Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau’s Gastineau Channel Little League Majors (10-12 year olds) Softball All-Star team improved each game at the Alaska State Tournament in Eagle River, but lost their third straight contest in a row to Palmer Little League on Saturday, falling 12-10 to end their season with three losses in the best-of-five series.
"As a coaching staff, we are extremely proud of these girls," Juneau manager Kara Lockhart said in an email interview. "With our backs against the wall, win or go home, and the weather making playing conditions less than ideal from start to finish, the girls showed up to do battle with the Palmer team. Our girls showed a lot of heart. They displayed a high degree of fortitude and perseverance in an effort to get a victory and push us to another game and keep our chances alive. To Palmer's credit, they also battled through the weather and adversity to chip away at our lead and end up on top at the end of the game. We wish them well going to Western Regionals."
Juneau trailed 3-0 as they came to bat in the bottom of the first inning but took control of the game as Ryann Oliva singled and worked her way to third and stole home. Cassie Chenoweth walked, Keira Payne was hit by a pitch, Taylor Williams was hit by a pitch and all three would score on steals of home for a 4-3 lead with Brynn Wheeler up to bat. Wheeler would fly out, Riley Morehouse walked, Sadie Lockhart walked and Blythe Lockhart singled to load the bases. With Oliva at the plate, Morehouse stole home and S. Lockhart scored on a wild pitch for 6-3. Oliva walked and Lily Hayes doubled to score B. Lockhart for 7-3.
Palmer picked up two runs in the second inning, but Juneau got the runs back in the bottom half as Payne singled, Williams walked, Payne scored on a passed ball, Wheeler walked and Williams scored on a passed ball for a 10-5 lead.
Palmer scored another two runs in the top of the third and tied the game at 10-10 in the top of the fourth. Palmer scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning to take the 12-10 lead.
Juneau opened the bottom half with a single by Hayes but she was caught stealing second with Chenoweth at the plate. Chenoweth walked and Payne doubled but Williams went down swinging and Wheeler hit a hard ground ball out that ended the game.
Hayes had Juneau’s lone RBI. Hayes and Payne had two hits apiece, Oliva and B. Lockhart one apiece. Payne and Williams scored two runs apiece, Oliva, Chenoweth, Wheeler, Morehouse, S. Lockhart and B. Lockhart one each. Chenoweth earned two walks, Oliva, Williams, Wheeler, Morehouse, S. Lockhart and Alexa Scarano one each.
Wheeler, Morehouse and Oliva stole two bases each, Chenoweth, Payne, Scarano, S. Lockhart and Williams one each.
Williams started in the circle and went three innings, allowing seven hits and eight runs, walking three hitters and striking out seven. Morehouse went three innings in relief, allowing one hit and four runs, walking five and striking out three. Williams faced 21 batters, throwing 83 pitches with 50 strikes. Morehouse faced 14 and threw 56 pitches with 27 strikes.
After Thursday’s 12-1 loss to open state play, Juneau manager Kara Lockhart noted: “Game one didn't go exactly how any of us had envisioned it. We didn't know very much about Palmer prior to this meeting other than we knew they could put runs on the board. We had one very rough defensive inning and our nerves got the best of us. Their pitcher threw hard and her change-up caught us a couple times. They limited us to one hit. The beauty of sports is that every day is a new day and anything can happen.”
Of Friday’s 9-6 loss, manager Kara Lockhart said, “As a coaching staff, we are really proud of the fight the girls put up in this game. Grit and perseverance are developing in them and it says a lot about them individually and as team. Our team was not satisfied with their play the night before. They learned from the experience and made adjustments. They were aggressive at the plate and we strung together some nice hits to put ourselves in a good position, with us up 4-2 going into the fifth inning. Palmer is a team that puts the bat on the ball and they run the bases well. Their hits aren't overpowering (although they did have some well-struck balls to the outfield). Mostly they produce singles and hard-hit grounders and put the pressure on us to make good plays. They came back and tied the game 4-4 in the top of the fifth inning and went ahead 9-4 in the bottom of the sixth. Going into the bottom of the sixth, down five runs, and we continued to battle and had some timely hits from Cassie Chenoweth and Ryann Oliva. From a coaching perspective, a few little things go differently and we walk away with a win last night. I guess that's why they call it a game of inches.”
Juneau’s Minor (8-10 year olds) fell in two games in the Special Games Tournament at Ketchikan.
Juneau lost to Ketchikan White 19-4 with their four runs batted in coming from Katelyn Sulser, Tanelleice Green, Eden Boyden-Collison and Ashlynn Beedle. Porter Love, Cora Morris, Ashlynn Zura and Brooklynn Boyden-Collison scored one run each. Victoria Petrie earned two walks, Love, Trinity Bean, Coralynn Nelson, Morris, Green, E. Boyden-Collison and Beedle one each. Bean, Morris and Zura had one stolen base each.
B. Boyden-Collison started in the circle and allowed eight runs, walked nine batters and struck out two; Sulser allowed three runs and walked two; and Nelson allowed eight runs, walked 10 and struck out four.
In the 23-13 loss to Ketchikan Maroon, the Juneau bats featured two hits from Maisey Mar, and one each from Love, Sulser, Petrie, Morris and Green. Green had three RBI, Mar and E. Boyden-Collison two apiece, Petrie and Beedle one apiece. Bean earned three walks, B. Boyden-Collison, E. Boyden-Collison and Green two each, Mar, Nelson, Morris, Zura and Beedle one each. Morris, Bean, Green and B. Boyden-Collison scored two runs each, Zura, Beedle and E. Boyden-Collison one each. Bean had four stolen bases, Love and Morris three apiece, Beedle, Green and E. Boyden-Collison two each and Sulser one.
Nelson started in the circle and allowed three hits and 13 runs, faced 33 batters, walking 17 and striking out eight. Love faced six batters, allowing five runs, walking five and striking out one, and Zura faced seven batters, allowing six runs and walking seven.