The star Phillies fly chaser is suspended for the rest of the season, will be reinstated after 36 games due to an appeal.

1911 - When umpire Bill Klem stops the Phillies-Cardinal game to have an unruly fan removed from the Baker Bowl, it is believed to be the first time a patron has been escorted from a ballpark. The common practice at the time was to use bodyguards after the contest to protect the arbitrators rather than risk the crowd’s ire by ousting of one of their own.

1917 — Ray Caldwell of New York pitched 9 2-3 innings of no-hit relief as the Yankees beat the Browns 7-5 in 17 innings in St. Louis.

1920 - Tris Speaker, who has collected 11 consecutive hits, is finally thwarted by Washington hurler Tom Zachary. The “Grey Eagle’s” effort establishes a record, which will not be broken until 1938 when Red Sox third baseman Pinky Higgins hits 12 knocks in a row.

1928 - Although the Indians bang out 14 hits, the Tribe fails to score a run in a 9-0 night cap loss to the Senators in a Griffith Stadium twin bill. It is only the second time a team has been shut out after collecting that many hits.

1929 - The Pirates rout the Phillies 15-9 at the Baker Bowl in game which features one homer hit in each inning. Pittsburgh goes deep five time with Philadelphia adding four more.

1932 — The Philadelphia A’s defeated Cleveland 18-17 in an 18-inning game in which John Burnett of the Indians had a record nine hits. Jimmie Foxx collected 16 total bases, and Eddie Rommell of the A’s pitched 17 innings in relief for the win, despite giving up 29 hits and 14 runs.

1934 — Carl Hubbell struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession, but the AL came back to win the All-Star game 9-7 at the Polo Grounds as Mel Harder gave up one hit in the last five innings.

1935 - Beating the Tulsa Oilers, 1-0, Galveston Buccaneers hurler Ed Cole throws the first perfect game in Texas League history. The decisive hit is an inside-the-park home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

1936 — Philadelphia’s Chuck Klein hit four home runs in a 9-6 10-inning victory over the Pirates, and it wasn’t in the cozy Baker Bowl. He hit them in Pittsburgh’s spacious Forbes Field, including the game-winning three-run shot in the 10th off Bill Swift. Klein almost homered in the second inning when he sent Pirates outfielder Paul Waner to the wall in right to haul in a long fly ball.

1947 — Don Black of the Cleveland Indians pitched a 3-0 no-hitter over the Philadelphia A’s in the first game of a twin bill.

1951 — The NL hit four homers en route to an 8-3 triumph at Detroit, giving the league consecutive All-Star victories for the first time.

1953 - With Roy Campanella’s home run off Giants hurler Sal Maglie, the Dodgers establish an National League record homering in their 24th consecutive game. Campy’s homer is the only run Brooklyn scores as the Giants extend their winning streak to seven with the 6-1 victory.

1962 - John F. Kennedy returns to D.C. Stadium and becomes the first president to throw the ceremonial first pitch at an All-Star Game. Earlier in the season, JFK had also thrown the ceremonial first pitch at the Senators’ home opener in the first game played in Washington’s new $23-million ballpark.

1968 - The American League and National League agree on next year’s expansion and play-off format. Each league will divide their twelve teams into two six-team divisions playing a best-of-five game league championship series to determine the pennant winner.

1979 - Trailing the Padres 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs at Veterans Stadium, pinch hitter Del Unser hits a three-run walk off home run giving the Phillies a 6-5 comeback victory. The dramatic dinger makes Del Unser only the second player in major league history to hit a homer in three consecutive at bats as a pinch hitter, a feat also accomplished by Lee Lacy of the Dodgers last season.

1982 — Larry Parrish of the Texas Rangers hit his third grand slam in seven days, off Milt Wilcox in the first game of a doubleheader against Detroit. The Rangers beat the Tigers 6-5. Parrish had hit his first on July 4 and his second on July 7.

1984 - At San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, Dodger southpaw Fernando Valenzuela and Mets rookie Dwight Gooden combine to strike out six consecutive American League all-stars on the 50th anniversary of Carl Hubbell’s memorable 1934 Midsummer Classic performance of setting down five future Hall of Famers on strikes. Dwight Gooden, at the age of 19, becomes the youngest player ever to participate in an All-star game.

1984 - The National League beats the Junior Circuit at Candlestick Park, 3-1. Home runs hit by Expos’ catcher Gary Carter, the game’s MVP, and Braves’ outfielder Dale Murphy prove to be the difference in the 55th Midsummer Classic.

