They’re going to McDonalds!
Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Juniors won the District 2 Championship on Friday at Sitka and celebrated at that local eatery.
"It is pretty cool," Juneau manager Joe Tompkins said. "The kids are pretty tired, but really excited."
Juneau had routed Ketchikan 19-6 on Thursday in game 1 of the best-of-three series.
The Gastineau Gang completed a sweep of Ketchikan, winning 8-2 behind the pitching of first-year all-star, 14-year-old Christian Schenker, on Friday.
"I just love seeing the guys whiff when I pitch," Schenker said. "I just throw as many strikes as I can. I rely on my fastball. I was a little nervous once with when there was a runner on third and the bases were loaded, but I got over it. I just hope we can win State and go down to Washington. That would just really make my year."
Tied at 2-2, Juneau exploded for 6 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Corbin Neville (0-1, 1 RS, 3 BB) walked, Christian Schenker (1-3, 1 RS) singled and Donavin McCurley (2-3, 1 RS, 1 BB) singled to load the bases. Antonio DeAsis (1-2, 1 RBI, 2 RS) walked to score Neville, Quin Gist (1-3, 2 RBI, 2 R) doubled to center field scoring Schenker and McCurley. Luke Mallinger (0-1, 1 BB) and Michael Cesar (0-2, 1 RS, 2 BB) walked and DeAsis stole home. Erik Kelly (2-3, 1 RS, 2 BB) doubled to center field scoring Gist and Sammy McKnight (1-3, 1 RBI) singled to center scoring Kelly.
Juneau tightened their fielding defense to stop Ketchikan in the top of the seventh. Schenker threw 88 pitches with 53 strikes, struck out three, walked three, and allowed 2 runs on three hits.
"He is unshakable," Tompkins said. "They couldn't get in his head. He got hit by a batted ball in the first inning and came right back and got in it."
Shortstop Michael Cesar relieved for the seventh, throwing 13 pitches with eight strikes. Cesar had been called upon to catch a double header before the championship series, going 17 innings behind the plate, as much as two professional Major League Baseball games, from 12:30-9:30 p.m.
"We had to throw him in there," Tompkins said. "We needed him."
With eight 13-year-olds on the roster, the inexperienced team did not surprise Tompkins.
"I knew they could do it," Tompkins said. "I believed in them and they came through."
Cesar settled in and delivered strikes in the final inning and let his fielders handle the chores.
"I knew we have a good defense," Cesar said. "We have been practicing a lot and we know what to do. I feel pretty good that we won Districts, now I want to win State."
Ketchikan scored one run in the top of the second inning and another in the fifth for a 2-0 advantage.
"They had a good southpaw on the mound," Tompkins said. "He was keeping them uncomfortable in the box. He ran out of pitches and they had to switch pitchers."
Juneau tied the score in the bottom of the fifth as DeAsis bunted with one out to reach base, Steven Cole (0-0, 1 BB) walked, and Trevar Fiscus (0-1, 1 RBI) sacrificed to score DeAsis who had stole third. Cesar reached on an error that scored pinch runner Gist.
Juneau now will play Anchorage's District 1 champion Abbott-O-Rabbit, a 9-2 winner over Dimond-West, for the State Title, also in Sitka, July 23-28.
Juneau and AOR met in the state championship as Majors two seasons ago and the Anchorage team won.
"I remember playing them," Cesar said. "We want to win State."
For the moment, however, a celebration is on hand, and a feast is occurring at McDonalds.
"I am having a Club Chicken BLT sandwich," Cesar said.