The Juneau Junior baseball squad's season ended Tuesday in a web of double-play trouble.
The Gastineau Channel Little League All-Stars lost 7-0 to Pearl City, Hawaii, in the semifinals of the Western Regional Junior Division (age 13-14) Baseball Tournament in Forest Grove, Ore.
While Juneau managed to get leadoff batters aboard in several innings, the Hawaii squad turned four double plays in the game to end scoring threats.
"You have to give a lot of credit to their pitcher," Juneau coach Ron Wolfe said of the Pearl City team. "Whenever we got someone on, he pitched a double-play ball and his defense got him out of a jam. We couldn't break that. ...
"That's sort of it in a nutshell."
Hawaii will face Arizona - who beat Northern California in the tourney's other semifinal - today in a game to determine the region's representative to the Junior Division World Series later this month in Taylor, Mich.
For Juneau, the season ends after winning the district and state titles, and going 3-1 in pool play at the region tournament.
The game looked promising for Juneau in each of the first three innings. Shawn Ibesate had a leadoff single in the first, Hunter Wolfe was hit by a pitch to lead off the second, and Jon Davis singled to start the top of the third.
But each of those innings saw Hawaii turn a double play to quash Juneau's scoring opportunities. The Pearl City team added its fourth double play in the sixth, after Hunter Wolfe drew a leadoff walk.
Hawaii tacked on three runs in the bottom of the third on a bunt single and a Juneau throwing error, and scored four more in the bottom of the fifth.
"We got into a small-ball, bunt game," Ron Wolfe said. Juneau errors "allowed three runs, if not more."
Joe Kohan pitched the first inning for Juneau, and Buzz Ward came on to pitch the rest of the game.
On defense, Juneau catcher Nick Andrews threw out a couple of Hawaii runners at third base - one in the first inning, and one to end Hawaii's rally in the third.
"Nick made some good pickoffs from home that got us out of some jams," Ron Wolfe said.
Juneau stayed in the same university dorm as the Hawaii team throughout the tournament, and Ron Wolfe said the teams had a friendly rivalry.
"They're a fine group of kids," he said of Hawaii. "Our kids will probably be playing whiffleball with them on the university's lawn tomorrow."
Ron Wolfe said the GCLL All-Stars were good representatives throughout their run - on and off the field.
"I've received compliments wherever we've went on how well our athletes behaved," he said. "They were truly great ambassadors for Juneau."
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