Juneau advances to Junior Baseball finals

In a must-win game, Juneau All-Stars upend Ketchikan to face Sitka today

Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2006

Behind some key hitting and a gutsy pitching performance from Aaron Cohen, the Juneau All-Stars stayed alive Wednesday with a 10-5 win over Ketchikan in the District 2 Junior Baseball Tournament at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.

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Cohen fanned 11 batters in seven innings as Juneau advanced to face Sitka at 6 p.m. today.

"We came ready to play today," Juneau manager Rod Baker said. "The kids took batting practice today and they were up for the game, definitely."

After falling to Sitka 2-0 on Tuesday, Juneau needed a win to advance to the best-of-three championship round.

Juneau delivered by pounding out seven base hits and being very aggressive on the basepaths. The team never hesitated to steal or take an extra base, putting pressure on Ketchikan's defense.

Juneau stole 10 bases in the win.

"We had baserunners on, we were aggressive and we scored runs," Baker said. "That's the bottom line. We came into this game very aggressive and if we had runners on we were going to run."

Ketchikan opened the game's scoring in the second inning with two runs, but Juneau struck right back to even up the contest.

Eric Sele drove in Cohen and Keath Flint scored off a balk to knot the game at 2-2 after two innings.

Juneau tacked on four more runs in the third as Dylan Baker, Jamie Daniel, Vinnie Isturis and Sele all came around to score.

Juneau then made the score 10-2 with four runs in the fourth inning as Jamie Baker, Daniel, Isturis and Nick Mow touched home. Daniel and Sele delivered RBI hits in the rally.

Spotted an eight-run lead, Cohen made sure it stood.

Cohen mixed up his fastball and change-up effectively to earn the complete game win.

In all, Cohen allowed five hits and walked three in the seven innings.

"He's a big, strong kid," Rod Baker said of Cohen. "I don't know how many pitches he threw tonight, but he's thrown quite a few full games this year. He was up for it."

Despite falling behind 10-2, Ketchikan gamely fought back.

Ketchikan struck for three runs in the fifth as Pat Forrester delivered an RBI double to spark the rally.

Relief pitcher Ryan Chappel entered the game midway through the fourth inning and shut Juneau's lineup out the rest of the way. Chappel yielded just one single and struck out three batters in three innings of relief.

For Juneau, Daniel went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Isturis scored twice while Flint singled, scored and drove in a run.

Also in the win, Justin Brooks went 2-for-2.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com

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