Juneau's Senior Division (Age 15-16) Little League softball players cleaned up their defense, then cleaned up at the plate Sunday to advance to the finals of the Northwest Division tournament in Vancouver, Wash.
The Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars racked up 18 hits and only two errors as they rolled past Washington 13-6.
Just down the road in Clackamas, Ore., the Juneau Junior Division (age 13-14) softball team had a tougher road as several late errors contributed to a 6-5 loss to Sequim, Wash.
In Fairbanks, the Juneau Major Division (Age 11-12) Little League baseball team was rained out at the state tournament for the second straight day.
In Vancouver, Wash., the Juneau Seniors belted a barrage of hits off the Washington state champs from South Everett. Jordan Johnston, Torie Powers and Nicole Bavard each went 3-for-5, with Powers hitting a double. Hannah Barril, Alycia Cox and Ilea Belcourt added two hits apiece, and each hit a double. Joy Ross hit a double for Juneau, and Ashley Larson blasted a three-run, over-the-fence homer.
Juneau did not score until the top of the third, when the GCLL All-Stars jumped out in front with five runs. Belcourt and Barril hit two-RBI doubles in the frame, while Cox added a one-RBI two-bagger.
In the fourth, Larson hit her home run with Johnston and Powers aboard.
Barril started the game on the mound for Juneau and threw two strikeouts over four innings. Maryott pitched the last three innings and collected five strikeouts. Washington was held to just six hits.
Manager Dennis Powers said the team's defensive performance was a big improvement over Saturday's win against Oregon, when the Seniors committed six errors. Belcourt made some good fielding plays at third base, he said.
The Seniors have two days off, and at 6 p.m. Wednesday they will face the winner of an earlier Oregon-Washington elimination game. If Juneau wins, it advances to the Western Regional tournament in Butte, Mont. If the GCLL All-Stars lose, they'll play an if-necessary game at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The Juneau Juniors jumped out to a 5-1 lead after three innings in Sunday's game against Washington, but the Sequim team chipped away with two runs in the fourth.
Then the GCLL All-Stars fell apart on defense, as errors allowed Washington to tie the game 5-5 in the sixth and then score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Four of Washington's six runs were unearned.
"We just had some serious mental lapses, some bad throws," Juneau manager Steve Frye said. "They didn't beat us - we just mentally lost the game."
Once again, Sammy Roguska led the way on offense for Juneau with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate and two doubles. Andi Doerflinger went 2-for-3. Sasha Frye pitched the first four innings for Juneau, and Doerflinger finished out the game.
Before the late-inning troubles, Juneau players turned two sparkling defensive plays. Roguska made a shoestring catch on a line drive to right field, and threw to Rachelle Miller at second to catch a Washington runner off base. Later on, center fielder Tara Hansen caught a deep fly and relayed it to Miller at second base, and Miller threw to catcher Kayla Janelle to force out a Washington runner at home.
Juneau next plays Parkrose Little League of Portland, Ore., in a losers' bracket game at 6 p.m. today. The winner of that game will move on to play Sequim in the finals - and must beat the Washington squad twice to win the tourney.
"I still think were the better team in the tournament," Steve Frye said of his Juniors squad. "They're just going to have to buckle down and really want it."
The Fairbanks area received more than two inches of rain Sunday, and a flash flood warning was in effect all day. The heavy rain has left playing fields unplayable and compressed the tournament schedule into 2 1/2 days.
The GCLL All-Stars and North Star Little League of Fairbanks are now scheduled to play at 4 p.m. today, with the winner advancing to play Dimond-West of Anchorage at 7 p.m. in the three-team, double-elimination tourney.
After today's two games, the losers' bracket game will take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and the championship game is at 7 p.m. Tuesday. An if-necessary game takes place at 9 a.m. on Wednesday if both teams have one loss after Tuesday night's championship game.