Juneau's Jordan Harris and Quincy Bates provided power at the plate and Taylor Beardslee and Bates commanded the pitching circle as the Gastineau Channel Little League Juniors Softball All-Stars rocked Abbott-O-Rabbit 16-5 on Thursday to take a commanding lead in the State Championship best-of-five-series at Anchorage.
"The girls were just alive tonight from the start," Juneau manager Jun Maiquis said. "They had the jitters last night in the opening game but they were hot right away tonight and they made my job easy. I could not ask for anything more. It was very well done by all the girls."
Juneau, an 8-2 winner in game one on Wednesday, picked right back up where they left off at the batter's box.
After surrendering a 3-run top of the first to Abbott-O-Rabbit the Gastineau girls owned the base paths.
Harris (3-4, 2 RBI, 3 runs scored) doubled to right field to lead off the bottom of the first inning, Erica Maiquis (2-3, 2 RBI, 4 RS, 1 BB) doubled to center scoring Harris, Bates (2-4, 4 RBI, 2 RS) singled to center field and Makayla Harp (3-4, 1 RBI, 2 RS) sacrificed a line drive to score Maiquis. Sami Good (1-3, 2 RS, 1 BB) doubled to right field and after a Sophie Hultberg (1-3, 3 RBI) pop out Maddie Johnson (1-1, 2 RBI, 1 RS, 1 BB) doubled to center scoring Bates and Good.
Abbott-O-Rabbit came right back for two runs in the second inning and a 5-4 advantage.
Juneau struck again in the bottom half. Beardslee (0-1, 1 RS, 1 BB) earned a walk and barely settled onto the base when Harris powered her second home run of the series over the center field fence.
Maiquis earned a walk, Harp singled to center and Good walked to load the bases. Hultberg singled to score Maiquis and Harp scored on the ensuing throw. A double steal with Johnson at bat had Good scoring at home. Erika Holst (1-1, 1 RBI) singled to right field scoring Johnson for a 10-5 lead.
Juneau added three more in the bottom of the third inning as Maiquis doubled and Bates put a powerful stroke over the left field fence. Harp followed with a double, Good reached on a fielder's choice and Harp scored on Hultberg's sacrifice fly.
"I was just hoping for a base hit," Bates said of her blast. "I wasn't looking for anything special."
In the top of the fourth AOR threatened with three runners on but Haleigh DiCarlo (0-1) fielded a sharp grounder to force an out at third and stop the rally.
Juneau put the 10-run mercy rule into play in the bottom of the fourth inning. Amanda Bicknell (0-2) tired the pitcher before going down swinging, Alondra Echiverri (1-1, 1 RS) singled, Harris doubled and Maiquis reached on an error that scored Echiverri. Bates reached on a fielder's choice scoring Harris and Harp singled scoring Maiquis.
Juneau's infield put away AOR to end the game in the top of the fourth as Bates got a batter to ground to Maiquis at shortstop, and two to the glove of Good at second.
"Our pitchers did their job tonight," Maiquis said. "Our role players did their job. I was one of those speechless coaches, my job was easy."
Beardslee went three innings to earn the win, throwing 45 pitches with 29 strikes, striking out one batter, walking one, and allowing five runs (5 earned) on six hits.
Bates closed for two innings (25-17, 1 BB, 2 H).
"We are really excited that we won two games so far," Bates said. "One more and we go to Tucson. We played really well together today."
Juneau is just one win from the state title with Game 3 of the series today at 7 p.m.
The winner of the series advances to the Junior League Softball Western Regional Tournament in Tucson, Arizona, August 1-8. The Junior League World Series is in Kirkland, Washington, August 11-17.
"I told the girls this was a great win for us," Maiquis said. "But we need to keep the foot on the pedal and close this out tomorrow and not give them any hopes. Our girls have been practicing hard and they have been waiting for this moment. The hard practices paid off."