Juneau’s Gastineau Channel Little League Majors Softball All-Stars lost 15-3 to Montana in their final round robin game at the Western Regionals in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday.
The loss eliminated Juneau from the semifinal round and ended their season. Juneau needed a Washington win over Oregon and a defeat of Montana to move on. Oregon put a damper on that strategy with a 4-2 win earlier in the day and Juneau had only pride left to play for.
“We didn’t really have the stars aligned for us today like we wanted,” Juneau manager Scott Balovich said. “We talked to them about playing for respect, pride and the State of Alaska. They were up. There were no down spirits for not having the possibility to play for the semis. We jumped on them pretty early but today was just a hotter day than normal and that heat just took over.”
Juneau put three runs across in the top of the first inning. With two outs Morgan Balovich (2-3, 1 RS) singled to center field, Megan Dallas (1-2, 1 RS, 1 BB) singled to left field, and Leah Spargo (2-3, 1 RBI, 1 RS) doubled to left scoring Balovich. Peyton Harp (1-2) reached on an error and Dallas scored and Spargo scored in the action.
Spargo started on the mound for Juneau and threw 88 pitches with 43 strikes over three innings, allowing 11 runs (6 earned) with 5 hits, and 6 walks. Maxie Saceda-Hurt relieved for 1.1 innings (28-18, 1 K, 1 BB, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 H).
Montana got one run back in the first and tied the score in the second, put five runs across in the third, four in the fourth, and three in the fifth to win by the mercy rule (10-runs after the fourth inning).
Juneau stranded Balovich, Spargo and Harp on base in the third and Dallas in the fifth. Saceda-Hurt (0-3), Rachel Macaulay (0-3), Maranda Markovich (0-2), Abby Meiners (0-1), Kyra Jenkins (0-1), Nina Fenumiai (0-1) and Mia Loree (0-1) all had plate appearances.
“We played a pretty good game against Montana today,” Balovich said. “It was a 100 degrees out there on the field and after the third inning I just literally just watched the heat melt them down. The kids played well, we just ran into a very good Montana team with some very skilled players.”
Montana (3-1), Washington (3-1) and Oregon (3-1) end with identical records but Montana gets the first seed as they scored 34 tournament runs, Washington is second with 33 and Oregon is out of the next round with 23. Juneau finishes 1-3 with 23 runs scored while Idaho went 0-4 with 11 runs.
In Pool A, Southern California (3-0, 25 runs) led Nevada (1-2, 16 runs) 9-1 in a late game, and Arizona (3-1, 33 runs) defeated Utah (2-2, 38 runs) 14-0. In that pool Southern California is the 1-seed and Arizona the 2-seed as So. Cal would have at least 34 runs even if they lost to Nevada. Nevada, Hawaii (0-4, 19 runs) and Northern California (2-2, 13 runs) cannot advance.