Joe Kohan pitched a no-hitter and helped his cause with a two-run homer as Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars beat Knik 13-1 to open the best-of-three Alaska State Junior Division (age 13-14) Little League Baseball Tournament in Wrangell.
Geoff Davis and Shawn Ibesate also smacked home runs for Juneau against Knik, of Eagle River-Chugiak. Ibesate's three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth ended the game on the 10-run rule.
"They just teed off," Juneau manager Norm Staton said of his batters, who tallied 15 hits. "It was unbelievable hitting. Shock and awe" to Knik.
And Knik never had a chance to get its offense going against Kohan. The Eagle River squad managed just one unearned run when Juneau fielders committed a couple of errors.
"Joe Kohan was in total control," Staton said. "He had eight strikeouts in the no-hitter."
Juneau took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, sparked by Sam Clark's two-RBI double down the left-field line.
In the bottom of the second, Ibesate led off with a double - his second of the game - and Buzz Ward singled. Kohan drove in Ibesate with a single, and Hunter Wolfe's fly ball scored Ward.
That set up Davis' two-run homer to put Juneau up 7-0.
Kohan hit his home run in the bottom of the third, and Juneau threatened to end the game in the bottom of the fifth, when the 10-run rule takes effect.
Kohan hit an RBI double to score Ibesate and make the score 10-1 Juneau, but the All-Stars could not plate another runner in the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Ibesate ended the game in convincing fashion with his homer.
Ibesate finished the game 4-for-5, Kohan went 3-for-4 and Clark went 3-for-3.
Juneau and Knik will face off again today at 6 p.m. in the second game of the series. If Juneau wins, they will claim the state title.
Staton said the team - while enjoying its time and the hospitality in Wrangell - is anxious to move on after more than a week in town, starting with the District 2 tourney. If the All-Stars win today, they may be able to catch a ferry back to Juneau before heading to the regional tournament in Forest Grove, Ore.
"The boys are just jazzed," Staton said. "If we win tomorrow, we get to come home."
If Juneau loses on Tuesday, they'll play an if-necessary game on Wednesday.
Photos from the Juneau Juniors' District 2 championship-game win over Ketchikan last Sunday can be found on Page B4.
At the Alaska Major Division (age 11-12) tourney Tuesday in Anchorage, Dimond-West of Anchorage shut out Sitka 7-0 to claim the state title.
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