Around The Bases, Juneau Majors looking for state softball title

Gastineau Channel Little League hosting best from Anchorage

There is a lot of history coming to the Melvin Park fields starting today as two of Alaska’s most dominant softball organizations clash in a best-of-five series for the title of Little League Majors Division State Champs; plus a trip to the regional tournament in San Bernadino, CA July 21-27 and a possible chance to travel to the World Series in Portland, OR August 9-15.


Last year the GCLL became just the second team in nine years to defeat Nunaka Valley, winning in three straight games. That Majors team went on to win four games at the Western Regional in San Bernadino, CA before falling out of World Series contention in the third/fourth place game.

“It was a pretty cool experience,” Alondra Echiverri said of last year’s western regionals. “The Girls down there were pretty good. It was kind of intimidating at first but once we started playing and stuff we got warmed up.”

This year’s all-star team from Anchorage is a mixture of City View, Polar and Nunaka Little Leagues. City View dominated the Anchorage league with a nucleus that had been undefeated and won the Minors Division District 1 title last year. They were undefeated in the district tournament this season before dropping their first championship game against Abbott-O-Rabbit, but then beat the long ears in the next two games, the final being by the score of 9-7, after trailing 5-1. District 1’s Polar LL and Nunaka LL did not have enough kids to field a team so there are a couple on City View.

The best of five series game one begins at 5 p.m. today. Game two is Saturday at 3 p.m. and game three Sunday at 3 p.m. If needed games will be Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Gastineau Channel LL roster includes players Morgan Balovich (number 26), Abby Meiners (10), Peyton Harp (16), Alondra Echiverri (37), Megan Dallas (17), Maranda Markovich (8), Leah Spargo (14), Rachel Macaulay (13), Maxie Saceda-Hurt (5), Allison Ireland-Haight (33), Sami Good (3) and Haleigh DiCarlo (2), and manager Scott Balovich, coaches Brian Dallas and Dave Spargo.

“They were intimidating at regionals,” Sami Good said of last season. “But then it was a really good experience. I hope we go down there again because it was really fun.”

The City View LL roster includes players Eva Damrill (33), Kellie Stewart (3), Jaya Samuel (11), Daisy Page (17), Mackenzie Barnhart (99), Olivia Webster (10), Julia Tosi (16), Alyssa Sands (21), Christa Rapoza (52), Tala Lauvele (20), Amanda Boeckman (7), Rebecca Syrup (12) and Cynthia Wright (18), and manager Jeff Boeckman, coaches Jeff Barnhart and Larry page.

To get to Melvin Park fields (4150N. Riverside Drive) from downtown Juneau drive outbound on Egan past Fred Meyers, airport, McDonalds and Mendenhall Loop Road; turn right on Riverside Drive and go straight past Riverbend Elementary, Thunder Mountain High School, Rotary Park and a four-way stop. Fields will be on the right.

If They Would Just Catch The Ball!!!

One of the more peculiar rules in baseball is the “uncaught third strike”, often referred to by the misnomer “dropped third strike”. The catcher must cleanly field a third strike in the air. If he doesn’t, the batter immediately becomes a runner (IF first base is unoccupied with less than two outs, or with two outs with any configuration of base runners. If first base is occupied with less than two outs the batter is simply out, to avoid the fielding team’s catcher intentionally dropping a third strike to get a double play or triple play.) As with most baseball rules, this rule was fine-tuned to create equity between the batting team and the fielding team: although the batter failed at the plate, the batting team shouldn’t suffer an out unless the fielding team also is successful at something.

The third strike can be uncaught because the pitcher threw the pitch in the dirt (with the batter unsuccessfully swinging at it), or because the catcher simply failed to catch the ball. In either event, the batter, now a base runner, may attempt to reach first base. He does so successfully if he is not tagged out before reaching first, or forced out by the ball being thrown to a fielder covering first.

If the batter reaches first, if the pitch was difficult for the catcher to field, he is on first due to a wild pitch charged to the pitcher. If the catcher simply failed to catch or hold on to a good pitch, then the batter is on first by a passed ball (and fielding error) charged against the catcher.

Even if the batter/base runner reaches first, the pitcher is still credited (and the batter is still charged) with a strike out, but no out is recorded. This makes an unusual statistic possible: the pitcher recording four strike outs in an inning. It has happened 61 times in official MLB games, most recently on June 5th this season by Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins against the Kansas City Royals. Only two pitchers have ever accomplished the feat more than once: A. J. Burnett, who did it twice, and Chuck Finley, who did it three times.

