Juneau’s Post 25 baseball team is making an impact in their return to American Legion play, improving to 3-1 in conference (5-1 overall) as they swept the visiting Anchorage Service Cougars Post 28 at Adair Kennedy Field.
“It was a good weekend,” Juneau manager Andy Macaulay said. “Service is a tough team. I think we are coming together better each game and I am liking what I am seeing.”
Dylan Johnson started the series by dominating on the mound Friday afternoon, striking out 10 Service batters, walking three and hit two, and allowed just one-earned run over a complete nine-inning 6-1 league game win.
“The key for me is too attack the strike zone,” Johnson said. “Getting those first pitch strikes allows me to throw what I need in the later part of each at bat.”
Johnson had two walks in the first inning and struck out two, and with the bases loaded the Juneau shortstop Tal Norvell put a ground ball out at second.
“My defense was really good tonight,” Johnson said. “My hat is off to Tal, he had a super game behind me.”
Norvell would make three spectacular catches in each of the third, fourth and five innings.
“I am just trying to stay strong in the heat,” Norvell said. “Just trying to stay focused no matter what the score is. My confidence level has gone up a lot since my freshman year and now I hope to contribute what I learned and give it back to the younger players.”
Juneau put a run on the board in the first as Kellen Johansen and Norvell singled, RJ Markovich walked and Christian Gould hit an RBI fly to score Johansen.
In the second inning Kurt Vandor led off with a solo shot over the left field wall for a 2-0 advantage.
Juneau made it a 3-0 score in the bottom of the fourth as Pusich singled. Patrick Millay walked and was replaced by pinch runner Tod Baseden. A fielder’s choice moved Pusich to third and he scored on a Johansen single.
In the fifth inning Markovich doubled to center, Tanner Petrie singled and Vandor lofted a sacrifice fly scoring Markovich for a 4-0 lead.
Service scored their run in the sixth as Zach Fernteil singled and scored on a single by Ryan Caron.
Juneau added the final two runs in the bottom of the inning as Tal Norvell Tripled to score Johansen and Gould sacrificed a fly to deep short scoring Norvell.
Batting Stats include:
Juneau - Cunningham 0-3 (steal run scored), Johansen 3-5 (2 RS, 1 RBI), Markovich 1-2 (double, RS), Gould 1-4 (RBI sac fly, single), Petrie 1-4 (single), Vandor 2-2 (HR, RBI, single), Pusich 3-4 (3 singles, RS), Patrick Millay 0-2, Jackson Pavitt 0-1.
Service- Brandon Sakumoto 0-2, Fernteil 1-3 (single, RS), Caron 1-2 (RBI single), Connor Duff 0-3, Ryan Bailey 0-3, Michael Shuler 0-4, Lucas LaPointe 0-3, Michael Choy 1-4 (double), Matt Yandell 1-3 (single, steal), Zach Cuddihy 0-1, Carson Frisk 0-1.
Service’s Ryan Caron threw four innings with 3 earned runs (2 K, 1 WK), and Carson Frisk threw five with 2 earned runs (2 WK).
Juneau followed with a non-league seven-inning 8-4 night cap win on Friday as Markovich struck out eight batters over five innings and Tod Baseden put two home runs into the trees as Juneau opened a 7-0 lead. Markovich allowed four hits, walked three and allowed two earned runs. Vandor came on in relief in the sixth inning, striking out two batters down the stretch, walking two and allowing two runs on one hit.
Baseden homered in the bottom of the second with Jacob Thibodeau on base and again in the bottom of the sixth with no one on.
Juneau returned to league action in the plus 80-degree heat on Saturday and after five lead changes downed Service 10-6.
Petrie threw the first five innings, striking out seven, walking six, and allowing two earned runs on three hits. Norvell came on in relief, striking out three, walking two and giving up one hit.
Juneau scored three runs in the second inning as Vandor and Cunningham singled and Baseden tripled them home. Johansen continued his impressive legion play after missing the high school season, by putting an RBI single into right field, scoring Baseden.
“I am really glad I got the opportunity to play,” Johansen said. “We are just trying to send a message to the rest of the state that we are a solid team.”
Service rallied in their half of the inning to tie the score at 3-3. Caron walked, Bailey reached on an error, Shuler walked and Caron scored on a passed ball. Bailey scored on a fielder’s choice by LaPoint and with the bases loaded after two outs Petrie hit Service’s Yandell to tie the score. Petrie than knuckled down to strike the third out.
Service took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the third as Caron reached on a dropped third strike and would score on a ground ball error later in the inning.
Juneau regained the lead with a seven-run fourth inning. Vandor reached on an error, Petrie singled and was replaced by courtesy runner Jackson Pavitt who advanced on a passed ball. Baseden was hit by a pitch and Johansen lined a single to center scoring Vandor. Norvell doubled scoring Pavitt and Baseden for a 6-4 advantage.
Gould was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Markovich walked, scoring Johansen. Norvell than scored on an errant pick off attempt by the Service catcher to first base and Gould and Markovich followed around from first and second, respectively for a 10-4 lead.
Service got one run back in the bottom of the fourth Yandall singled, advanced on an error and scored on a Caron single. The Cougars tacked on their final run in the bottom of the fifth as Melton walked, advanced on a fielders choice and scored on a fielding error.
“I am liking what I am seeing with the team,” Macaulay said. “Our pitching was good this weekend and so far our boys are putting the bat on the ball. For the most part our defense did well. We made a few mental errors but we stuck with it.”
Juneau - Baseden 1-3 (1 RBI, 2 RS), Johansen 2-2 (2 RBI, 1 RS), Norvell 1-3 (2 RBI, 1 RS), Markovich 1-3 (1 RBI, 1 RS), Gould 0-2 (1 RS), Vandor 0-4 (2 RBI, 2 RS), Petrie 2-4, Millay 0-4, Cunningham 0-4, Pavitt 0-0.
Service - Sakumoto 0-4, Yandell 1-3 (1 RBI, 1 RS), Duff 0-3, Caron 2-3 (1 RBI, 2 RS), Baily 0-4 (1 RS), Shuler 0-3 (1 RS), LaPoint 0-2 (1 RBI), Choy 1-4 (single), Duddihy 0-1, Melton 0-0, Frisk 0-1.
Service’s Zach Ferntheil threw three-and-a-half innings, with 3 Ks, 2 WKs, and allowed 10 runs on six hits. Yandell relieved, striking out four and walking one with one hit.
Juneau next faces Eagle River on Friday, June 21, at 3 and 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 22, at noon on Adair Kennedy Field.