The Juneau Juniors baseball squad used a stellar all-around team effort to make a strong statement Wednesday at their region tourney opener.
Joe Kohan pitched a complete-game two-hitter, Juneau's bats came alive and the team played near-perfect defense as the Gastineau Channel Little League Junior Division (age 13-14) All-Stars beat Cedar American of Utah 16-1 at the Western Region tournament in Forest Grove, Ore. The game was called in the fifth inning on the 10-run mercy rule.
"Every single athlete did exactly what was asked of him," Juneau coach Ron Wolfe said.
In a schedule change, the Juniors' next game will be Friday morning at 10 a.m. ADT against the Idaho's North Boise/Capital Little League. The game will be broadcast on the Internet at www.golivesports.com.
After threatening but failing to plate a run in the bottom of the first, Juneau jumped ahead with eight runs in the second, highlighted by an RBI bunt single by Nick Andrews, a two-RBI double by Kohan, a two-RBI single by Sam Clark and an RBI single by Hunter Wolfe.
Kohan hit an RBI triple to score Buzz Ward to key three more runs in the third inning, which put the All-Stars ahead 11-0.
Utah got its first hit of the game in the top of the fourth, but Kohan maintained control on the mound. He had eight strikeouts in the game, and allowed a single unearned run in the top of the fifth.
"Joe Kohan pitched a marvelous game," Ron Wolfe said. "He was clocked at an 85 m.p.h. fastball, and he threw just 62 pitches."
Kohan was backed up by a strong defense that retired Cedar American in order in each of the first three innings.
Juneau put the game away with five more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Shawn Ibesate and Ward hit RBI singles in the frame.
After Friday's game against Idaho, the GCLL All-Stars will wrap up round-robin play against Washington's Selah National Little League at 7 p.m. ADT Sunday and against Woodcreek Little League of Northern California at 1 p.m. ADT Monday. Both of those games should be broadcast on KJNO-AM 630.
The top two teams in Juneau's pool will face off on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to Wednesday's championship game against the top team from the tourney's other pool.
The winner of the Western Region tournament advances to the Junior Baseball World Series on Aug. 15-21 in Taylor, Mich.