No MLB pitcher has ever struck out five batters in an inning, although it has been done at least three times in minor league games. Houston Astros’ pitcher Phil Niekro struck out five Minnesota Twins in a spring training game in 1976 (and his catcher, Cliff Johnson, was charged with five passed balls in the inning!).

The uncaught third strike’s most noteworthy occurrence was in the fourth game of the 1941 World Series. The Yankees led the Dodgers 2 games to 1. In the game at Ebbets Field the Dodgers lead 4 to 3 with two out in the top of the 9th. Hugh Casey struck out Tommy Henrich for what would have been the last out of the game, but catcher Mickey Owen didn’t field the ball, and was charged with a passed ball. Herrich made it to first. Rather than the game being over, and the Series even at 2 games apiece, the Yankees went on to score four runs, and won the game 7 to 4 to take a 3 games to 1 advantage. They finished off the Dodgers the next day in a 3 to 1 win.

On This Date In Baseball History, July 13:

1986 - Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty hit four home runs in a losing effort, a 9-8 loss to Chicago.

1922 - Cardinal right-hander Bill Doak loses his no-hitter when he forgets to cover first base turning Curt Walker’s seventh-inning grounder to first baseman Jack Fournier into an infield hit. The Redbird’s star spitballer settles for a one-hitter, his second of the season, and 1-0 victory over the Phillies at Sportsman’s Park.

1934 - Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run in a 4-2 victory over Tommy Bridges and the Detroit Tigers. Lou Gehrig left in the first with a severe case of lumbago, the most serious threat to his streak. He returned for one at bat the next day.

1940 - In a twin bill against St. Louis, Joe DiMaggio hits three homers and drives in nine runs. The Yankee outfielder’s offensive outburst contributes to the Bronx Bombers’ sweep of the Browns in New York, 10-4 and 12-6.

1943 - The first night game in All-Star history, at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park, went to the AL, 5-3, despite a single, triple and home run by NL center fielder Vince DiMaggio of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The big blow was a three-run homer by Bobby Doerr of the Boston Red Sox that gave the AL the lead for good.

1945 - Chicago’s Pat Seerey hit three home runs, a triple and drove in eight runs to lead the White Sox in a 16-4 win over New York at Yankee Stadium.

1948 - At Sportsman’s Park, the American League defeats the National League for the 11th time in 15 All Star contests, 5-2. Vic Raschi pitches three scoreless innings to pick up the win and hits a two-run single as well.

1954 - Pitcher Dean Stone did not retire a batter but received credit for the AL’s 11-9 All-Star victory at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. Red Schoendienst tried to steal a run for the NL after Stone was summoned in the eighth inning, but the pitcher’s throw to the plate nailed the runner for the third out.

1956 - At Wrigley Field‚ Ernie Banks plays in his 394th consecutive contest to tie Al Simmons’ mark for straight games played after breaking in as a rookie. Mr. Cub’s single drives in the decisive run in the Cubs’ 7-6 victory over Pittsburgh.

1960 - The Yankees host the second of two All Star games played in three days. The contest marks the return of Willie Mays to the New York as the San Francisco Giants superstar goes 3-for-4, including a homer and a single off American League starter Whitey Ford, pacing the National League to a 6-0 victory.

1962 - Tying an major league mark, Orioles catcher Charlie Lau hits four doubles in Baltimore’s 10-3 victory over the Indians at Memorial Stadium. The future hitting guru’s quartet of two-baggers also establishes a new team record.

1963 - Early Wynn, at 43, registered his 300th and last victory, pitching the first five innings of Cleveland’s 7-4 triumph over the Kansas City A’s.

1965 - The NL took the lead over the AL for the first time since the All-Star series began, winning 6-5 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.

1966 - After being released by Houston earlier in the month, 39-year old Robin Roberts signs as a free agent with the Cubs. The right-hander will finish the season 2-3 for his new team ending his 19-year Hall of Fame career with 286 victories.

1971 - Frank Robinson, who hit a two-run home run in Mid-Summer Classic, is named the MVP of the contest won by the American League at Tiger Stadium, 6-4. The Orioles right fielder joins teammate Brooks Robinson as the second player to be named the Most Valuable Player of a league (1961-NL, 1966-AL), a World Series (1966) and an All-Star Game.

