Juneau’s Legion Post 25 (17-5 in conference, 20-7 overall) will open American Legion post-season play today at 2:30 p.m. in the 2013 American Legion Alaska State Tournament at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium.
“The boys have had a few days off and rested their arms,” Juneau manager Andy Macaulay said. “They are real excited about the fact that they are in Anchorage in July, getting a chance to play in this tournament. Words can’t describe it.”
Juneau, the number-two seed, will play number 10-seed Fairbanks Post 11 (9-14, 11-15), a 6-4 winner on Thursday over number seven-seed Kenai Post 20 (11-12, 12-24). The win is a mild upset, but Fairbanks has played strong in the stretch run at the end of the season.
Fairbanks defeated Juneau twice in the final week of season play by scores of 12-10 and 7-6.
“Anybody can win on any given day,” Macaulay said. “When they played us, and beat us twice, they showed they are a team that can hit the ball. They put the ball in play, all of them, so we will have to play tighter defense than when we first faced them. We are looking forward to getting another opportunity to play them.”
In other opening tournament games today number-one seed Wasilla Post 35 (18-4, 22-7) plays ninth-seed Bartlett Post 29 (9-14, 11-18), an 11-9 winner on Thursday over eighth-seed Eagle River (10-13, 16-18), and three-seed South Post 4 (16-6, 20-6) plays six-seed Service Post 28 (11-11, 15-18-1).
Also on Thursday, four-seed Chugiak Post 33 (15-7-1, 19-17-1) defeated five-seed Dimond Post 21 (12-10-1, 16-16-2) 10-0.
“We keep on setting goals for the program,” Macaulay said. “The first goal was to raise the money and get the kids and coaches so we could actually have a team this year. Now that we have achieved that huge goal we are looking at the next goal, and the next goal is to have a team next year so we are not just doing it every once in a while. The fact that these kids are playing in the best part of the summer shows that they just love the game. They are really taking advantage of the opportunity.”
In between goals Juneau has their sights on another achievement, that of having a strong showing at the state tournament.
“The boys have the goal that they want to win the tournament,” Macaulay said. “They want to go to Eugene, Oregon and play. They want to make a statement that Juneau can play baseball with the best teams in the state. We have had a decent season but this is what every team that is participating in the tournament is playing for, to win the state. This is who can execute and make the fewest mistakes possible. That’s the name of the game.”
The winner of the American Legion Alaska State Tournament advances to the Northwest Regional Tournament in Eugene, Oregon August 8-12 with the winners from Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. That winner would advance to the World Series in Shelby, North Carolina August 16-20 with regional winners from the Northeast, Southeast, Central Plains, Mid Atlantic, Great Lakes, Mid South and Western Regions.