Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau’s Gastineau Channel Little League Majors All-Stars lost for the second day in a row in the Alaska 12-Under state championship series against Eagle River’s Knik Little League, falling 6-3 on Saturday at Anchorage’s Abbott-O-Rabbit Fields.
“That was a tough one,” Juneau coach Jaysen Katasse said. “These boys are playing really well. I can’t point out one specific thing that is not working. The ball is just not bouncing our way yet. Tomorrow is another day and I think that is what we are living to play for.”
Knik scored the first run of the game in the top of the first inning, as Bodi Anderson hit a one-out single, advanced to third on a Juneau fielding error on a single by Ethan Atkinson and scored on a wild pitch.
Juneau bats responded quickly with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Micah Nelson led off with a single, advanced to second on a Hunter Carte single and to third on a wild pitch. Nelson scored on a Noah Lewis line drive to center field. Drew Cadigan-McAdoo extended his time at the plate, earning a walk and allowing Lewis is advance to third on a wild pitch. Parker Katasse showed the same patience at the plate and Lewis scored on a pick-off attempt at first base for a 2-1 lead.
“I think we just have to keep the ball in front of us and have a lot of confidence,” Carte said. “On the down parts of the game we should keep our heads up and not stay too high with the chatter or stay too low. We’re feeling pretty good. The coaches told us that we weren’t going to win all the games and go up to Pennsylvania like that. I think we have a pretty good chance. We have the taste of blood in our mouth and we’re ready to go.”
Knik regained the lead in the top of the second inning as Brennan Lierman reached on an error, advanced on a wild pitch and a Gus Westerlund single and scored after tagging up on a fly ball out to right field by Wyatt Seegers to tie the score at 2-2. Pace Newkirk put the next long ball out to right field for a fly ball out that Westerlund tagged up on to score for a 3-2 Knik lead.
Juneau tied the score in the bottom of the second as Keaton Belcourt singled, advanced on a Carte double, put pressure on the pitcher with a walk by Lewis and scored on a Cadigan-McAdoo single.
“We just need to have more confidence,” Ryker Nelson said. “I know we are down two but a lot of teams have come back from 2-0 down in the series. We just need to play hard, be confident and have fun.”
Juneau left runners on base in the bottom of the fourth inning as Andrew Sanders earned a walk and M. Nelson singled. But three straight outs ended the threat.
Juneau went three up and three down in their batting rotation in the third and fifth innings but also did the same to Knik.
Knik put up their final three runs in the top of the sixth inning as Atkinson led off with a line drive, Weston Graecy reached on an error, Gerardo Palomores doubled to bring them across the plate and then advanced on a passed ball and scored on an error for the 6-3 tally.
Juneau had another chance in the bottom of the sixth inning as Henry Maier led off with a walk and Belcourt singled to left field. But Knik fielding responded with a pop-up catch by shortstop Atkinson and a fielder’s choice double play by Atkinson that put the runners out at third and second to end the game.
“We are doing pretty good,” Andrew Sanders said. “Our hitting is okay, our fielding is pretty good too. Sometimes we may strikeout or miss a play and they get runs and we get down. We just have to work on going up and then going up again.”
Lewis and Cadigan-McAdoo had one RBI apiece. Carte, M. Nelson and Belcourt had two hits each and Lewis and Cadigan-McAdoo had one apiece. M. Nelson, Lewis and Belcourt scored one run each. Maier, Lewis, Cadigan-McAdoo, Sanders and Katasse earned one walk each.
Maier went five innings on the mound for Juneau, with three strikeouts. Belcourt relieved and had one strikeout.
Owen McNeil started for Knik and went two innings. Graecy relieved one inning, Anderson two innings and Justyn Betsayad closed for one inning.
Palomores had two RBI for Knik and Seegers and Newkirk had one apiece. Anderson, Palomores, Lierman and Westerlund had one hit each. Anderson, Atkinson, Graecy, Palomores, Lierman and Westerlund scored one run each. McNeil and Westerlund earned one walk apiece.
Juneau lost game one on Friday, 4-2. Game three is Sunday at 1 p.m. and if necessary games are on Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m. The winner of the series advances to the Northwest Regional Tournament at San Bernardino, California, Aug. 8-14 with a chance to earn a berth in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Aug. 19-29.
Above - Noah Lewis fields a ground ball during the District Tournament at Miller Field in this file photos. Below - Henry Maier eyes a pitch in this file photo from the District Tournament. The team is down two games to zero against Eagle River's Knik Little League in the state championship best-of-five series at Anchorage.