1971 - Reggie Jackson’s mammoth home run off the power generator on the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium highlighted a barrage of six homers - three by each team - as the AL beat the NL 6-4 in the All-Star game.

1972 - The Cardinals waste no time in blanking the Braves, 2-0, behind the two-hit pitching performance of Reggie Cleveland at Busch Stadium. The contest, which lasts only 93 minutes, is the quickest nine-inning game in Redbird history.

1973 - At Atlanta Stadium, Hal Breeden of the Expos becomes only the second major leaguer to pinch-hit home runs in both ends of a doubleheader. In 1943, Red Sox player-manger Joe Cronin accomplished the feat in a twin bill against the Philadelphia A’s.

1973 - Bobby Murcer hits three homers off Gene Garber that accounts for all RBIs in the Yankees’ 5-0 victory over the Royals. The Friday the Thirteenth contest at Yankee Stadium takes only one hour and 51 minutes to play.

1976 - The National League collects its 13th win over the Junior Circuit in the last 14 All-Star games with a 7-1 victory at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. George Foster, one of seven Reds position players on the team, is named the MVP of the Midsummer Classic.

1977 - With New York third baseman Lenny Randle at the plate in the sixth inning, Shea Stadium goes dark when the Big Apple suddenly experiences a blackout. Before the game against the Cubs is suspended due to the power shortage, the Mets’ players drive their cars onto the field and amuse the crowd by performing a variety of antics in front of the headlights. (My thanks to Anthony Ventarola for submitting this event).

1982 - The NL registered its 11th consecutive All-Star victory over the AL with a 4-1 victory at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, the first All-Star game played outside the United States. Dave Concepcion’s two-run homer off Dennis Eckersley in the second inning was the deciding hit.

1984 - The Yankees retire Roger Maris’s (#9) and Elston Howard’s (#32) uniform numbers. The team also erects plaques in their honor to pay tribute to their achievements as Bronx Bombers.

1988 - After replacing John McNamara as the Red Sox manager, Joe Morgan makes a good first impression as the team wins the first nineteen out of twenty with him at the helm.

1990 - Dave Johnson retires 27 of the last 29 batters he faces, but loses his complete game effort to Minnestota, 3-1. The Orioles’ starter undoing is a two-run home run hit by John Moses in the first, an inning that takes the right-hander 33 pitches to complete compared to the 83 tosses he will make during the rest of the Memorial Stadium contest.

1991 - At Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, four Oriole hurlers combined to throw a no-hitter blanking the A’s, 2-0. Starting pitcher Bob Milacki holds the home team hitless for the first six innings, follow by Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, and Gregg Olson, who all throw one inning of no-hit ball.

1993 - Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett homered and doubled to win the MVP award in the AL’s 9-3 victory in the All-Star game at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

1997 - Casey Candaele flies out to left field in his last major league at-bat ending his nine-year career with the Expos, Astros, Indians with a .250 batting average. The utility man is outhit by his mom, Helen Callaghan, a former star in the All-American Girls Baseball League, who finished her big league with a .257 lifetime average playing for in Minneapolis and Fort Wayne.

1999 - Boston’s Pedro Martinez pitched himself into the All-Star game record book, becoming the first to strike out the first four hitters in an All-Star game, fanning Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa in the first inning, and Mark McGwire to start the second. Martinez struck out five in the first two innings - tying an American League record - to lead the AL to a 4-1 victory over the National League.

2004 - Having earned the All-Star MVP award as a 23-year old for pitching three perfect innings at the Astrodome in 1986, the 41-year old Roger Clemens gives up six runs in the first inning in the 75th Midsummer Classic played at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The eventual 9-4 American League victory is halted in the top of the fifth inning as the much-chagrined ‘Rocket’ receives the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award from Bud Selig in recognition of his outstanding 21-year career.

2006 - Mark Teixeira hit three homers and drove in seven runs to lead Texas over Baltimore 15-1.

2006 - In an eight-player deal, the Nationals trade pitchers Gary Majewski, Bill Bray and Daryl Thompson, infielders Brendan Harris and Royce Clayton to the Reds in exchange for outfielder Austin Kearns, shortstop Felipe Lopez and right-hander Ryan Wagner. Washington’s GM Jim Bowden, formerly with Cincinnati, is familiar with all his new acquisitions having been responsible for their presence with the Reds.

