Nunaka Valley goes up 2-0 in state championship series

Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Glacier Channel Little League 13-14-year-old Juniors All-Star softball team was blanked 4-0 by Nunaka Valley on Wednesday Night at Melvin Park.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The loss dropped Juneau into an 0-2 hole in the best-of-5 game series, and puts them on the brink of elimination from the tournament.

"Our pitching was tremendous tonight." Juneau Mangaer John Boucher said of his team's ability to cut the deficit from Tuesday night's 11-3 loss. "If we play like that tomorrow and the balls drop for us - rather than dropping in their glove - we'll be fine. I'm proud of the girls and the way they played. It was an exciting game."

The game remained scoreless through four innings in part because of dominant pitching from both sides. Nunaka Valley pitchers Sidney Smith and Pauline Tufi combined to hurl seven shutout innings, while Savannah Schauwecker paced Juneau with 4 2-3 innings, fanning nine Nunaka Valley batters and showing some grit by staying in the game after taking a hard line drive off of her shin.

Nunaka Valley did finally bring across a run in the top half of the fifth inning when a Juneau error allowed Smith, who reached on a single, to score from second base.

Two consecutive wild pitches allowed Denali Smith and Gaby Meyerson to score, pushing Nunaka Valley ahead 3-0.

GCLL put two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth after Kayla Balovich singled sharply to center and Gracie Meiners drew a walk, but both were unable to score.

Nunaka Valley tacked on an insurance run in the seventh inning when Taria Page tripled down the right field line, scoring Sydney Smith and extending its lead to 4-0.

"I think it's a big psychological advantage," Nunaka Valley manager Richard Knowles said of having a 2-0 series lead. "The kids can be more relaxed and just play their game. It takes a lot of pressure off our shoulders knowing we have all of our pitchers available for tomorrow."

Juneau will take on Nunaka Valley in Game 3 today at 7 p.m.

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