Ashley Larson threw a complete game and homered in the seventh inning to lead Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior All-Stars to a 4-2 victory over San Marino, Calif., during round-robin play Monday at the Western Regional Senior (age 15-16) Little League Softball Tournament in Butte, Mont.
Larson pitched her second complete game of the tournament, allowing seven singles and no walks while striking out three batters. In the top of the seventh inning she hit a solo home run to deep center field to give Juneau an insurance run.
Juneau took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as lead-off hitter Jordan Johnston singled and Torie Powers was hit by a pitch. Larson reached on a fielder's choice that erased Johnston at third. Stephanie Smathers hit an RBI double to score Powers, and Ilea Belcourt followed with another RBI double to score Larson.
San Marino answered with a run in the second inning, but Juneau center fielder Alycia Cox saved the lead for Juneau when she threw out a second runner at home trying to score on the play.
The score stayed 2-1 until the seventh inning, with Juneau's defense escaping jams with inning-ending double plays in the first, fourth and fifth innings.
While there was no scoring during the middle part of the game, there were some fireworks. San Marino relief pitcher Becca Clark was ejected from the game in the sixth inning when Larson struck her out and Clark argued the call.
Juneau added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning, as Johnston reached on a one-out single and Powers sacrifice bunted her to second base. Johnston continued to third on the play and San Marino's first baseman overthrew the third baseman, so Johnston scored on the bunt. Larson followed with her homer to make it 4-1. San Marino scored once in the bottom of the seventh, but Larson ended the threat.
"It was some good base-running by Jordan," Juneau coach Dennis Powers said. "She headed to third and saw the ball get loose, so she came home."
Johnston also hit a double as she went 3-for-44 with a run. Smathers and Belcourt both went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI each. Larson went 1-for-3 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored, while Torie Powers scored a run.
Torie Powers, who plays second base, was injured in the fifth inning when she was covering first base on a bunt and she collided with San Marino's Steph Shallowford.
Dennis Powers said his daughter, who was already playing with a pulled groin, was fine and expects to play today.
"She's fine," he said. "She's a gamer."
Monday's victory means all five teams in the tournament have at least one loss heading into today's last round of pool play.
Juneau plays St. George, Utah, at 1:30 p.m. ADT, and the GCLL All-Stars need a victory to insure themselves one of the two spots in Wednesday's 11 a.m. ADT championship game.
Juneau coach Dennis Powers said it's unlikely his team will make the final if the GCLL All-Stars lose today.
The tie-breakers are head-to-head games followed by defensive runs allowed and point differential.
If Juneau (2-1) finishes in a multiple-team tie at 2-2, that means it would lose the head-to-head tie-breaker to St. George (pending today's result) and host Butte, which beat Juneau 8-5 on Sunday.
The eight runs allowed in Sunday's loss hurt Juneau in the defensive runs allowed and point differential tie-breakers.
"We had a long talk last night, and we (the coaches) told them (the players) they had one bad inning and they just need to refocus," Powers said about Sunday's loss. "We've got to win tomorrow. If we lose to St. George, we can't get in. Our destiny's in our hands."
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."
JUNEAU'S GCLL ALL-STARS 4,
SAN MARINO, CALIF. 2
Monday's game from Butte, Mont.
JUNEAU 200 000 2 - 4 7 1
SAN MARINO 010 000 1 - 2 7 2
Juneau - Larson and Bavard. San Marino - Smith, Handayan (3), Clark (6), Smith (7) and Stone. WP - Larson. LP - Smith. Sv - None. 2B - Juneau 3 (Johnston 1, Belcourt 1, Smathers 1), San Marino 0. 3B - None. HR - Juneau 1 (Larson 1), San Marino 0.
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