The Junior Juniors softball team found itself on the losing end of two defensive classics at the state softball championship Monday and Tuesday at Melvin Park.
The Knik Little League defeated Juneau 1-0 and 6-3 to win the best-of-three state championship series and advance to the Divisional Tournament in Butte, Mont.
Game 1 began Monday but was delayed by rain. The game resumed Tuesday with no score in the fourth inning.
Knik's Amanda Sacks stole home to score the winning run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Teammate Sarah Nueschwander stole second, drawing the throw from home, and Sacks dashed home and beat the throw from second for the game's only score.
Juneau's Ashley Larson pitched a complete game with five strikeouts and one walk. Sadie Smith, Nicole Ward and Kasey Callison combined to pitch the win for Knik.
In Game 2, Sacks' RBI single in the first inning gave Knik a 1-0 lead, but Juneau tied the game in the second after Jessica Grimm drew a walk, stole second base, then third, then slid home on a wild pitch.
Knik took a 3-1 lead on Courtney Waters' two-run double in the fourth. Juneau answered with a run in the fifth when Stephanie Heard scored from third base on a passed ball.
Then with two out in the bottom of the fifth, Danielle Randall hit a two-run single to give Knik a 5-2 lead. Juneau's Rachel Barril hit an RBI double in the sixth to cut the lead to 5-3, but Juneau couldn't close the gap any further.
Heard pitched a complete game for Juneau with three strikeouts and five walks. Smith and Ward combined to pitch the win for Knik.
``Our team just didn't get the breaks,'' Juneau manager Steve Bavard said. ``We hit the ball well, but we just hit it right at them.''
Knik's solid infield of first base Nueschwander, second base Waters, shortstop Sacks, and third base Ward made several big defensive stops.
Knik won the District I tournament with relative ease last week, beating Abbott-O-Rabbit 8-1 in pool play and 4-1 in the final.
``Knik breezed through the Anchorage teams,'' Bavard said. ``I put us at number two in the state. There's nothing wrong with that.''
Majors play today for title
The Juneau Majors (aged 11-12) softball team fell to Knik 10-9 Tuesday night at Melvin Park, tying the best-of-three series with one win each.
The championship game is at 5 p.m today at Melvin Park. The winner advances to the Division I Tournament in Seattle beginning Saturday.
On Monday, Juneau downed Knik 8-4.
Juneau Empire ©2015. All Rights Reserved.