1999 - At Leland’s ‘Hero’s Auction’ of sports memorabilia held in New York, the ball batted by Carlton Fisk in the 12th inning, which hit the Fenway foul pole ending one of the most dramatic games in World Series history, is sold for $113,273. George Foster, the Reds’ left fielder who retrieved and kept the 1975 historic home run ball, decided to sell the souvenir after realizing its potential value after Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball sold for almost $3 million.

2001 — Cal Ripken upstaged every big name in the ballpark, hitting a home run and winning the MVP award in his final All-Star appearance to lead the American League over the Nationals 4-1. Derek Jeter and Magglio Ordonez connected for consecutive home runs as the AL won its fifth in a row. Jeter becomes the first Yankee to homer in an All-Star game in 41 years when he goes deep leading off the sixth inning off Jon Lieberman at Safeco Field. Yogi Berra was the last Bronx Bomber to accomplish the feat, homering off Don Drysdale in 1959.

2007 — Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-3 with an inside-the-park home run to lead the American League to a 5-4 victory over the National League in the All-Star game.

2009 — Jonathan Sanchez pitched the majors’ first no-hitter of the season, recording a career-high 11 strikeouts in San Francisco’s 8-0 win over the San Diego Padres. The only runner the Padres managed came on an error by third baseman Juan Uribe in the eighth.

Famous Sports Quote:

“Sometimes you’re the pigeon, and sometimes you’re the statue.” Bernie Bickerstaff, American NBA basketball coach.

Buckner’s Boot (Reader Submitted):

Many baseball fans today recall (and, if old enough, maybe watched) the sixth game of the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox went into the game at Shea Stadium in New York ahead 3 games to 2. After nine innings the game was tied at 3 to 3. In the top of the 10th a Dave Henderson lead-off homer run, and a Marty Barrett single, driving home Wade Boggs who had doubled, sent the Red Sox into the bottom of the 10th ahead 5 to 3, and three outs away from their first World Series championship since 1918. Red Sox pitcher Calvin Schiraldi retired Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez on seven pitches, both on fly balls to the outfield, and the Red Sox were one out away. Mets catcher Gary Carter, determined not to be the last out of the World Series, hit a 2 ball, 1 strike pitch on a soft line drive to left for a single. Kevin Mitchell followed with a single to center, sending Carter to second. Ray Knight batted for Met’s pitcher Rick Aguilera. Schiraldi got two quick strikes on Knight, and the Red Sox were one strike away. But Knight singled the third pitch he saw to right-center, scoring Carter and sending Mitchell to third. Red Sox 5, Mets 4. Bob Stanley replaced Schiraldi on the mound and the next better, Mets left fielder Mookie Wilson, stood in for what had to be one of the most memorable at-bats in World Series history. He fouled off the first pitch and then took two pitches high for balls. Wilson fouled off three more pitches. Stanley’s next pitch was way inside and Wilson had to twist out of the way. Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman couldn’t make the play and the ball went to the backstop, allowing Mitchell to cross the plate from third with the tying run. Knight advanced from first to second. The count was now full. Wilson fouled off two more pitches, then topped a ball down the first base line toward Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner. Buckner just had to field the ball and step on first and the inning would be over. Instead the ball dribbled through his legs, and Knight scored from second, giving the Mets the win 6 to5.

Although the Red Sox led in the seventh game 3 to 0 as late as the sixth inning, the Mets won the deciding game 8 to 5 for their second championship. They’d won their first in 1969 as the ‘Miracle Mets’, a team that had never finished higher than 9th place in their seven years of existence. The Red Sox had waited 68 years for another championship, and had to wait another 18 years until 2004.

Many fans believe that, if not for Buckner’s boot, the Red Sox would have won the series then and there. But the score was already tied at 5 to 5, so had Buckner made the play the teams would just have moved on to the 11th inning, with any outcome still possible. Bill Buckner is most commonly remembered for that flub in the 6th game of the ‘86 series, and that’s a shame. Bill Buckner isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but he had a solid, respected 22-year career with the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Royals, and Angels. He was regarded as reliably able to put the bat on the ball - a guy you wanted in the batter’s box to put on a hit-and-run. He had a career batting average of .289, came up just 285 hits short of the 3,000 mark, had 1,208 RBI, and struck out only 453 times in his career.

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