Starting today, fans from around the world of Little League baseball will know the name:
Or will they?
Once our beloved boys of summer won their respective division State Championships, they became team ALASKA.
After sweeping Anchorage’s Dimond West Little League three-games-to none, the Gastineau Channel Little League Major (11-12 year olds) All Stars became Alaska’s best hope to represent the state at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, August 16-26.
After sweeping Anchorage’s Abbott-O-Rabbit three-games-to-none, the Gastineau Channel Little League Junior (13-14 year olds) All Stars became Alaska’s best hope to represent the state at the Little League World Series in Taylor, Michigan, August 12-18.
Of course there is the small matter of the two division’s respective United States regional tournaments.
Team Alaska Juniors begin play today in the West Regional at Vancouver, Washington. One of nine regional tournaments that will send their winners on to the World Series (East, Southwest, Southeast, Central, Canada, EMEA, Latin America, Asia Pacific).
Italy has already won the title from EMEA, Aruba won Latin A. and Chinese Taipei claimed the Asia Pacific title.
Alaska opens today against Arizona at 7 p.m. (site venue time) and a variety of eyes around the world had better be paying attention.
Alaska then plays Utah on Thursday (4 p.m.), Hawaii on Saturday (7 p.m.) and Washington on Sunday (7 p.m.). They are in Pool 2, which also includes Northern California. Pool 1 includes Southern California, host team Columbia of Vancouver, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada.
The top two teams from each pool play in a single elimination on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The winners play Wednesday, Aug. 8 for the title and a trip to World Series competition in Michigan.
Team Alaska Majors begin play Friday, Aug. 3 against Wyoming (9 a.m.) at the Northwest Regional in San Bernardino, California.
Saturday they play Idaho (5 p.m.), Monday is Oregon (5 p.m.), Wednesday Aug. 8 is Montana (11:30 p.m.). Also in their region is Washington.
Thursday are semifinals with the number one team playing the fourth best and two verse three. Televised on ESPN2. The winners play Saturday (1 p.m.), televised on ESPN, for the right to advance to historic Williamsport.
They will be joined in Williamsport by 15 other regional winners (Great Lakes, Midwest, Mid Atlantic, New England, Southeast, Southwest, West, Canada, Europe, MEA, Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico, Asia Pacific, and Japan).
Germany has won Europe, Uganda the MEA, Curacao the sunny Carib, Aguadulce (Panama) won Latin, Oriente won Mexico, Tokyo Kitasuna took Japan, and Chinese Taipei continued their dynasty from the Asia Pacific.
So, with four straight state little league junior championships in a row, and another major championship, Gastineau Channel will wear the JUNEAU proudly on their chests and bear the burden of ALASKA on their backs.
Would we want it any other way?
Umm, by the way, “Play Ball” in Chinese is, well, it sounds like “Wan-showll.”