Gastineau Major All-Stars Lose State Championship Series to Knik

    Juneau Major All-Star Micah Nelson connects on a pitch in early season action. Juneau lost in the state championship to Eagle River's Knik Little League at Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau’s Gastineau Channel Little League Majors All-Stars were eliminated 11-3 on Monday in game four of their best-of-five Alaska 12-Under state championship series against Eagle River’s Knik Little League at Anchorage’s Abbott-O-Rabbit Fields. Juneau lost 4-2 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday and won 6-3 on Sunday.

      “We all had things that we could have improved on and things that we did well,” Juneau center fielder Brenner Harralston said. “At the end of the day it didn’t come out as what we had hoped but we are going to cheer on Knik when they go to San Bernardino. I learned that you can make a come back and that you never want to hang your head.”

      On Monday, Knik scored four runs in the first inning as Owen McNeil singled and scored on a Bodi Anderson line drive to center field. Weston Graecy was hit by a pitch and Gerardo Palomores tripled to clear the bases and then scored on a Pace Newkirk single.

      Juneau got three of the runs back in the bottom half of the first inning. Micah Nelson and Drew Cadigan-McAdoo earned walks and scored on a Noah Lewis double. Lewis scored on a Parker Katasse single.

      Knik increased its lead to 5-3 in the top of the third as Ethan Atkinson walked, advanced on an error and a wild pitch and scored on a Newkirk ground out.

      Knik added another four runs in the top of the fourth with two outs. McNeil singled, Anderson reached on an error, Atkinson walked, Graecy reached on an error scoring Anderson and Atkinson, McNeil scored on a wild pitch and Palomores doubled to score Graecy for a 9-3 lead.

      Juneau went three up and three down in the bottom of the fourth, and Knik added a run in the top of the fifth as Brennan Lierman led off with a double and scored on a fielder’s choice by Justyn Betsayad for a 10-3 advantage. Anderson and Atkinson walked to load the bases and Graecy walked to score Betsayad for 11-3.

      Juneau brought three top hitters to the plate in its final at bat in the bottom of the sixth inning but Lewis hit a hard ground ball out, Katasse swing for the fences and missed and Isaac Kirsch lined out to second base.

      “We did pretty good,” Nelson said of the series. “We just needed to get more runs.”

      Juneau had five hits to Knik’s seven and left four runners on base to Knik’s nine.

      Katasse was left on base in the bottom of the first inning after an RBI single.

      Nelson rapped a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the second but a hard ground ball by Hunter Carte went back to the pitcher.

      KB Lim hit a one-out line drive to center field in the bottom of the third inning and advanced on a wild pitch but a hard ground ball by Lewis was handled and the third out came on strikes.

      Cadigan-McAdoo hit a two-out single to center field in the bottom of the fifth inning but a strikeout ended the threat.

      “We hung in there,” Juneau coach Jaysen Katasse said. “Then they kind of broke it wide open and we just weren’t able to put any runs up. They kids kept fighting. No one was really hanging their heads and that’s what I really like. They came out to play ball and they understand that you win some you lose some.”

      Lewis had two RBI for Juneau and Katasse one. Nelson, Cadigan-McAdoo, Lim, Lewis and Katasse had one hit each. Nelson, Cadigan-McAdoo and Lewis scored one run each. Nelson and Cadigan-McAdoo had one walk apiece.

      Lewis took the loss on the mound over 3.2 innings, allowing five hits and nine runs, striking out three and walking three. Katasse relieved in the fourth inning and allowed two hits and two runs. Nelson pitched the fifth inning and walked four and Cadigan-McAdoo pitched the sixth and struck out two.

      Knik’s Graecy started and went five innings, allowed five hits and three runs, struck out nine and walked two. Cole Lux closed for the sixth inning and struck out one.

      Palomores led Knik with three RBI and Anderson, Graecy, Newkirk and Betsayad had one each. McNeil and Palomores had two hits apiece, while Anderson, Lierman and Derrek Lee had one each. McNeil, Anderson, Atkinson and Graecy scored two runs each. Palomores, Lierman and Betsayad had one each.

      Knik advances to the Northwest Regional Tournament at San Bernardino, California, starting Sunday, with a chance to earn a berth in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Aug. 19-29.

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