Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Gastineau Channel Little League Major Baseball 10-12 year olds All-Stars defeated Ketchikan 7-4 on Friday in the District 2 tournament at Miller Field and have a two game to zero lead in their best-of-five series which continues Saturday at 2 p.m.
Ketchikan scored three runs in the top of the first inning as Max Davis walked, Zyrus Manabat tripled him in and Julian Paule hit a ball past the parked cars in centerfield for a 3-0 lead.
Juneau got a run back in the bottom of the first as Hunter Carte doubled off Ketchikan pitcher Julian Paule and scored on a two-out error.
Ketchikan threatened in the second as Finn Winder singled but was out on a fielder choice on a Jonas Simpson single. Davis walked and Juneau brought in pitcher Micah Nelson for Henry Maier.
Zyrus Manabat struck out but attempted first base as the third strike was dropped. Juneau catcher Noah Lewis threw out Manabat and first baseman Keaton Belcourt returned the throw to home plate to put out Simpson trying to steal home to end the threat.
Ketchikan’s Paule struck out the Juneau side in the second.
Ketchikan scored their fourth run in the top of the third inning as Paule led off with a single, Ayden Manabat walked and Paxton Swaim doubled to score Paule for a 4-1 lead. Haydn McMahon walked to load the bases but Juneau tightened their defense as M. Nelson struck out two batters and fielded a ground ball for the third out.
Juneau’s Carte fielded a line drive out to open the fourth inning and M. Nelson struck out a batter, allowed a single and then fielded another ground ball for the third out.
Juneau put up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as KB Lim earned a one-out walk and Isaac Kirsch singled and both advanced on an error. Ryker Nelson reached on a dropped third strike and Lim scored on the throw to first to cut the Ketchikan lead to 4-2. Carte hit a two out singled that scored Kirsch to narrow the lead to 4-3. M. Nelson singled to load the bases and Lewis earned a walk sending R. Nelson home to tie the score at 4-4. With Parker Katasse at the plate drawing pitches, Carte stole home on a passed ball for a 5-4 lead and M. Nelson followed on the throw for a 6-4 advantage.
Juneau’s Keaton Belcourt was called off his first base position to close the game and struck out the Ketchikan side in the top of the fifth inning.
Juneau added their final run in the bottom half of the fifth as Drew Cadigan-McAddo doubled and pinch runner Andrew Sanders took his place on the bag. Belcourt hit a double that Sanders motored across the plate for the 7-4 lead.
Belcourt then put the final three Ketchikan batters to rest, with three strikeouts, in the top of the sixth inning.
Juneau won game one on Thursday 9-5 and can win the championship on Saturday. Sunday is a skills day. Monday and Tuesday are scheduled for “if necessary” games.
The winner of the Southeast district tournament travels to Anchorage for the state tournament (July 31 - August 5) and possibly a trip to regionals in San Bernardino, California (Aug. 8-14) and on to the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania (Aug. 19-29).