In Tuesday's early semifinal of the Division II Major League All Stars tournament, the second-place Sitka All-Stars hurdled themselves into the championships, blanking the third-seed Ketchikan All-Stars 10-0.
Sitka's Mitchell Board spurred the offense, hitting 3-4 with a two-run dinger in the bottom of the first and a two-run triple in the third. Board's big hits lifted his teammates' spirits and deflated the hopes of a Ketchikan comeback.
"That home run made me feel really good because it's an All Stars big hit," Board said. "It really increased our positive outlook for the rest of the game."
Brian Way took the mound for Sitka and pitched his way to a five-inning game. Way allowed only four hits and a walk while striking out 10 batters, while his teammates recorded seven runs off seven hits from Kable Lervick's outing of two and a third innings.
"I wasn't keeping track, but it sure helps the defense to get those strikeouts," Way said.
After getting rocked in the fist by Board and company, Lervick unraveled again in the third as Sitka scored six runs on three hits. Sitka capitalized on Lervick's strike zone accuracy as Ryan Jarvill jumped on a Lervick offering for his second RBI single of the game.
Jaren Sumawang delivered a two-run double to left-centerfield that ran the score up to 7-0. With just one out in the inning, Lervick was replaced by Colton Paulsen with Sitka's Sumawang and Joey Inman on first and second. Board pounced on a first pitch fastball and tagged it down the first baseline, just beyond the outfielders reach for a two-run triple pushing the score to 9-0 at the end of three.
One inning later, Ketchikan dodged a bullet as Sitka loaded the bases with just one out. Paulsen gave up a single to Ty Davis then walked Matt Peters and Jarvill, then relieved Paulsen with Thomas Hamilton.
Ketchikan brought in an outfielder to secure the infield and Hamilton forced the next hitter into a fielders choice out at home plate. Hamilton and his teammates celebrated with relief as Inman then popped out to end the threat in the fourth.
But Ketchikan went down swinging in the third, fourth and fifth innings as Way struck out seven of the last 10 hitters he faced. Ketchikan went down one, two, three, and then Way ended the game.
After Board connected for single, Way smacked an single, which brought Sitka's bench to their feet and allowed Board to come all the way around from first base to score the winning run.
"Everybody chipped in and really stepped up today, both offensively and defensively," said head coach Jim Way. "Ketchikan put runners on the bases in almost every inning and so we are really happy to be in the finals because it has been a while for us and we are looking forward to a good game tomorrow night."
Juneau West beat Juneau East 19-2 in their semifinal game on Tuesday. For more about the game, see Thursday's Empire.
Today, Ketchikan will play Juneau East at 3 p.m. in a consolation game and Juneau West will play Sitka for the championship at 6 p.m. at Miller Field.
The winner will represent Alaska District 2 at the State Majors Tournament beginning Friday in Anchorage.