Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior Division (age 15-16) All-Stars are one win away from advancing to the Northwest Division tournament after beating Kenai 17-11 Monday at the state tourney in Petersburg.
Juneau is now 1-0 in the double-elimination tourney, while Kenai fell to 2-1. The two teams will face each other again today at 5 p.m. North Pole, the other team in the state tourney, was eliminated Monday with its second loss to Kenai. The Northwest Division tournament is in Missoula, Mont.
On Monday, with the game knotted at one run apiece, Juneau batters exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the second inning, on six hits and two Kenai errors. The GCLL All-Stars sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning, led by Chance Millay's three-run homer.
After Juneau added three more runs in the bottom of the third, Kenai rallied with a pair of successful innings.
In the top of the fourth, Kenai scored four runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter. In the fifth inning, Kenai added five more runs, including a home run by pitcher Norman Dedrick. Charlie Moline came on to pitch for Juneau in relief of starting pitcher Mark Harmon and ended the Kenai rally by retiring the next three batters.
With the score 12-10 in Juneau's favor heading into the bottom of the fifth, Juneau added a couple of insurance runs on a two-run homer by Erik Scholl over the left field fence.
In the top of the sixth, Moline continued to shine on the mound, striking out the first two batters of the inning. After a Kenai player reached first on an error, Millay, playing catcher, easily picked him off at second base on a steal attempt to end the inning.
Juneau scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth on four hits and a Kenai error. In the top of the seventh, Kenai pinch hitter Shawn Isaacs hit a one-out solo home run. Moline struck out the last two batters to end the game.
Moline faced 10 batters in three innings of work to pick up the save, allowing just one hit while striking out six.
On offense, Juneau was led by 2-for-5 hitting performances from Scholl and Millay, including their home runs. Scholl scored three runs in the game. Brian Whistler and Eric Neal went 2-for-4 for Juneau. Juneau had a total of 15 hits in the game to Kenai's seven.
Juneau manager Bill McCauley said his team also turned some excellent defensive plays in the game.
In the District II Majors (age 11-12) baseball tourney in Wrangell on Monday, Juneau East beat Petersburg 5-0 and Juneau West beat Sitka 9-3 to set up an all-Juneau final. The two teams meet tonight at 6 p.m., with the victor advancing to the state tourney, which starts on Friday in Wrangell.
East pitcher Zach Heppner pitched a complete-game shutout, and added a triple on offense. William Nielsen also hit a triple, Shawn Ibesate had a double and Nick Andrews went 2-for-2 for Juneau. Juneau East had 13 hits in the game to just two for Petersburg.
West and Sitka were locked in a 0-0 pitchers' duel until the third inning, when Juneau broke open the game with five runs. Shane Rud added a three-run homer in the fourth to make it 8-0 in favor of Juneau. Joe Kohan pitched a complete game for West.
In the state Senior Division softball tournament in Anchorage, Juneau's GCLL All-Stars lost to Abbott-O-Rabbit 2-1 on Monday to knot their best-of-three series at one game apiece. The third and deciding game will be played tonight. The winner of tonight's game at A-O-R Fields advances to the Northwest Division tournament that starts Saturday in Oak Harbor, Wash.
Aboott-O-Rabbit scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a couple of Juneau errors and a double by Krystal Lunda to win the game.
Juneau managed just two hits in the game - a lead-off double by Jordan Johnston and a fifth-inning triple by Ashley Larson - as Abbott-O-Rabbit's Heather Lyons dominated from the mound.
Coach Steve Bavard reported that Larson pitched four scoreless innings, and Melissa White made three outstanding defensive plays at second base.