The Alaska State Little League Major Baseball Tournament will come down to one final game for the championship.
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Juneau West of the Gastineau Channel Little League and four-time defending champion Dimond-West of Anchorage will play Game 3 of their best-of-three series at 2 p.m. today in Petersburg.
Juneau West won Game 1 on Friday 3-1, while Dimond-West got a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth inning from Matt Ilalio to beat Juneau-West 2-0 in Game 2 on Saturday.
Saturday's contest turned out to be a tight pitcher's duel between Juneau West's Ryan Kelly and Dimond-West's Ilalio.
Kelly pitched a fantastic game in defeat. He struck out eight batters, allowed three hits and had just one walk over six innings.
Kelly's counterpart, Ilalio, fanned 11 batters, yielded four hits and walked none in six innings to end Juneau West's nine-game winning streak.
Juneau West threatened twice to score during the game. The team stranded a runner on third in the fourth inning. With two outs in the sixth, Jackson Lehnhart and Kelly hit back-to-back singles but Dimond-West stood firm to preserve the shutout.
Kyle Gould had a single in defeat while Kelly went 2-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt.
In Friday's series opener, Juneau West came back from a one-run deficit to top the four-time state champs.
Lehnhart struck out eight batters and allowed two hits in the win. He also went 2-for-3 with an RBI single.
Kyle Gould doubled and scored, Lehnhart scored on a passed ball and Kelly singled and scored off Christian Gould's hit in the bottom of the fifth Friday.
Dimond-West scored its lone run in the first inning.
Today's winner advances to the Northwest Region Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif. The winner of that tournament moves on to the nationally-televised Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Last year, Dimond-West came within one out of becoming the first Alaska team to advance to the Little League World Series. Dimond-West fell to Beaverton, Ore., 5-4 in seven innings in the final.
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or email@example.com.
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