Juneau’s Northern Exposure Men’s 50 AA Senior softball team competed in the 2013 Senior Softball World Championships on Oct. 4-6 in Las Vegas, finishing second to Hawaii after a grueling weekend of multiple games and hot temperatures.
The championship game saw the Hawaiians start strong with a 5-3 lead after the first inning, and 8-4 after the third.
Juneau closed the gap with three runs in the fourth and trailed 8-7. Hawaii then showed their dominance with a final three-inning burst of 5, 5 and 6 runs while Juneau could only put a single player across the plate. The Hawaiians won 24-10.
Juneau played solid defense and had timely hitting to finish second and placed three players on the All-Tourney team: George Ladenburg, Dean Van Dusseldorp and Steve Marchand. Gary Lewis was given the Juneau Exposure MVP award. Other team members are Mike Story, Edwin Marchand, Rudy Brandner, Mark Heard, Len Story, Gary Guizio, Ray Kitka, Mike Ladenburg, Everett Boster, Pa McConnell and coach Mark Potts.
According to Potts, Juneau has been represented in these championships since 2006.
Juneau has had two fourthplace finishes, and a 55 AAA Juneau team had a second-place finish last year. That 55 team consisted mostly of players that had moved up in age from the 50 team.
Of Northern Exposure’s 15 players, 10 currently live in Alaska with seven of them in Juneau, one from Sitka and two from Anchorage. One of the players is a retired firefighter from Juneau currently living in Washington. The four remaining players are friends who live in Washington. Senior Softball USA allows teams to carry players from adjacent states; so an Alaskan team can pick up players from Washington, British Columbia and the Yukon.
Sandy Williams was the first manager for the 50 team. Sandy was the Manager for the 1st National Caps team in Juneau and had been trying to get a 50’s team together after traveling in Europe and seeing and playing in Senior Softball while there. Senior softball toured Alaska in 2006 and played against Sandy’s First National Caps team made up of over 50 players at Sandy Beach. From those games, an invitation was extended to play in the Senior Softball World Championships without qualifying since it would be the only team from Alaska. Typically teams have to qualify through play in other tournaments to get an invitation to the World Championships; but for the last eight years Juneau has been invited based on being the only team from Alaska.
Mark Potts is the current Player/Manager of the team. Taku Oil sponsored the team the first seven years and McGivneys stepped up to sponsor this year as Taku Oil was acquired by Crowley Petroleum this fall.
Go to www.juneauempire.com/sports for more on this story.
Northern Exposure began the Senior Softball World Championships in round robin play against All-Ins from Chicago, ILL. All-Ins started strong with 5 runs in the 1st inning. A team is only allowed to score 5 runs per inning in the 1st thru 6th innings; they are allowed to score as many as possible in the open or 7th inning.
The All-Ins then scored 9 runs in the next two innings and Northern Exposure scored 3, 4, and 1 run to trail 14-8.
Northern Exposure allowed only 3 more runs and exploded for 5 runs in the final two innings for an 18-17 win.
Northern Exposure faced a team from Guam in the second game. Juneau pitching had difficulty throwing strikes as a 20 mph wind kept blowing the ball out of the strike zone. Juneau’s hitting started strong getting a 5-3 first inning. Guam came back for a 7-5 lead. Juneau closed the gap after 4 innings 12-11 but in the top of the 5th Guam scored 3 runs and one more in the 6th and Juneau could only muster one more, falling 16-12.
So after round robin play Juneau finished as the 7th seed.
Juneau’s first elimination round game came against Senior Assault from Arizona. Solid defense and heads up base running lead to a 16-4 win. The game was scoreless after one inning and Assault failed to score in the top of the second. Northern Exposure scored their 5 in the second, forth and fifth innings to open a commanding lead. The Assault team scored 3 runs in the 4th inning and 1 run in the last to complete the scoring.
Juneau next faced the New Mexico Boomers. Northern Exposure scored 5 runs in the first and third innings and two in the fourth and one more in the fifth. The Boomers started slow but stayed consistent with1 run in the first, 3 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, 3 in the 5th and 6th, and 6 in the 7th for a 17-13 lead. Juneau responded with 4 in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extra innings. The Boomers only scored once in the top of the inning and Juneau scored twice in the bottom to take the game.
Juneau played the All-Ins with a different start but familiar ending. Juneau scored in the first 3 innings and had a commanding 15-2 lead after the 4th. Juneau held a 19-9 lead heading into the final open inning. A bad hop grounder opened the door for the team from Chicago and they made a strong run but Juneau got the third out with the tying run at third base for the 19-18 victory.
In the winners bracket game on Sunday Juneau faced the Hawaiians. Hawaii took an early commanding lead and scored 5 in the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th innings. Juneau trailed 20-9 after 5. Juneau scored 6 in their first inning but lost 20-16 and was sent to the losers bracket.
Juneau played El Paso Old School a team they had faced in several previous years. Both teams had won games with Juneau usually winning round robin games and El Paso winning elimination games. This time the tables would turn. El Paso playing their third game of the morning jumped out to an early lead with 3 runs in the 1st and one more in the 2nd. Juneau then found their pace with 5 runs in the 3rd, four in the 4th and 5th innings for a 13-9 lead. Juneau added three more runs to El Paso’s one for the 16-10 win and a berth in the championship game against the Hawaiians.