Juneau's American Legion Post 25 Midnight Suns blew a lead to Service in a 7-6 loss on Sunday in Anchorage, but bounced back to beat Fairbanks 5-4 in 11 innings Tuesday in Fairbanks.
Juneau made use of some trickery to score the game's winning run against District II foe Fairbanks.
With two outs in the top of the 11th inning, Juneau's C.J. Corso drew a base on balls and the next batter, Joe Ayers singled to advance Corso to third. The Midnight Suns then implemented their "Bear Pickle" where Ayers tried to almost get picked off in an attempt to lure the Fairbanks players' attention away from Corso on third, who breaks for the plate at the right moment.
"The Fairbanks pitcher made a pick-off move and Joe (Ayers) pretended to stumble," Midnight Suns coach Jim Ayers said. "The pitcher ran towards Joe, but Joe stayed in the pickle and C.J. went home. They were sure they had Joe."
Corso's run made it 5-4 and a solid pitching performance in the bottom of the 11th by Lopaka Pavitt, retiring the side 1-2-3, sealed Juneau's win.
Fairbanks took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning off Juneau starting pitcher Evan Scandling. Scandling walk the first batter, surrendered a double to Allen Eddy, then Kyle Hatch hit a three-run homer.
"Evan just hung one out there and the guy nailed it," Midnight Suns coach Bruce Scandling said. "He did great once he started getting his curve down. He settled down and went seven more innings without giving up a run."
Juneau's Bud Baun scored on a single by Corso in the third and tied the game in the sixth on a double by Bryson Buck that scored Ayers and Scandling. Both teams added runs in the eighth to make it 4-4.
In the loss to Service, Juneau held a 6-5 lead halfway through the seventh inning, but a close play at the plate on the game's final play gave Service the 7-6 win.
After Service tied the game at 6-6, Service's Paul Mede stood on third representing the winning run. Service's Mike Trumaine hit a flyball to right that was handled easily by Buck.
Mede tagged and streaked for home as Buck threw a strike to Baun who made the catch while blocking the plate, but the umpires called Mede safe to end the game.
"It was a tough loss, but it proved we can play with Service," Bruce Scandling said. "The big teams in District I are Dimond, East, Bartlett and Service and we beat three of those teams and we should have beat Service."
With the split with Service and Fairbanks, the Midnight Suns record moves to 16-11 overall and 9-4 against Alaska's American Legion teams.
Juneau also earned three points in the District II point standings with the win against Fairbanks and now has 17 points on the season. One more win will clinch the No. 1 seed and first-round bye in the district tournament beginning Saturday in Wasilla and automatically qualify them for the state tournament.
Midnight Suns 5, Fairbanks 4
Tuesday's game at Arco Field
Midnight Suns 001 002 010 01 -- 5 9 2
Fairbanks 300 000 010 00 -- 4 8 0
Scandling, Pavitt (8) and Baun; Coldiron, Wilson (10) and Milliken. WP -- Pavitt. LP -- Wilson. 2B -- Midnight Suns: Baun, Buck. Fairbanks: Eddy. 3B -- None. HR -- Midnight Suns: None. Fairbanks: Hatch.
Service 7, Midnight Suns 6
Sunday's game at Kosinksi Fields
Midnight Suns 000 150 0 -- 6 8 1
Service 301 001 2 -- 7 13 1
Kohan, Pavitt (4), Nicholas (6), Scandling (7) and Baun; Ennis, Rider (5) and McGinnis. WP -- Rider. LP -- Scandling. 2B -- Midnight Suns: Hartrich 2, Kohan. Service: None. 3B -- Midnight Suns: None. Service: Sterling. HR -- None.
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