2009 - On the day before the All-Star game, acting GM Mike Rizzo, citing the team has underachieved, announces the Nationals have fired Manny Acta. Bench coach and former major league manager Jim Riggleman is named as the interim skipper of the 26-61 club.

2009 - At Busch Stadium, Prince Fielder outslugs Rangers’ outfielder Nelson Cruz in the final round, 6-5, to win the All-Star Home Run Derby. The Brewer first baseman’s power surge included a stunning shot estimated to have traveled over 500 feet.

2010 - Brian McCann’s three-run double in the seventh inning provided the NL all the offense it needed to capture its first Midsummer Classic since 1996 with a 3-1 victory.

Today’s birthdays: Yadier Molina 30; Shin-Soo Choo 30; Ryan Ludwick 34.

On This Date In Baseball History, July 14:

1916 - St. Louis Browns pitcher Ernie Koob went the distance in a 17-inning 0-0 tie with the Boston Red Sox. Carl Mays went the first 15 innings for the Red Sox and Dutch Leonard finished.

1934 - At Navin Field in Detroit, in an effort to keep the consecutive game streak intact, the Yankees have lumbago-stricken Lou Gehrig’s bat lead off and list him as the shortstop in the line up. After singling in the first inning, the ‘Iron Horse’ leaves the game without fielding as the Tigers pound out 11 doubles to edge the Yankees, 12-11.

1934 - In the opener of a twin bill at the Baker Bowl, the Phillies score 11 runs in the second inning to coast to an 18-0 rout of the Reds. Philadelphia will sweep the doubleheader with a 5-4 victory in the nightcap.

1938 - In Toledo, the American Association All-Star squad become the first team to experiment with uniforms designed to be worn during night games. The red, white and blue shiny satin uniforms are believed to reflect the light during the evening contests.

1946 - Cleveland player-manager Lou Boudreau hit four doubles and a home run in the first game of a doubleheader against Boston, but Ted Williams connected for three home runs and drove in eight runs for an 11-10 Red Sox victory.

1956 - Mel Parnell of the Boston Red Sox pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox for a 4-0 victory at Fenway Park.

1964 - The Cubs overcome making five errors in the top of third inning and beat the Mets, 4-2. The Chicago miscues, that include shortstop Andre Rodgers and catcher Dick Bertell each committing two and first baseman Ernie Banks contributing to the total by dropping a pop fly, account for all of New York’s scoring in the Wrigley Field contest.

1967 - Eddie Mathews of the Astros hit his 500th home run off San Francisco’s Juan Marichal at Candlestick Park. Houston beat the Giants 8-6.

1968 - Hank Aaron got his 500th home run off Mike McCormick as the Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2.

1968 - Don Wilson of the Houston Astros struck out 18 Reds in a 6-1 victory over Cincinnati in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

1968 - In a 6-1 Astros victory over the Reds at Crosley Field, backstop John Bateman ties the major league record with nine consecutive putouts from the start of a game. The Houston catcher equals the mark established by Art Wilson playing for Giants in 1911.

1969 - At Wrigley Field, Bill Hands and the Cubs edge Tom Seaver and the Mets, 1–0. After the last out is made, Ron Santo jumps up and clicks his heels for the first time, a move the third baseman will repeat each time Chicago wins for the rest of his career.

1970 - Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds scored on Jim Hickman’s 12th-inning single after bowling over Cleveland’s Ray Fosse at home plate to give the NL a 5-4 victory over the AL at Riverfront Stadium.

1972 - In a major league first, Bill Haller was the umpire behind the plate while his brother Tom was the catcher for the Detroit Tigers.

1984 - The Tigers’ 8-4 clinching victory over the Padres marks the last time the World Series is played outdoors in sunlight. A single day Fall Classic game is scheduled in 1987, but the contest is played indoors at Metrodome in Minnesota

1995 - Ramon Martinez threw the first no-hitter of the season as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Florida Marlins 7-0. Martinez was perfect for 7 1-3 innings before walking Tommy Gregg.

2000 - John Olerud has a game-tying double disallowed because first base umpire Jim Wolf calls time, but then the Mariners’ first baseman hits a three-run homer helping Seattle to beat the Padres, 7-5.

