Defense and a hot hitter put Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Junior All-Stars into the State Junior (age 13-14) Little League Baseball championship game.
Juneau shut out Abbott-O-Rabbit 5-0 in Anchorage Saturday as Jon Andrew Malacas needed just 77 pitches over the seven-inning game to earn the shutout and Erik Scholl went 4-for-4 with four RBIs.
The All-Stars are off today, and will play the winner of today's Eielson vs. Abbott-O-Rabbit game for the state title at 7 p.m. on Monday. KINY 800 AM will broadcast the game. Should Juneau lose, an if-necessary game will be played on Tuesday.
A-O-R loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, but Juneau turned a 1-2-3 double play (pitcher to catcher to first base) to get out of the jam.
``That was looking rough,'' Juneau manager Larry Neal said. ``To get out of a bases loaded jam like that, I feel that double play played a huge part in our success today.''
Juneau's defense turned two other double plays to stave off A-O-R rallies.
Scholl got Juneau rolling with a two-out, two-run double in the second inning to score Eric Neal and Brian Vinson. Scholl knocked in two runs with a two-out single in the seventh for some insurance runs.
C.J. Keys went 2-for-4 and scored a run in the fifth inning for Juneau. The shutout was the second tournament shutout in the past week-and-a-half for Malacas.
Pitcher Rob Lindsay kept Juneau West's season alive with a one-hitter in a 11-1 victory over Prince of Wales at the District 2 Little League Tournament in Craig Saturday.
The game went 4 1/2 innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
It was Juneau West's second straight must-win game in losers' bracket play; on Friday it pounded Wrangell 12-1 after 3 1/2 innings.
Juneau the loser of Saturday's Ketchikan-Sitka game at 5 p.m. today. The winner advances to Monday's championship game.
On Friday, Juneau East was eliminated after suffering a 6-3 upset loss to Prince of Wales.
Blaine Shaisnikoff and closer Zach Heppner combined to pitch a shutout as Juneau blanked Petersburg 6-0 Friday at the District 2 Little League Tournament in Petersburg.
Heppner worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, while Shaisnikoff worked out of one in the second to preserve the shut out.
In the fifth, Petersburg loaded the bases with one out, then hit a bullet down third-base line. Shaisnikoff, who moved to third base after pitching the first three innings, fielded the ball cleanly, stepped on third for the second out then gunned the ball to Collin Monagle at first for a game-ending double play, preserving the shutout.
``The score wasn't indicative of the game. It could have been a lot closer game. You take away the inside-the-park home run and if Petersburg scores the couple of times they had the bases loaded and it could have been a much tighter game,'' Juneau head coach Larry Toth said.
Juneau scored two runs in the first on a Collin Monagle triple, then Joseph Kohan hit a three-run inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the second to make it 5-0. Shawn Ibesate drove in a run with a groundout in the fourth.
Juneau meets Petersburg in the championship at 3 p.m. today. Petersburg advanced to the title game after defeating Ketchikan 6-3 on Saturday, while Juneau had the day off. An if-necessary game will be played at noon on Monday.
Juneau hosts state softballJuneau's Gastineau Channel Little League will host the state Major League and Junior League softball tournaments that both open today at Melvin park.
In both tournaments, Juneau will play a best two-games-out-of-three series against Knik Little League of Chugiak-Eagle River. Opening ceremonies are at 2 p.m. today, with the majors game at 3 p.m. and the juniors at 5 p.m.
The tournament continues Monday with the majors at 5 p.m. and the juniors at 7 p.m. If-necessary games will take place on Tuesday with majors at 5 p.m. and juniors at 7 p.m.