Midnight Suns split series with Kenai

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Juneau's American Legion Post 25 Midnight Suns split two games with Kenai, losing 7-6 on Monday and easily winning 9-1 on Tuesday to bring their record to 12-9 overall and 5-2 against Alaska's American Legion teams.

Will Nicholas started Monday's game for Juneau and pitched into the seventh inning before being relieved by Nick Wolf in the eighth, who closed out the game.

The Midnight Suns took an early 2-0 lead with runs in the second and third innings, but Kenai took the lead with three runs in the third inning and extended its lead to 5-2 with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Juneau put two runs on the board in the seventh inning to make it 5-4, before Kenai scored two runs of its own in the bottom of the seventh to bring the score to 7-4.

The Midnight Suns rallied with two more runs in the eighth and threatened to tie the game in the ninth with Joe Ayers on third base with one out, but Kenai's pitcher Danny Bookey got a strikeout on Evan Scandling and Bryson Buck grounded to short to end the game.

"We played for the win instead of tie," Ayers said. "Evan hadn't struck out in five games, so rather than go for the squeeze, we had him hit. If Scandling gets on or hits a double, we have the winning run on base with the game tied. The old Casey Stengel saying goes when you're on the road, you play for the win. It was all me, I made the decision."

Bud Baun and Steve Hartrich each had doubles for Juneau.

On Tuesday, Juneau got some payback on Kenai as Evan Scandling had another fine pitching performance, striking out five to earn the complete-game victory.

Scandling also had three hits, including a double, and scored two runs. Joe Ayers, back on the team after attending a basketball camp in California, had a two-hit effort with two RBIs and two runs scored. Buck and Zach Kohan added doubles and everybody in the line-up got at least one hit.

"Evan Scandling is just playing good baseball," Ayers said. "It should have been a shutout. The run he gave up in the sixth came off an error. The big thing is that our 1-2-3 batters are hitting better. (Joe) Ayers, Wolf and Scandling all had great games and are getting on base."

Juneau travels to Homer for games today and Thursday at 6 p.m. before taking day off to travel back to Anchorage where they will play Bartlett, Chugiak and Service over the weekend.

"We're feeling great," Jim Ayers said. "The guys are living on the road, traveling in an old bus and sleeping in a bunkhouse. I'm feeling like these guys are having a great experience."

Twins 7, Midnight Suns 6

Monday's game at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai

Midnight Suns 011 000 220 -- 6 10 4

Twins 003 011 20X -- 7 14 2

Nicholas, Wolf (8) and Baun; Bookey and Evanson. WP -- Bookey. LP -- Nicholas. Sv -- None. 2B -- Midnight Suns: Baun, Hartrich; Twins: D. Newby. 3B -- Midnight Suns: None; Twins: D. Newby. HR -- None.

Midnight Suns 9, Twins 1

Tuesday's game at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai

Midnight Suns 112 001 130 -- 9 12 3

Twins 000 001 000 -- 1 5 4

Scandling and Baun; Burks, Justin (8) and Evanson. WP -- Scandling. LP -- Burks. Sv -- None. 2B -- Midnight Suns: Buck, Kohan, Scandling; Twins: Foster 3B -- None. HR -- None.

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