Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars trounced Kenai 15-2 in a game called five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule on Tuesday to win the state Senior Division (age 15-16) Little League baseball tournament in Petersburg.
In the District II Majors (age 11-12) baseball tourney play on Tuesday in Wrangell, Juneau East defeated Juneau West 9-3 to earn a spot in the state tournament starting on Friday in Wrangell.
In Tuesday's Seniors game, the GCLL All-Stars jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the first inning, as Juneau sent 15 batters to the plate and collected eight hits. Leading the way for Juneau in the inning were RBI singles by Sergio Magallanes, C.J. Keys and Jordan Davis; a two-RBI single by Erik Scholl; and a two-RBI double by Ryan Gorle.
Kenai answered with two runs in the bottom of the first, but then Juneau starting pitcher Sam Muse settled down for the rest of the game and allowed just two hits and no runs in the last four innings. Muse struck out nine Kenai batters in his complete-game performance.
In the top of the second, Juneau added to its lead with a grand slam home run by Davis, and Scholl hit a solo home run in the top of the third.
In the fourth, Keys - who was hit by a pitch in the second inning - was nearly hit again. He answered by belting a the next pitch over the center field fence to make it 14-2 in favor of Juneau.
Scholl concluded Juneau's scoring in the fifth. He was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Kenai throwing error.
Offensive leaders for Juneau were Keys, who went 3-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored; Davis, who hit 2-for-2 with a home run, five RBIs and two runs scored; and Scholl, who finished 2-for-2 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored.
On defense, highlights included Magallanes "stealing" a Kenai home run by reaching over the outfield fence to make a catch and Keys making a back-handed catch in center field for the final out.
Juneau will advance to play in the Northwest Division tournament in Missoula, Mont., starting on Saturday.
In Tuesday's Majors game, Juneau West jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Juneau East scored one run in the second, and the game remained 3-1 until the top of the fifth.
In the fifth, Juneau East broke the game open with eight runs. East manager Jeff Jeans reported that after Bubba Larson was hit by a pitch, pinch runner Colton Baker did some excellent base-running to get the inning off to a good start.
East picked up seven hits in the inning, capped by Dylan Listberger's two-run homer - his first-ever in Majors play.
East pitcher Shawn Ibesate settled down after the first inning and shut down Juneau West for the rest of the game.
There were two delays in the game during the fifth inning due to rules questions. The first was whether or not players can high-five a teammate who has hit a homer before that player has crossed home plate, and the officials ruled they could.
The second question was whether or not a home run can be nullified is the team on offense does not have one or both base coaches on the field. The officials ruled it can not.
Juneau East will face District I champion Eagle River in the state tournament starting on Friday. District III champion Eielson is not going to the tournament because they do not have the funds to cover travel expenses.
The state winner will advance to the Regional tournament in San Bernardino, Calif., starting Aug. 3.
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