Juneau kicked off the Alaska Little League State Softball Tournament on Saturday at Melvin Park with a 12-2 victory over three-time District 1 champs Nunaka Valley in four innings.
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Playing as the away team on the scoreboard, Juneau enjoyed a passionate home-field advantage as the faithful in the stands rooted with passion for the red and black, cheering every play in the field and batter's box regardless of the outcome.
Juneau manager Tate Chapman, who along with Chuck Gordon and Shauna Murray coaches the team, had nothing but good things to say about the players.
"We've got a group of girls that have worked hard and they just really put their hearts into it," Chapman said.
Cassie Anderson led Juneau's bats with a two-run, stand-up triple in the fourth inning.
When asked about Anderson's triple, Chapman said he thought every player on this talented Juneau squad had the potential to make plays.
"That was beautiful," Chapman said of Anderson's hit. "She's another one, I mean there's not a single one of them that doesn't stand out. I couldn't be prouder of them."
Tournament Director Gail Fenumiai said she thought the Juneau players showed a lot of potential, although playing for Juneau-Douglas High School is still a ways away.
"There are a lot of young, talented girls on this majors team," Fenumiai said. "Their pitching is really deep. So they've got quite a few pitchers who can pitch a full game and do a good job. But they've got a long ways to go. They've got another two years before high school."
A well-rounded offensive and defensive effort was highlighted by Krya and Alea Uddipa, who each went 2-for-3. Jennifer Nelson went 3-for-3 on the day with a triple.
Anderson was 1-for-2 with a walk. Peyton Millay walked three times. Kalea Chapman went 1-for-2 with a walk. Marissa White had a base hit while Kyelisa Graham and Jackie Mallinger each recorded hits for Juneau.
Juneau can wrap up the state title at 2 p.m. today at Melvin Park.
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