Gastineau Channel Little League’s Rachel Macaulay went 5-5 at the plate and had four runs batted in to lead a resurgence in the batting box for Juneau’s Majors All-Stars as they defeated Idaho 17-6 in the Western Regional Tournament at San Bernardino, California, on Tuesday.
“We finally broke out,” Juneau manager Scott Balovich said. “The bats woke up and the girls were pretty charged up and did their thing.”
Juneau’s Maranda Markovich turned out a stellar performance on the mound, going the five innings with 96 pitches, 53 for strikes, while striking out five batters, walking three and allowing 6 runs (3 earned) on two hits.
“Maranda turned out a stellar performance in the circle,” Balovich said. “The girls were dancing around in the dugout with confidence. They were aggressive on the bases and we really limited our mistakes.”
Juneau put up 11 runs in the top of the second inning as Leah Spargo (1-3, 3 RS) and Markovich (2-1, 3 RS, 1 BB) reached on errors and Nina Fenumiai (1-2, 1 RBI, 2 RS) reached with a bunt. Skylar Hickok (1-1, 3 RBI, 2 RS, 2 BB) walked to score Spargo, Macaulay singled to score Markovich, and Maxie Saceda-Hurt (2-5, 3 RBI, 1 RS) singled to score Fenumiai. Morgan Balovich (2-5, 1 RS) singled to score Hickok and Megan Dallas (1-4, 2 RBI, 1 RS, 1 BB) singled to right field scoring Macaulay. Spargo came back up to bat and reached on an error that scored Saceda-Hurt and Balovich scored on action with Markovich at the plate. Markovich walked and Fenumiai singled scoring Dallas.
Hickok singled to shortstop scoring Spargo, Macaulay singled to right field scoring Markovich and Fenumiai scored in the action.
“The girls came out with a loose confidence that I haven’t seen since Anchorage,” Balovich said. “They know the field now, they know the level of play and they just came out and just really hit the ball.”
Idaho scored one run in the bottom of the second. Juneau added two more runs in the third as Peyton Harp (2-5, 2 RS) singled, Markovich singled and Harp scored on an errant throw. Abby Meiners (1-1, 1 RBI, 1 RS) singled to score Markovich.
Idaho scored one run in the bottom of the third and four in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 13-6 game.
Juneau scored four runs in the top of the fifth to implement the 10-run mercy rule. Harp singled, Spargo singled and Markovich singled to load the bases. Hickok walked to score Harp. Hickok had two at bats in the game where she had Idaho’s pitcher throwing over 10 pitches.
Macaulay singled to score Spargo, and Saceda-Hurt singled to score Meiners. Dallas then drew a walk to score Hickok for the 17-6 advantage.
Markovich got Idaho’s last three batters to fly out to Dallas in center field, strike out, and fielded the last grounder herself for the put out.
Mia Loree (0-1) and Kyra Jenkins (0-1) also made plate appearances.
The win keeps Juneau alive for the single elimination round that will feature the top two teams from each of two pools. Juneau has a record of 1-2, while Pool B’s Washington is 3-0, Oregon and Montana 2-1 and Idaho is 0-4.
Washington plays Oregon tomorrow and Juneau plays Montana.
“We need a little help from Washington,” Balovich said. “And Montana is pretty tough.”
If Washington, already guaranteed a spot in the second round, defeats Oregon and Juneau beats Montana then the tiebreaker for Juneau, Oregon and Montana would be runs scored. Juneau has 20 runs to date, Montana 21, and Oregon 19. Washington has scored 31 runs and Idaho 11.
“We need the stars to align a little bit,” Balovich said. “But it is doable.”
In Pool A Southern California is 3-0, Arizona 2-1, Northern California 2-2, Utah 2-1, Nevada 1-2, and Hawaii 0-4.
Today is the final day of pool play, semifinal games are Thursday with the 1-seed from Pool A playing the 2-seed from Pool B and Pool B #1 vs. Pool A #2. The winners play Friday to advance to the 2013 Little League Softball World Series.