The Gastineau Channel Little League Minors All-Star baseball team won their final bracket game at Anchorage District Tournament, romping over Palmer 24-6 to finish with 3 wins and one loss and advance into quarterfinal action Saturday.
Austin McCurley got the win for the Juneau 9-10 year-olds, throwing into the fourth inning and collecting 7 strikeouts, walking 4 batters and allowing 4 runs on 3 hits and 4 errors. Brock McCormick relieved for just over one inning, striking out 3 batters and allowing 1 run and Oliver Mendoza closed out the fifth inning, allowing 1 run. McCormick also went a perfect 5-5 at the plate, tallying 6 RBI, 5 Runs Scored, including a home run.
"We played Juneau baseball today," Juneau manager Gilbert Mendoza said. "It wasn't the best opponent in the bracket but our guys kept their heads in it and look ready to rock and roll in the tournament. If we can keep our mindset we will keep rolling. The big thing is just to let them play and learn from whatever they do. That is the most important thing here."
Juneau exploded for 12 runs in the top of the fifth, turning a 12-4 game into a 24-4 carnival ride.
Bryson Echiverri (2-3, 4 Runs Scored, 2 BB) led off the fifth with a walk and stole second base. McCurley (3-5, 5 RBI, 3 RS) doubled to score Echiverri and then scored on a Christian Ludeman (3-5, 2 RBI, 3 RS) single. McCormick singled and Cody Requa (2-2, 1 RBI, 2 RS) earned a walk to load the bases. Nathan Renkes (1-2, 2 RBI, 1 RS) singled scoring Ludeman and McCormick scored on the action. Garrett Gleaton (1-1, 2 RBI, 1 RS) doubled to score Requa and Renkes. Mathew Johns (0-2, 2 RS) and Echiverri drew walks to load the bags again. McCurley sacrificed in Gleaton and Johns scored on the action. McCormick came back to the plate and parked a shot over the center field fence for two runs. Isaiah Nelson 2-3, 2 RS) tripled to center and scored the 23rd run on an error at third base as Requa doubled to left. Requa would advance to third and score the final run.
Palmer managed to get two runs in their half of the inning but the mercy rule took effect to give Juneau the win 24-6.
The top four teams from each bracket advance to single elimination play beginning Saturday. Juneau was their bracket top seed due to points scored and will play the opposite bracket's Nunaka Valley (4 seed) at 5 p.m. That winner would play the winner of Anchorage Military and Dimond West. The opposite quarterfinals pit Knik Blue Vs. Knik Gray and City View Vs. Abbott-O-Rabbit. semifinal games are Sunday and the title is played on Monday.
Juneau received a waiver from Little League headquarters in Williamsport to play in the Anchorage District Tournament when the Southeast District Tourney was cancelled.
"It is unbelievable that we are even up here," Mendoza said. "The kids are sure appreciating the chance to play against this competition. And it is a sneak preview of the 11-12 year olds they will face in the next years. We are just happy to play and to have been invited here."
Juneau opened bracket play with a 13-0 win over Knick Gray on Tuesday, beat Abbott-O-Rabbit on Wednesday 12-1, and lost to Dimond-West on Thursday 10-4.
"We had a rough one yesterday but the boys are having a good time," Mendoza said. "The weather has taken its toll, it is a little warmer but the kids are hanging in there and keeping hydrated."