Hard hitting, a pair of strong pitchers and solid defense lifted Ketchikan to the Southeast Alaska Junior Olympic Fast-pitch 14-under Championship on Sunday at Melvin Park.
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Ketchikan defeat the Juneau Midnight Suns 8-3 for the title.
"I'm really proud of everyone and how they played," Ketchikan second baseman Chelsea Paulson said. "We all worked really well as a team."
Ketchikan pounded out nine hits in six innings. Holding a tenuous 3-2 lead, Ketchikan broke the game open with three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth.
The defense made sure the lead stood. Ketchikan committed just two errors in the game and allowed two unearned runs.
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"I'm very proud of this team," said Ketchikan coach and Junior Olympic representative John Woolley. "I'm proud of all the Ketchikan teams. We brought five teams and they all showed good sportsmanlike conduct, and that's what I like to see."
The Midnight Suns played a solid game in defeat.
Megan Mauseth probably hit the hardest ball of the afternoon, but her laser-beam of a line drive went directly into third baseman Chelsea Weihing's glove.
"It's completely the outcome we wanted," Suns coach Mike Mauseth said. "We just wanted to play hard, do everything we could, take every pitch as it came and you know how that goes. It's about winning to a certain level, but at this age with the team the Suns, it's about getting good game experience and getting good exposure for the future when they get to high school."
Juneau, playing as the visitors, took a 1-0 first-inning lead as Kyra Uddipa scored on Kalea Chapman's single.
Ketchikan responded in the bottom half of the inning with two runs. After Paulson and Mikala Martin led of the first with consecutive singles, Sara Clark smacked a single to left.
Paulson and Martin scored as the ball got behind left fielder Gabbie Saldivar. The left fielder, however, refused to quit on the play and hustled to the loose ball. Saldivar fired to Megan Mauseth at shortstop, who then threw home where Chapman tagged out Clark, who was trying to score an inside-the-park home run.
"That's pretty much all you're trying to see," Mike Mauseth said of his team's hustle. "The basics - catching the ball, fielding grounders - those aren't the things that make a team like this competitive in 'A' bracket tournaments. It's the extra hustle. ... That's the only way you can be competitive in 'A' tournament like the ones we played in down south."
Chapman tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the third to cut Ketchikan's lead to 3-2.
Ketchikan broke it open in the fifth as Paulson, Martin and Anna Bullock all had RBIs. In the sixth, Weihing and Deandra Banie came around to score to put their team ahead 8-2.
Jennifer Nelson singled and scored in the seventh for the Suns, but Juneau would get no closer.
"We all try to stay with each other," Nelson said of her team. "We pick each other up."
Nelson pitched six strong innings, striking out four batters while walking one.
Chapman went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI, Nelson was 1-for-2 with a run scored and Sage Davenport doubled for Juneau.
Ketchikan pitcher Bullock allowed three hits in three inning for the win. Green didn't allow a hit four innings of relief for Ketchikan.
Paulson went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to pace Ketchikan's bats. Martin went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, Greene doubled, Weihing doubled and scored, Lacey Murphy singled and scored and Banie went 2-for-2 with an RBI single in the win.
"That was the best team we've played in the six years I've coached Southeast," Mike Mauseth said. "I've never seen a team like this Ketchikan team. They have some really good players."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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