Nunaka Valley Takes Two Game Lead over Juneau Softball Majors

    Gastineau Channel Little League's Majors All-Stars play Nunaka Valley in a crucial game three tonight at 6 p.m. at Melvin Park Field. (Klas Stolpe / KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Gastineau Channel Little League Majors (10-12 year olds) Softball All-Stars are down two games to zero in the best-of-five state tournament series against Anchorage’s Nunaka Valley Little League at Melvin Park Field.

      Juneau dropped Sunday’s game 10-5 after falling 12-6 on Saturday. Game three is tonight at 6 p.m.

      “I love how we are all so close,” Nunaka Valley team captain Ori Samuelu-Pedro said. “Our bond is closer than ever. We know how to work as a team no matter how mad we get at each other we’ll always bring it right back together.”

      Samuelu-Pedro played third base and catcher on Sunday. Her main position is pitcher but she rotates with Addi Anderson.

      “Today was her day,” Samuelu-Pedro said. “I like calling the pitches behind the plate more than delivering them.”

      On Sunday Nunaka Valley scored two runs in the first inning and added two more in the second as Ave Ropati singled in Niah Faumuina and Riah Loia sacrificed in Ropati.

      Nunaka Valley added three more runs in the third. Addi Anderson tripled and scored on a Chaunti McMorris single, N. Faumuina sacrificed in McMorris and Ropati singled in Isa Faumuina for a 7-0 lead.

      Juneau got a run in the bottom of the third as Alex Scarano doubled and scored on a steal and a passed ball.

      Nunaka Valley added two runs in the fourth inning as Ori Samuelu-Pedro walked, stole two bases and scored on a single by Anderson. I. Faumuina singled in Anderson for the 9-1 advantage.

      Juneau third base Riley Morehouse fielded a hard line drive to stop extra bases in the inning.

      “It was scary,” Morehouse said. “I thought it was going to hit my knee and fast reactions are kind of scary. So I knew I had to throw it to home or first.”

      Catcher Bella Connally picked up two pop-up foul balls for outs, the second with the bases loaded that prevented a larger scoring spree.

      “I see that the ball is going up and I pop up real quick,” Connally said. “Track where the ball is and if I can get I try to get it.”

       Juneau scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth as Skylar Oliva singled and stole two bases and scored on a Gwen Nizich single and Keira Payne sacrificed in Nizich for a 9-3 game.

      Juneau’s defense tightened in the fifth with a long fly ball out to Taylor Williams in center field and a hard line drive that looked to be extra bases but short stop Peyton Wheeler jumped up to snare the out.

      “All I thought of was that I need to get there and try to get the ball,” Wheeler said.

      Nunaka Valley managed one final run as Samuelu-Pedro earned a walk, advanced on the fly ball out and stole home for a 10-3 advantage.

      Juneau made a run in the bottom of the fifth as Morehouse reached on a one-out error, stole second base, and scored on a two-out single by Ryann Oliva. Oliva would score on a hard hit by Skylar Oliva for a 10-5 game.

      Juneau’s P. Wheeler struck out two batters in the sixth and got another to ground out to Brynn Wheeler at second but Nunaka Valley’s Anderson shut down all three Juneau batters at the plate to end the game.

      Anderson pitched the complete game for Nunaka Valley with 11 strikeouts.

      Tonight’s game three is at 6 p.m.

      “We need to get down and get more hits and keep the fielding good,” Connally said.

      Added Wheeler, “We just need to get down on our pitches and on our fielding so we can make the throws as quick as we can, the transfers.”

      Nunaka Valley’s Samuelu-Pedro said, “We need to not come cocky. We should still be humble because you never know what may happen and just keep it together. Don’t get too big minded that we’re just going to win like we just did these two games. Just keep the same mindset and keep it going together.”

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