Juneau and Dimond West split the first two games of the Alaska Little League Junior Baseball best-of-three state championship series in Eagle River.
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Juneau took the first game 9-7 on Tuesday, but Dimond West rallied to win 3-0 on Wednesday. The decisive Game 3 will take place at 6 p.m. today in Eagle River.
"(Tuesday) we came out smoking hot and ready to play," Juneau manager Rod Baker said. "Today was just a 180. We knew it was going to be a battle coming up here, though."
In the second game, Dimond West pitcher Eric Cooper fired a complete-game two-hitter to stymie Juneau's bats.
Keath Flint and Jamie Daniel managed base hits for Juneau.
"He did a good job," Baker said of Cooper. "He had a real slow curve that we couldn't hit."
Dimond West struck for two runs in the second inning and added an insurance run in the sixth.
Juneau got close in the sixth inning, but failed to get a run home after loading the bases.
Aaron Cohen pitched seven strong innings in defeat for Juneau.
"Our pitcher did a good job," Baker said. "He only gave up three runs."
Juneau opened the tournament in resounding fashion by pounding out 15 hits in Tuesday's 9-7 opening win.
Dylan Baker scattered eight hits in seven innings to earn the pitching win.
Eric Sele keyed a five-run second inning for Juneau when he singled home Cohen and Flint. Baker plated Justin Brooks with an RBI bunt single, Daniel singled in Sele and Vinnie Isturis drove home Nick Smith with a sacrifice fly to cap the five-run barrage.
Juneau added two runs in the third inning and two more in the sixth to preserve the victory.
For Juneau, Cohen went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI, Sele went 2-for-4 with two RBIs while Flint added two base hits, two walks and an RBI.
The winners of today's game will represent Alaska in the Western Regional Tournament in Beaverton, Ore. Either Juneau or Dimond West will face Idaho on Tuesday.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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