Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau Post 25 split their Alaska Legion Baseball series with division rival Dimond Post 21 at Adair Kennedy Field over the weekend as they chase a state tournament berth. Dimond won 6-3 on Friday and Juneau won 4-2 in nine innings on Saturday.
On Friday Isaiah Nelson led Juneau bats, going 3-4 at the plate and scoring one run. Chase Foster, Brock McCormick and Austin McCurley had one hit each. McCormick had two RBI. Foster and McCurley scored one run each. Christian Ludeman drew three walks, Foster two, Olin Rawson and McCurley one apiece.
Ludeman continues to be one of the most patience players in the league when at the plate, drawing at least one walk per game.
“For the first pitch I always get a curveball most likely,” Ludeman said. “It’s going to be a first pitch curve. If it’s high I try not to go for it. If it’s low my mindset is attack. Late in the count I shorten up my swing. It’s going to be an outside pitch more than likely so I try to go “Oppo” (opposite field) with it.”
Ludeman said the team learned not to take opposites for granted.
“We feel pretty confidant but they came ready to play yesterday and we didn’t have the bats yesterday,” he said. “We didn’t have them much today either but we just have to come ready.”
Isaiah Nelson started and went five innings, allowing seven hits and six runs, striking out three and walking one. Kai Schmidt relieved for two innings, allowed one hit and walked one.
Dimond’s Garrett Lick threw five innings, allowed four hits, three runs, struck out seven and walked seven. Rhino Henrickson relieved for two innings and allowed two hits and struck out three.
Logan Sweet led Dimond with two RBI. Shane Stephan and Henrickson led with two hits apiece. Miah Eneix and Henrickson scored two runs apiece.
Juneau came back to win a 9-inning thriller Saturday 4-2.
Foster hit a 3-2 pitch for a double in the top of the ninth to score Garrison Luben to break a 2-2 tie and Isaiah Nelson hit a sacrifice fly to score Porter Nelson.
Rawson started on the mound and went 6.1 innings, allowed five hits and two runs, struck out five and walked three. McCormick relieved for 2.2 innings, allowed one hit, struck out two and walked two.
Foster, I. Nelson and McCurley had one RBI each. P. Nelson had two hits, Foster, McCormick and McCurley one each. McCormick, Luben, P. Nelson and Garrett Bryant scored one run each.
Porter Nelson snared a long fly ball at the center field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning which kept Dimond from scoring more than two runs.
“I saw it coming and thought it was gone,” Nelson said. “Everyone else thought it was gone. I was just running to the fence and I guess it kind of carried a bit at the end too. And there were runners on so I was excited. They are a pretty good team. We wanted that first one and it was a bummer we couldn’t get it. We had some errors in that came but it is what it is. We came back and won this one. I like how we can come in the clutch. We can be dead all game but when it matters that is when we come in and play. It shouldn’t be like that but that’s how it is.”
Dimond’s Stephan and Garrett Lick had one RBI apiece. Stephan had three hits. Peyton Montagna and Alex Wright scored one run apiece. Luke Smith threw seven innings, allowed three hits, two runs, struck out four and walked five; Eneix relieved for two innings, allowed two hits, two runs, struck out two and walked three.
“They have to learn that you never give up,” Juneau co-coach Joe Tompkins said. “Teams are always going to come and try to put you out. That’s what happens when you are a Southeast team to an up north team. So you have to be prepared. Dimond always comes well prepared, well coached and they don’t ever give up. They are scrappers just like anybody else. I would say they are in the five top scrappiest teams in Alaska.”
The teams also played two non-league games with Juneau winning 10-3 on Thursday and 3-0 late Saturday.
The top two teams in each of the Alaska Legion divisions automatically advance to the state tournament, and then the next four teams across both divisions.
The South Post 4 Wolverines have clinched the American Division with a 13-0 record (17-2 overall), Dimond Post 4 Lynx are second at 9-5 (12-8), Chugiak Post 33 Mustangs third at 8-7 (10-11), Palmer Post 15 fourth at 8-5 (13-9), Juneau fifth at 7-4 (13-4), North Pole Post 30 Wild sixth 4-8 (8-11), and Bartlett Post 29 Golden Bears seventh at 2-10 (4-16).
Service Post 28 Cougars lead the National Division and clinched a state berth at 10-2 (15-7), Eagle River Wolves are second 7-7 (15-7), Fairbanks Post 11 49ers third 6-7 (9-10), West Post 1 Eagles fourth 6-7 (7-12), Ketchikan Post 3 Kings fifth 6-5 (8-9), Wasilla Post 35 Road Warriors sixth 5-7 (9-10), East Post 34 Thunderbirds seventh 2-14 (2-21), and Kenai Post 20 Twins eighth 3-8 (6-13).
Juneau has five league games left and will play on the road against Wasilla twice on Thursday, Eagle River once on Friday and Kenai twice on Saturday.
“Defensively we have to keep striving for quality,” Juneau co-coach Jeremy Ludeman said. “A few errors can prolong a game and our pitchers. We have to get our guys prepared to play quality baseball over the next few games.”Sorry, it doesn't look like there's any photos here just yet.