Juneau’s Gastineau Channel Little League Juniors Softball All-Stars advanced to the 2013 West Regional Final Four in Tucson, Arizona with a 9-8 win over Southern California on Saturday.
Makayla Harp and Alondra Echiverri hit first inning home runs and the Juneau defense held off a late rally for the win.
“We feel pretty good,” Quincy Bates said. “It was a really intense game.”
Bates and Erica Maiquis combined on the mound again to give Juneau their second win in as many games at the double elimination tournament.
“Erica is a really good starter and I just try to finish it,” Bates said. “The whole team was working together tonight and that was really big for us.”
Southern California scored in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
“The girls struck right back at them,” Juneau manager Jun Maiquis said. “We gave them a good jab and scored six runs.”
Jordan Harris (1-3, 1 BB) led off with a walk for Juneau but was caught stealing second. Maiquis (1-4, 3 RS) singled to left field, Bates (1-3, 1 RBI, 1 RS, 1 BB) reached on a fielder’s choice and Harp (2-4, 3 RBI, 1 RS) put a shot over the left field fence to give Juneau a 3-1 lead. Sami Good (1-3, 1 BB) singled, Sophie Hultberg (1-2, 1 RBI, 1 RS, 1 BB) singled and Maddie Johnson (1-2, 1 RS) singled but Good was caught at second base. Echiverri (2-3, 3 RBI, 2 RS) put her own shot over the left field fence to make it 6-1.
California struck back for four runs in the top of the second.
Juneau got one run back in the bottom half as Maiquis reached on a fielder’s choice that outed Harris, Bates walked, Good walked and Hultberg walked to score Maiquis.
Juneau put two more runs across the plate in the bottom of the third. Echiverri singled and scored on a Maiquis hit that California misplayed.
California got one run in the fifth inning to trail 9-6.
The southern girls threatened to take the game with two more runs in the top of the seventh. With two outs Zielinski doubled, Fifer singled and Holt doubled to score the duo. Juneau’s Good picked up a sharp groundball to end the game and send GCLL on to Tuesday’s matchup against Montana.
“My heart is still pounding,” Juneau manager Jun Maiquis said. “It was a good game and a good battle against a tough Southern California team.”
Amanda Bicknell, Taylor Beardslee and Haleigh DiCarlo also had plate appearances.
Maiquis went four innings on the mound, throwing 60 pitches with 36 strikes, one walk, and five runs on seven hits. Bates (46-25) went three innings, walking two batters and allowing three runs on three hits.
Juneau and Montana are both undefeated and will play at 6:30 p.m. The winner moves into the championship game on Thursday. The loser plays an elimination game to reach that title matchup.
Juneau is looking to become the second Alaskan team to make the World Series. Anchorage’s Nunaka Valley won the West Regional and the World Series in Kirkland, Washington, last season.