Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior All-Stars are riding an "any team, anywhere" attitude to continue their successful softball season.
Brimming with confidence, the All-Stars thrashed Wheatland, Calif., 6-1, on Saturday in the opener of the Senior Division (Age 15-16) Little League Softball Western Regional tourney in Butte, Mont.
Though road-weary and facing an opponent from California - a traditional softball powerhouse - the Juneau players didn't crack under the pressure.
"They're just not intimidated by any of these teams," Juneau manager Dennis Powers said. "They don't get nervous. They go out to win the game. Our team has confidence."
Saturday's game was the first of a four-game round-robin series in the five-team tournament.
Facing Wheatland, the tourney representative from northern California, Juneau scored all the runs it needed in a three-run second inning.
In the top of the second, Ilea Belcourt and Nicole Bavard hit back-to-back singles, and Hannah Barril loaded the bases when she beat out a sacrifice bunt and was safe at first.
Melissa White singled to knock in the first run, and Torie Powers followed with a two-RBI double - the only extra-base hit of the game for either team.
In the sixth, the All-Stars added a run as Barril reached first on an error, stole second and scored on a single by Katie Damian. Wheatland scored its only run in the bottom of the sixth.
Juneau added two more runs in the seventh as Joy Ross and Belcourt hit singles, and then advanced to second and third on a passed ball. Bavard knocked in Ross on a fielder's choice, and Belcourt scored on Barril single.
Ashley Larson pitched a complete game for Juneau, striking out five batters and allowing eight hits. Danielle Wick took the loss for Wheatland.
On defense, Juneau turned a double play when White, playing second base, tagged out a runner going into second and threw to Ross at first base to force out the batter. Later on, right fielder Jordan Johnston threw out a runner at first on what seemed like a sure base hit.
Dennis Powers said the GCLL All-Stars' infielders - who also included Belcourt and Barril - played outstanding defense.
Temperatures in Butte reached 90 degrees on Saturday - warm by Juneau standards, but cooler than the triple-digit readings Juneau played in during last week's Northwest District tourney in Vancouver, Wash.
Juneau will play tournament host Butte at 10 a.m. ADT today in the second game of the round-robin series. The All-Stars play San Marino, Calif., at noon on Monday then they take on St. George, Utah, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Upon completion of the round-robin, the team with the worst record will be eliminated and the remaining four will be seeded for single-elimination play.
The winner of the region tourney earns a berth at the Senior Softball World Series on Jeffersontown, Ky., on Aug. 10-16.
Audio play-by-play broadcasts of Juneau's region tournament games are being streamed on the Internet. For more information, look on the Web at http://www.golivesports.com and click on "Listen To Today's Games."
GCLL ALL-STARS 6, WHEATLAND, CALIF. 1
Saturday's game from Butte, Mont.
JUNEAU 030 001 2 - 6 12 2
WHEATLAND 000 001 0 - 1 8 9
Juneau - Larson and Bavard. Wheatland - Wick, Daugherty (5) and Lesko. WP - Larson. LP - Wick. Sv - None. 2B - Juneau 1 (Powers 1), Wheatland 0. 3B - None. HR - None.
Juneau Empire ©2013. All Rights Reserved.