Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The tailgaters were showing up a half-hour before batting practice at Miller Field on Tuesday night to get the best position on the outfield fence for the 8-10-year-olds Minors Special Games Championship game between Juneau Red and Juneau black and the top seeded Red team did not disappoint, earning a 13-2 win in a run shortened four innings.
“It feels amazing,” Juneau Red player Gabe McGuan said. “I might party tonight, maybe, and get some rest.”
The black team scored the first run of the game as Jamison Randolph walked, was sacrificed to second by Gavin Kohan and stole his way around the bags to cross home plate on a passed ball.
The Red team answered in the bottom half with Marquis Lim being hit by a pitch, Gabe McGuan earning a walk and Crosby Landvik hitting a fielder’s choice scoring Lim.
“It was really fun to be in this tournament,” Lim said. “I don’t know what I am going to do tonight.”
Andrew Erickson hit an in the park home run that brought McGuan along for the ride and a 3-1 lead.
“It felt really good winning it,” Erickson said. “The other teams played great. I was just really honored.”
Juneau Red added 10 runs in the bottom of the third inning. Paxton Willoughby walked, Lim walked and McGuan hit a double scoring Willoughby. Hunter Ridle tripled scoring Lim and McGuan for a 6-1 advantage.
“It felt really good just winning it,” Juneau Red player Jack Pegues said. “I thought we were not going to mercy rule them. What I am going to do when I go home is probably just going to stay up late and watch shows.”
Landvik walked and Erickson singled in Ridle for 7-1. Mason Catrett walked to load the bases and Myles Pasion was hit by a pitch to score Landvik for 8-1. Hendrik Van Kirk walked scoring Erickson for 9-1.
“It felt really nice to win because my team really wasn’t a winning team,” Van Kirk said. “So it just feels really nice to win and I am just going to sit back and relax.”
Mack Host singled scoring Catrett for 10-1, Willoughby walked scoring Pasion for 11-1, Catrett scored on a passed ball for 12-1 and Host stole home for 13-1.
“It feels good definitely to make the all-star team and help the team win,” Host said. “I’m going to rest up tonight.”
Pasion said it felt great to win.
“I’m going to party and rest,” he said.
Catrett said it felt amazing.
“It just feels like an honor,” he said. “I never thought I would be able to make this all-star team and I never thought we would be able to win without my teammates and friends on this team. So it was a pleasure to be on this team. I am definitely going to go home, party, and stay up.”
Juneau Black made a run in the top of the fourth inning as Jamison Randolph hit an in the park home run to trail 13-2 and Micah Polasky added a one-out triple but Juneau Red outfielder Paxton Willoughby chased down a deep fly ball for out number two and Andrew Erickson fielded a hard ground ball to end the game.
“I am happy that I won,” Willoughby said. “It feels really good. After this I am going to hang out with my cousin.”
Landvik pitched all four innings for the Red team and struck out seven. Adler Janes started for Juneau Black and Zev LeVine relieved.
“It felt pretty good to win,” Landvik said. “Yeah!”
Juneau Red’s Hunter Ridle and his brother Matthew Shockley, who plays for Juneau Black, enjoy friendly competition.
“This feels good to win,” Ridle said. “This is my first time on an all-star team. I didn’t think I was going to make it but I did.”
When asked who had the family bragging rights, Ridle laughed and said, “Me.”
Juneau Red coaches were Mike Lim and Tom Pegues. Juneau Red manager Matt McGuan dedicated the victory to his own little league manager from his youth, Rick Pajor in Gary, Indiana.
“I would like to dedicate this championship to my all-star manager Rick Pajor,” McGuan said. “He was my coach in little league and my all-star manager. He gave me a lot of time. He gave all his kids a lot of time. He is a real role model as a coach. Great guy. I wouldn’t be here doing this without his example. I didn’t know it at the time. You become an adult and have your own kids and you start giving up your own time, and then you realize the sacrifices people made for you and the time they gave you. And I just want to do that in return and hopefully I set an example for one of these kids someday.”
Juneau Black team members included Randolph, Kohan, Polasky, Janes, LeVine, Shockley, Eli Hayes, Bridger Lockhart, Zack Ritter, Carter Day, and Landry Kissner. Juneau Black was managed by Rich Hayes, and coached by Nick Polasky and Zach Kohan.
Ketchikan’s Minor All-Stars included Jude Rushton, Rylan Jones, Kaiden Michels, Ashton Marrs, Jack Sayer, Maximus Birch, Kyle James, Fin Lynch, Mckinley Nicholas, Mason Peters, Lucas Rahr, Otto Eckholm and Blake Phillips. Manager was Brandon Nicholas. Coaches were Jake Schwartz and Trent Birch.
“This was a great opportunity for all these kids to play some extra baseball,” Juneau Red manager McGuan said. “They enjoyed it. They worked hard to get to where they are now and they are always going to be all-star champs.”