For one inning Monday, it looked like Juneau and Wrangell were headed to another double-barreled slugfest in the District 2 Major Division (Age 11-12) Little League Baseball Tournament in Ketchikan.
But from the second inning on, Juneau kept firing as Wrangell's bats fell silent, and the Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars ran away with a 13-2 win in four innings to reach today's championship game.
Juneau, which is now 7-0 in the tournament, will play Ketchikan for the district crown at 5:30 p.m. today.
Last Wednesday, Juneau had to rally to beat Wrangell 11-7 in the round-robin portion of the tournament - raising concerns going into Monday's game.
"We were a little nervous," Juneau coach Chris Monagle said. "This team is dangerous."
Each team scored a pair of runs in the first inning Monday, with Juneau's scores coming off RBI singles from Geoffrey Craig and Jacob Hotch.
The GCLL All-Stars broke things open with five runs in the second inning. After Corey Mahar walked and Jon Davis was hit by a pitch, Collin Monagle got all of an inside pitch and pulled a line-drive, three-run homer over the left-field fence.
"There was a lot of pressure off us at that point," Chris Monagle said of getting the 5-2 lead. "Then the doors just opened up."
Dylan Kolvig added a two-RBI single to close out the second-inning scoring.
Juneau proceeded to tack on five more runs in the third inning. Sean Bavard and Davis walked to lead off the inning, and both came home on a double by Monagle. Craig had an RBI single, and Hotch and pinch hitter Aaron Cohen added RBI doubles in the frame. Juneau added one more run in the top of the fourth.
Bavard pitched all four innings for Juneau, allowing just two walks and three hits while striking out five. Chris Monagle said Bavard used a nice mix of his fastball and curveball to throw off the Wrangell batters.
Juneau's Dylan Baker made some nice defensive plays while filling in at second base for Mahar, who left the game after being hit by a pitch. Chris Monagle said three Juneau batters got hit in the game; Mahar was not seriously hurt.
In Monday's other semifinal game, Ketchikan rallied in the sixth inning for a 5-4 win over Sitka.
Junior Division Softball
Sammy Roguska hit two triples as Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars successfully opened up the defense of their Alaska State Junior Division (Age 13-14) Little League Softball Championship with a 7-3 victory over Abbott-O-Rabbit on Monday at Anchorage's A-O-R Fields.
Roguska drove in three runs and scored twice to lead Juneau, which won the state Junior Division title last year. Juneau trailed 3-1 in the third inning when Roguska hit her first triple, and that got her team's offense going.
Sasha Frye doubled and scored two runs, while second baseman Carrie Laliberte scored a run and played outstanding defense.
Juneau used three pitchers in the game, starting with Madison Massey for two innings, then Andi Doerflinger relieved for three innings and Frye pitched the last two innings to close out the victory.
Juneau and Abbott-O-Rabbit play again at 6 p.m. tonight, with an if-necessary game on Wednesday. The winner of the best-of-three championship series heads to Portland, Ore., this weekend for the Western Division tournament.