Kyle Lanz finally got his showcase game at home.
Thursday night, Lanz threw a four-hitter with 13 strikeouts to lead Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League to an 8-1 victory over the Ketchikan All-Stars in the first game of the District II-Southeast Senior League All-Star Tournament at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
"The all-star teams I've been on have always been on the road at tournament time," said Lanz, who added an RBI double at the plate to support his pitching. "I finally got a chance to play in front of the home crowd. I didn't want to screw up."
Lanz, who walked two and hit two other batters, gave up an unearned run in the first inning and stranded eight Ketchikan baserunners in the game. But Lanz seemed to come up with the big pitch when he needed it, as he did in the sixth inning when Ketchikan had runners on second and third with no outs before Lanz struck out the side.
"It was everything I threw - fastball, curve, change-up," Lanz said when asked what pitch was working. "I knew they (his teammates) were behind me, and I love the groundballs."
"C'mon, name 'em all, all 17 pitches," Juneau catcher Mike Foster said, as he rattled off some of the other pitches Lanz threw. "I just kind of mixed up the order."
Only one Ketchikan player, catcher Kyle Howe, had more than one hit in the game, reaching base three times on two singles and an error. He said Lanz was able to keep the Ketchikan batters off-balance.
"It was his curveball. It was breaking really good," Howe said. "And when they got those doubles, after that we were just out of it. We've got to concentrate on what we've got to do."
Ketchikan scored in the first inning when Anders Farstad drew a one-out walk, stole second and one out later scored when Richard Leary reached second on a throwing error. But Juneau countered with an unearned run in the second inning as Erik Scholl hit a one-out single and reached second when the ball got past Ketchikan's leftfielder, then scored when Jordan Davis dropped down a bunt single and Howe overthrew first base.
Juneau took a 4-1 lead in the third inning as C.J. Keys singled and scored on a one-out double by Foster. Lanz drove Foster home with another double, Scholl walked, Davis reached on another bunt single to load the bases, then Sergio Magallanes drew a walk to score Lanz.
"Those doubles got our bats going," Davis said. "I was just bunting to sacrifice."
Scholl said the Juneau players noticed Ketchikan starter Caleb Mickel was throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs, so they started looking for the pitch. But Foster added that Mickel also hung a couple of curveballs.
"You hang 'em, we'll bang 'em, all the time," Lanz said.
Juneau added two more runs in the fourth inning as Keys and Wil Ridgeway both scored on errors. But Juneau also had another run taken off the scoreboard when Ketchikan appealed Foster's score on a fly to right by Lanz, saying Foster left early. Juneau picked up two more runs in the sixth inning as Ridgeway and Foster scored on a bases-loaded, two-run single by defensive replacement Matt Greely.
"I was looking for a pitch to drive," Greely said. "It was an RBI situation."
The two teams play again at 6 p.m. tonight at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, and with another victory Juneau can clinch a berth in next week's state tournament here in Juneau. If Ketchikan wins tonight, the two teams play an if-necessary game at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
"We can celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we'll forget about this game," Davis said. "We've still got to win one more."
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JUNEAU-GCLL 8, KETCHIKAN 1
Thursday's game from Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park
KETCHIKAN 100 000 0 - 1 4 5
JUNEAU-GCLL 013 202 x - 8 11 2
Mickel, Farstad (6) and Howe; Lanz and Foster. WP - Lanz. LP - Mickel. Sv - None. 2B - Ketchikan: None; Juneau: Foster, Lanz, Scholl. 3B - None. HR - None.