2000 - Major League owners decide to return to playing an unbalanced schedule (teams play more games against teams in their own division) rather than the presently used balanced schedule (play approximately the same number of games against all teams within the league). The American League has used to a balanced schedule since 1977 and the National League started in 1993.

2000 - A report presented to owners, The Commissioner’s Initiative: Women and Baseball, finds women make up 46 percent of the average crowd at a big league game and urges major league franchises to make more of an effort to market to women patrons. According to the same report forty-three percent of women could not name a player on their home team’s roster

2001 - Bobby Valentine wins his 1‚000th career game as a manager when Glendon Rusch and closer Armando Benitez combine to throw a one-hitter in the Mets’ 2-0 victory over the Red Sox. Trot Nixon’s first inning bunt single, a result of the New York starter’s inability to cover first base, is Boston’s only hit in the Fenway Park contest.

2002 - Nelson Barrera, Mexico’s career home run and RBI leader, is electrocuted trying to free metal roofing from high-tension wires. The 44-year old ‘Admiral’, who hit 455 home runs during his 26-year Mexican Baseball League tenure, had hoped to continue playing so that he could hold the career Triple Crown by also reaching the career hit record.

2004 - Houston fires Jimy Williams and names Phil Garner, a former Astro, as the interim manager through the rest of the season. The 60-year old former skipper, who had a .515 (215-197) winning percentage in his two years at the helm, including this season’s 44-44 record, was roundly booed by hometown Minute Maid Park fans at yesterday’s All-star game.

2005 - Defeating their historical arch rivals, the Giants become the first team to win 10,000 games as a franchise by edging the Dodgers in LA, 4-3. The Giants, who started as the New York Gothams in 1899, have posted a 10,000-8,511 record during the club’s 123 seasons in the National League.

2005 - The first-known baseball card, which is part of a children’s educational game, illustrates several boys playing together in a field as one pitches a ball to another holding a bat, makes its public debut at the Smithsonian Institution. The discovery of the historic card, discovered in an Maine attic, dates back to the early 19th century, predating other known cards by several decades.

2006 - The New York Yankees snapped Jose Contreras’ winning streak at 17 decisions with a 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox. Contreras (9-1) hadn’t lost since dropping a 4-2 decision to Minnesota last Aug. 15.

2006 - Forty-one year-old Barry Bonds, the 41-year-old Steve Finley and Moises Alou, who turned 40 on July 3, became the first trio of 40-year-olds in baseball history to start in the same outfield in San Francisco’s 5-3 victory over the Phillies. They combined to go 4-for-11 with two stolen bases and two runs scored.

2008 - Josh Hamilton of Texas, with a dazzling display of power, hit a record 28 homers in the first round of the All-Star Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium before he was beaten out by Minnesota’s Justin Morneau in the finals.

2009 - The American League continued its dominance over the National League with a 4-3 win in the All-Star game. The AL is 12-0-1 since its 1996 defeat at Philadelphia - the longest unbeaten streak in All-Star history. Carl Crawford of Tampa, robbed Brad Hawpe of a go-ahead homer in the eighth and took home MVP honors.

2009 - Clad in his White Sox jacket, Barrack Obama becomes the first Commander-in-Chief to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in an All-Star game since Gerald Ford tossed the ball at the beginning of the 1976 All-Star Game. After warming up in the White House Rose Garden prior to arriving at Busch Stadium, the 44th president’s pitch barely reaches the plate, but doesn’t bounce thanks to the efforts of Cardinals’ hometown hero Albert Pujols, who moves up from home and reaches out to scoop the low throw.

2010 - The Blue Jays trade starting shortstop Alex Gonzalez along with minor leaguers Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky to the Braves in exchange for infielder Yunel Escobar and southpaw Jo-Jo Reyes. The Braves’ new infielder is probably best known for his role in Florida’s improbable World Series victory over New York, that includes a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of Game Four giving the Marlins a 4-3 victory and a 2-2 tie in the Fall Classic.

2011 - Reggie Walton, the presiding judge in the Roger Clemens’ perjury case declares a mistrial due to evidence revealed to the jury he believed would be prejudicial against the former major league right-hander. During the brief two days of the proceedings, the U.S. District Judge had scolded prosecutors twice during the trail for violating his orders not to reveal certain evidence to the jury saying their non-compliance could put the whole.

Today’s birthday: Tim Hudson 37.


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