Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau’s Auke Bay Post 25 ended their American Legion regular season with a 20-9 road win over the North Pole Post 30 Wild on Saturday but have finished just out of state tournament qualification. Instead they will play in the Matson Invitational consolation tournament July 21-26.
“We had some quality wins this season against some quality teams,” Juneau head coach Chris Dillon said. “This final road trip was a little disappointing in that respect as we have competed well at times this season and are a lot better than the final standings indicate. And we have played competitively despite having a limited number of players on the roster, that speaks well to the desire and skill of the players we had playing this season.”
Juneau earned the five-inning run rule win over North Pole with a powerful fourth inning. Coming to the plate in the bottom half of the inning trailing 9-8, Oliver Mendoza singled, Landon Simonson walked and Olin Rawson doubled in Mendoza to tie the score. Simonson scored on a passed ball. Kai Schmidt hit a one-out single scoring Rawson. Christian Nelson bunted and Marcus Underwood singled into left field scoring C. Nelson and Underwood for a 13-9 lead. Kasen Ludeman was hit by a pitch, Mendoza singled to load the bases and Simonson singled to right field and Underwood, Ludeman and Mendoza all scored in the action for a 16-9 lead. Rawson singled, Rory Hayes singled and Simonson and Rawson scored in the action for 18-9. Schmidt walked. With C. Nelson at the plate, both Hayes and C. Nelson scored on the same passed ball for 20-9.
The Juneau defense shut down North Pole in the top of the fifth inning for the win with Schmidt striking out a batter, C. Nelson closing on the mound and fielding a ground ball for a put-out to Simonson and Hayes fielding a ground ball at second and throwing to Simonson for the game clincher.
Juneau’s Rawson and Mendoza both went a perfect 4-4 at the plate against North Pole. Rawson had five runs batted in and three runs scored, and Mendoza scored four runs.
Hayes and Porter Nelson went 2-4 at the plate. Hayes had four RBI and one run scored, and P. Nelson scored one run.
Simonson and Underwood had three RBI apiece, and Ludeman and Schmidt one apiece. Simonson and Schmidt earned two walks apiece, and C. Nelson and Underwood one apiece. Simonson scored four runs, Schmidt three, Ludeman two, C. Nelson and Underwood one apiece.
Rawson started on the mound, going 2.1 innings, allowing four hits and nine runs, walking six batters and striking out three, with 74 pitches thrown, including 34 for strikes. Schmidt went two innings, walking three hitters and striking out four on 42 pitches with 20 strikes. C. Nelson faced two batters on four pitches with four strikes.
South Post 4 leads the state tournament qualifiers, winning their final five games to leap-frog Service Post 28 and Wasilla Post 35 in the National Division standings. Only South and Service qualified for state from the division that saw Auke Bay Post 25 place fourth.
From the American Division, Eagle River, Chugiak Post 33, Dimond Post 21, Bartlett Post 29, Kenai Post 20 and Palmer Post 15 all qualified for the state tournament, which also runs July 21-26.
The state tournament winner advances to American Legion Northwest Regional Aug. 3-7 at Gillette, Wyoming, and the state runner-up plays in the NWCART Aug. 5-9 at Vernal, Utah.
The Auke Bay Post 25 Midnight Suns will remain in Anchorage awaiting the start of the Matson Invite.
“I know this team will continue to give it their all for this final tournament,” Dillon said. “Our coaching staff appreciates the hard work they have showed and how they have mentored our single ‘A’ team as well. The single ‘A’ team is improving a lot at a very young age and they all have amazing attitudes. I’m really hopeful for the future of the program.”
FINAL LEGION AA BASEBALL STANDINGS
(X = State Qualifier)
Team - Points / League / Overall
X-South Post 4 Wolverines - 52 / 12-4 / 22-7
X-Service Post 28 Cougars - 49 / 11-5 / 19-9
Wasilla Post 35 Road Warriors - 40 / 8-8 / 9-13
Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns - 36 / 7-8 / 12-11
West Post 1 Eagles - 28 / 4-12 / 6-22
Fairbanks Post 11 49ers - 24 / 3-12 / 6-15
East Post 34 Thunderbirds - 19 / 1-15 / 5-23
Team - Points / League / Overall
X-Eagle River Wolves - 61 / 15-1 / 23-10
X-Chugiak Post 33 Mustangs - 55 / 13-2 / 16-12
X-Dimond Post 21 Lynx - 49 / 11-5 / 17-11
X-Bartlett Post 29 Golden Bears - 46 / 10-6 / 13-15
X-Kenai Post 20 Twins - 43 / 9-7 / 15-13
X-Palmer Post 15 Pioneers - 43 / 9-7 / 15-11
North Pole Post 30 Wild - 28 / 4-12 / 8-16
Ketchikan Post 3 Kings - 22 / 2-14 / 5-15
Tuesday - Legion All-Star Game @ Mulcahy Stadium.
Thursday July 21-Tuesday July 26 - Legion Postseason Tournaments @ Mulcahy & Bartlett High School.
The Post 25 roster currently includes Rory Hayes (#7), Kasen Ludeman (#6), Oliver Mendoza (#22), Gavin Millard (#8), Porter Nelson (#1), Olin Rawson (#21), Kai Schmidt (#17), Landon Simonson (#15), Christian Nelson (#10) and Marcus Underwood (#55).
Juneau manager Jeremy Ludeman, head coach is Chris Dillon, and assistant coaches are Joe Tompkins and Jack Schmidt.