Bryce Swofford pitched and hit Alaska’s Juneau Gastineau Channel Little League Major All Star team into a show-no-mercy 12-0 dismantling of Wyoming’s Cody Little League All Stars in the opening round of the Little League Baseball Majors (11-12 year olds) Northwest Regional Tournament in San Bernardino, California on Friday.
Or they showed a lot of mercy.
Twelve runs of mercy, as in the Mercy Rule win rule (10-runs).
Behind a perfect stance at the plate from Bryce Swofford who was 3-3 with 5 Runs Batted In and 3 Runs Scored, and an even more dominant form on the mound, throwing a three-hitter in 3.1 innings with six strikeouts, Alaska looked pretty comfortable in the summer sun.
Swofford was most comfortable as he almost hit for the cycle with a single, double and triple.
Erik Kelly came on to throw the final portion of the fourth inning with two runners on second base and one out. Kelly stuck out one and got the final batter to ground to Franklin San Nicolas
Wyoming went through pitchers like tumble weeds on the prairie, giving up 12 runs in the first three innings while allowing 10 hits.
Juneau wasted little time getting things started, the longest dip in action for the GCLL All Stars was the walk up to the plate for leadoff batter Zeb Storie who drew another walk to first. Michael Cesar followed with a ground rule double off the fence. On any normal day it would have been a home run on the Majors 200-foot field, but the NW Regional’s are played on a 225-foot length. Swofford then singled, and Storie scored on an error in center field.
With two outs earned it appeared Wyoming would be out of the inning and the 90-degree heat, but Jacob Dale singled scoring Cesar and Swofford.
In the second inning Donavin McCurley reached on an error, Storie singled and Cesar was walked to load the bases. Swofford singled scoring Storie and McCurley scored on the play.
Kasey Watts singled to score Cesar and Swofford and stole second base on a wild pitch. Kelly followed with a single putting Watts on third where he would score on an error.
In the third McCurley singled, Storie singled and Cesar belted a ground rule double to bring the lead runner home. Swofford then blasted a triple to the right field wall to clear the runners. Swofford would score on a Watts sacrifice.
Juneau went three up and three down in their final at bats in the fourth inning with a comfortable lead in hand.
Kasey Watts was 1-2 at the plate with 3 RBI and 1 RS, Jacob Dale went 1-3 (2 RBI), Michael Cesar 2-2 (1 RBI, 3 RS), Zeb Storie 2-2 (3 RS), Donavin McCurley 1-2 (2 RS), Kelly 0-2, Franklin San Nicholas 0-1, Corbin Neville 0-1, Robert Cox 0-0, Sammy McKnight 0-2, Luke Mallinger 0-2.
Next up for the Alaska Major All Stars is a game against Idaho on Saturday at 5 p.m., 4 p.m. Alaska time.
On Saturday team Alaska had a harder day on the diamond as Idaho’s Post Falls Little League All Stars took a tight 3-1 victory.
Both teams had trouble putting runners across the plate on their opponents pitcher.
Alaska tallied the games first run in the top of the third inning as Donavin McCurley put a triple into right field and scored on a passed ball. The 1-0 score would keep Idaho, the tournament’s most highly regarded team, in a nervous state into the fifth inning.
“We gained a ton of respect from the teams down here in this game,” Alaska manager Spencer Storie said. “We haven’t played a close game like this before and Idaho is definitely a very good team and a very well coached team.”
Idaho scored their three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as Shilo Morgan was hit by a pitch and put out on a fielders choice allowing Quin Bennett to base. Jake Pfennings reached first and moved to third on Kodie Kolden’s double that scored Bennett. A controversial play resulted in a series of passed balls allowed Pfennings and Kolden to score and Alaska would not recover.
Sammy McKnight started on the mound, allowing four hits, striking out one and walking one. Erik Kelly came on midway through the second inning and threw 2.2 innings; allowing three runs on two hits and three errors and walking two. Zeb Storie came on in relief to strike out the final two batters in the fifth. Idaho got six strikeouts from starting pitcher Bennett through four innings and one strike out from Kolden in relief.
Alaska could not mount a rally in the top of the sixth as Cesar grounded out, Swofford struck out and Watts flew out.
McCurley was 1-1 with one run scored at the plate and Neville was 1-1 to account for Alaska’s two hits. Idaho had six hits.
Alaska next faces Oregon on Monday.
“We just had a couple bad mental errors,” Storie said. “But our boys played phenominal. They felt like they let one get away and they will learn from this. We aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. It is all about making the semifinals and then anything can happen.”