Earlier in this year's District 2 Major Division (Age 11-12) Little League Baseball Tournament in Ketchikan, Juneau manager Chris Monagle watched the hometown team throw curveball after curveball and throw off his batters.
So prior to Tuesday's tourney title game between Ketchikan and Juneau, Monagle spent two hours of batting practice bombarding his players with curveballs - and it paid off.
The Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars hit everything the opposing pitchers sent their way, romping to a 12-0 victory in a game called after four innings on the 10-run mercy rule.
With the win, Juneau earned a berth in the state tournament in Fairbanks.
"We went out a couple hours early and threw nothing but curveballs today (in practice), and we were just stinging it today (in the game)," Monagle said. "Everyone was crushing the ball."
"We were ready for them," Juneau player Corey Mahar said.
Juneau was equally impressive on the other side of the ball, as Collin Monagle pitched a complete game no-hitter. The only baserunner Monagle allowed was a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, and he struck out three Ketchikan batters.
Collin Monagle said he was a little nervous before the game, but he channeled those nerves into his pitching performance and gained confidence from the first pitch on. He used mainly fastballs to down the Ketchikan batters.
"(Collin) was in a groove, and our defense stepped up," Chris Monagle said, noting some excellent fielding work by Aaron Cohen and Sean Bavard.
"We just played good and we didn't make any errors," Bavard said.
After Mahar scored in the first and Dylan Kolvig rounded the bases in the second, Juneau broke things open with five straight hits en route to a 10-run third inning. Sean Bavard, Jon Davis, Collin Monagle, Geoffrey Craig and Jacob Hotch had the string of hits to open the inning and put Juneau up 5-0 before the first out of the inning.
Craig, Cohen and Bavard each had 2 RBIs in the third inning; Bavard, Davis and Collin Monagle finished 2-for-3 in the game.
"It was a really good effort by the entire team," Chris Monagle said. "Everybody contributed."
Juneau moves on to play in the state tournament in Fairbanks. That tourney starts on Saturday, but Juneau has a bye and will not open play until Sunday, Chris Monagle said.
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