Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior (ages 15-16) Baseball All-Stars are settling in for an extended stay in Petersburg after beating Ketchikan, 6-4, on Thursday to win the District II title and earn a berth in the state tourney.
"It was an awesome game," manager Bill McCauley said. "You had two teams with championship hearts."
The victory came in the third game of a best-of-three championship series. Juneau won the first game and Ketchikan took the second to set up the deciding match. Kenai and North Pole will join Juneau in the state tournament, which begins tomorrow in Petersburg and lasts through July 25. Juneau has a bye, and will play the Kenai-North Pole winner on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The winner of the state tourney earns a spot in the Northwest Divisional in Missoula, Mont.
McCauley's said the large crowd at Thursday's game was treated to "a good old-fashioned fun baseball game with continuous action, good pitching and a lot of heads-up play."
Ketchikan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run homer by Casey Bass, but Juneau answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by Jordan Davis and an RBI double by Sergio Magallanes.
Ketchikan added a run in the second on a solo home run by Ricky Grams.
In the bottom of the third, Juneau's C.J. Keys was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Jordan Davis grounder to tie the game at three apiece.
Juneau took the lead in the fourth with a pair of runs, including one on an RBI double by Brian Whistler.
The teams each had a run in the sixth - Juneau's came on a solo home run by Chance Millay - to conclude the scoring.
Jordan Gray started the game on the mound for Juneau, allowing three runs - two earned - on four hits in four innings of work. He had two strikeouts and did not allow a walk.
Mark Harmon came into the game in the fifth and pitched three no-hit innings, allowing one unearned run on two walks. He had two strikeouts, including one on four pitches to Ketchikan's lead-off hitter to end the game.
Harmon extended his streak of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to 14.
"He's been awesome on the mound," McCauley said. "He's been dominating this tournament."
Nate Norton pitched a complete game for Ketchikan.
McCauley said it was good to have a day of rest today, but said the team is anxious for the state tourney.
"These kids are chomping at the bit," he said.
In District II Majors (ages 11-12) Little League baseball tourney action from Wrangell on Thursday, Juneau West beat Sitka, 7-0, while Petersburg clipped Juneau East, 3-2.
This morning, Juneau West defeated Haines, 12-0. Juneau East will play Wrangell this evening.
In Thursday's Juneau West game, Joe Kohan pitched six innings of three-hit baseball, with nine strikeouts, to lead Juneau to the win over Sitka.
"Our defense was solid," manager Chris Monagle said. "We made every play that we could in the game. We're just doing a lot of things right."
Juneau West is now 5-0 in the tourney.
Juneau East lost its first game of the tournament to Petersburg on Thursday, and the team's record is now 4-1.
"It was a real strong defensive effort on both sides," manager Jeff Jeans said.
William Nielsen and Shawn Ibesate hit doubles for Juneau East.
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