The pitchers took a walk on the wild side Sunday and the loss of control proved costly for Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior All-Stars.
The uncharacteristic walkfest helped Juneau lose for the first time in the Western Regional Senior (age 15-16) Little League Softball Tournament, as the GCLL All-Stars outhit the tournament host Butte All-Stars but still lost 8-5 on Sunday in Butte, Mont. Both teams have 1-1 records in the round-robin portion of the five-team tournament.
"We had five runs, 12 hits and no errors and they had eight runs on five hits, eight walks and three errors," Juneau coach Dennis Powers said. "That gives you an idea why we lost. We outhit them, but we walked too many of their runners, and we made some key errors that led to runs."
Juneau starter Hannah Barril, who rarely walks more than one or two hitters a game, pitched four innings and allowed five walks with three strikeouts. Alicia Maryott pitched into the sixth inning, when she was relieved by Torie Powers. Those two pitchers combined for three walks and one strikeout.
"Our pitching struggled," Dennis Powers said. "Hannah doesn't walk five batters in a game like that."
The Montana Standard reported that Juneau catcher Nicole Bavard didn't allow a passed ball and threw her body around in an effort to stop some of the errant pitches. But Juneau's three pitchers combined for five wild pitches and "almost every wild pitch was one that was two to three feet above her outstretched glove before it slammed off the backstop." Bavard also threw out a runner trying to steal second base.
Despite the unaccustomed wildness, Juneau took a 4-3 lead into the sixth inning. But that inning featured three big errors that led to Juneau's loss and one big bump on the head that sent Dennis Powers to the hospital for seven staples. Powers, who stands about 6-foot-1, bumped his head on an overhead beam in the dugout while reacting to an wild throw by left fielder Ashley Larson.
"The way these dugouts are built, I can't go into the dugout without ducking," Powers said. "I normally stand in the doorway to call plays. But I jumped up when Ashley made that throw and whacked my head on a 4x6 beam. It didn't hurt, it was just bloody."
The injury meant Powers wasn't around in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Juneau loaded the bases but couldn't push across the game-tying runs. In the inning, Larson singled and took second base when Ilea Belcourt grounded to second for the second out of the inning. Bavard walked and Barril walked to load the bases, but Alycia Cox's drive to left centerfield ended up in the glove of a Butte outfielder to end the game.
Lead-off hitter Jordan Johnston went 3-for-4 with a run scored to lead Juneau's offense, while Alicia Maryott went 1-for-1. Larson was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run; Stephanie Smathers went 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run; Bavard was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run; Melissa White was 2-for-2 with an RBI; Katie Damian had an RBI and Barril scored a run.
Thunderstorms late Sunday postponed two games and forced a late-night meeting to reschedule the rest of the tournament. The rescheduling was complicated because the Junior Division regional tournament is in Butte and the two tournaments share the same field.
Juneau has two round-robin games left - at noon ADT today against San Marino, Calif., and at 1:30 p.m. ADT on Tuesday against St. George, Utah. Powers said he thinks San Marino is the toughest team in the tournament based on the only game it's played so far.
The top two teams will advance into Wednesday's 11 a.m. ADT championship game. Because of the rain, the tournament changed its title-game format from a best-of-three championship series to a single winner-take-all game.
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."
BUTTE, MONT. 8, JUNEAUS GCLL ALL-STARS 5
Sundays game from Butte, Mont.
BUTTE 100 025 0 - 8 5 0
JUNEAU 200 101 0 - 5 12 3
Butte - Walter, Martin (5) and Hill. Juneau - Barril, Maryott (5), Powers (6) and Bavard. WP - Martin. LP - Maryott. Sv - None. 2B Butte 1 (Maldonado 1), Juneau 2 (Larson 1, Smathers 1). 3B - None. HR - None.