Juneau East beat POW 7-0.
The pitching staff has been one of the biggest strengths of the Juneau East All-Stars during this week's Alaska District 2 Major Division (age 11-12) Little League Baseball Tournament.
On Thursday afternoon at Miller Field, Juneau East showed off the depth of its pitching as it used a different pitcher each inning to record a 7-0 shutout victory over Prince of Wales in round-robin pool play.
Juneau East sent, in order, Tony Tompkins, Torey Franzen, Dylan Baker, Kyle Fossman, Derrick Esguerra and Tyler McMichael to the mound, and the six pitchers combined on a three-hitter.
Juneau East pitchers have allowed just one run in five games.
"We could have gone even deeper," Esguerra said of the pitching performance.
"Everyone on the team can pitch pretty good," added Julian Love, one of the six players on Juneau East's roster who didn't take the mound on Thursday although he has pitched in the tournament.
With the victory, Juneau East improved to 4-1 on the tournament and set up tonight's 6 p.m. game with Ketchikan (5-0) to decide the top two seeds for Saturday's semifinals.
Ketchikan beat Wrangell 6-2 on Thursday, while Juneau West knocked off Petersburg 10-6 in the other game. Sitka (3-2) had a bye on Thursday and will take on Juneau West at 3 p.m. today in the game that will decide the third and fourth seeds in Saturday's semifinals. In today's other game, Wrangell plays Petersburg at noon. Prince of Wales has a bye today. Wrangell, Petersburg and Prince of Wales can't advance to the semifinals.
The top seed takes on the fourth seed at noon on Saturday, while the second seed takes on the third seed at 3 p.m. The semifinal game winners play each other for the title at noon on Sunday, with the winner of that game heading to Anchorage next weekend for the state tournament.
Juneau East, which has yet to lose on the field, expected decent pitching. But the Juneau East players didn't think the pitching and defense would overshadow its offense.
"Our at-bats have been a little nervous," Tompkins said. "Our defense has been real solid and our pitching's been great. It boosts our confidence."
"I'm glad we haven't given up that many runs," said Fossman, who doubled and tripled on offense and started two double plays once he went to shortstop after his stint on the mound. "I thought our offense would be better."
Juneau East took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Fossman doubled off the fence with two outs, Love walked and Fossman scored when Franzen reached on an error. Then Tompkins singled to score Love, and an error allowed Franzen to add a third run.
In the top of the second, Franzen allowed a one-out double by POW's Andy Edsall. But Franzen struck out the next two hitters to keep POW (1-5) scoreless.
"It was a great game. I thought it was one of the really good games I played," Edsall said. "A couple of people can do a little more, but me personally, I think we're all doing the best we can. The main thing is to have fun."
Baker threw a 1-2-3 top of the third inning, and Juneau East padded its lead with two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Fossman tripled, then scored on a double by Love, who came around to score on a pair of errors on the same play.
In the bottom of the fourth, Juneau East loaded the bases but POW pitcher Daniel Peters escaped the jam with no scoring.
Esguerra pitched the fifth inning and was helped by a double play started by Fossman, who caught a fly ball at short and got the runner at first leaning off the bag.
Juneau East then scored two more times in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-0 lead. Esguerra reached on an error, took second on a single up the middle by Eric Sele, and both advanced when Tyler McMichael reached on an error to load the bases. Baker then reached on another error to score Esguerra and Sele. POW escaped further damage when shortstop Jeff Whicker started a double play to end the inning.
McMichael pitched the top of the sixth inning, allowing a single to Jake Sharp. Fossman started another double play, but this time he let a liner drop to the ground so he could pick it up, step on second and make the throw to first. The next batter flew out the second to end the game.
"I felt comfortable, and they (double plays) are a pitcher's best friend," McMichael said. "It's good to know we have so many pitchers because in the regular season we have to take some hard games."
Juneau West 10, Petersburg 6
Dominic Holloway hit two doubles and scored three runs, while Jamie Daniel had two hits, including a double, scored twice and had four RBIs to lead Juneau West (3-2) over Petersburg (1-4).
Aaron Cohen hit a two-run homer and a triple and scored three times for Juneau West, while James San Miguel went 3-for-3 with a run and Nick Mow scored twice and drove in a run.
Jose Eugave hit a two-run homer for Petersburg, while Jordan Monroe hit a two-run triple and scored on an error during a three-run bottom of the sixth inning.
Ketchikan 6, Wrangell 2
Colby Slanaker hit two two-run homers to lead undefeated Ketchikan (5-0) to a victory over winless Wrangell (0-5).
David Klein scored twice, while Seth Schum had an RBI single and Bryan Moody had a single and scored for Ketchikan.
Wrangell scored twice in the third inning when Josh Hojem doubled home a run and then scored two batters later on an error.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.