It’s a big time of year for Little League in Juneau.
The Gastineau Channel Little League recently crowned regular-season champions in both its majors and minors baseball divisions, and several tournaments will be held in the capital city in the coming weeks.
“Excitement is high,” said GCLL information officer Geoff Kirsch in a recent phone interview. “Summertime for a lot of people —even in Southeast Alaska —means baseball.”
Last year, the entirety of the Little League season was scrapped because of the pandemic. While some mitigation measures, such as masks when social distancing is not possible remain in place, this year, an entire regular season was possible.
Kirsch said the return of youth sports has come with a new level of interest in the games.
“I’ve noticed people coming out and watching these games,” Kirsch said. “People are into it in a way that I have not noticed in the past. People seem very happy to be watching youth baseball.”
People will have ample opportunity to watch more youth baseball — and softball — in the near future with a trio of tournaments slated for the coming weeks. The District 2 Minors Baseball All-Star tournament is scheduled for July 14-20. That tournament features players from 8 to 10. The majors tournament is July 22-28. That tournament features players from 10 to 12.
In addition to actual games, Kirsch said there will be skills competitions, including a home run derby and a base-running relay contest.
The state softball tournament for players from 10 to 12 is scheduled for July 17-21.
The baseball games will be played at Miller Fields, and the softball games will be played at Melvin Park.
Due to a dearth of Little League softball teams in Southeast Alaska this season, the 10-12 Juneau softball team will forego a district tournament in favor of diving straight into the state tournament.
“It’s pretty exciting for our families to be able to watch here and for the kids to play big games at their home field,” said Lexie Razor, vice president of softball for GCLL.
The winning team from the state tournament will advance to Western Regionals in San Bernardino, California.
“That’s a big deal,” Razor said. “It’s pretty exciting. We’ve had teams go and do pretty good.”
Efforts are underway to make the Juneau-hosted tournaments a big deal, too. Kirsch said GCLL is hoping to have vendors in place for the tournaments and make them feel like as much of an event as possible.
Potential vendors can reach Gastineau Channel Little League by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regular season champs and all-stars
After a full season of play, two Gastineau Channel Little League teams claimed regular-season titles.
For the majors, the Begenyi Engineering Red Sox led by manager Jake Carte were the champions. For minors, the Dr. Jared Erickson, DMD, Storm led by manager Nick Polasky were the champs.
The Red Sox bested the Orioles 11-4, and the Storm beat the Nugget Alaskan Outfitters Thunder 15-12.
The Storm roster included Aeson Stekoll, Andrew Erickson, Micah Polasky, Vance Tupou, Brooks Pinney, Elias Lockhart, Jacob King, Myles Pasion, Bridger Lockhart, Justin Swain, William Hulson and Adler Janes.
The Red Sox roster included Hunter Carte, Ivan Shockley, William Kiessling, Jamison Randolph, Charles Begenyi, Samuel Framke, Silas, Dominguez-Keeler, Kamden Kissner, Micah Nelson, Porter Goudie, Nathaniel Ploof, Max Pillifant and Carson Kautz.
All-star rosters announced
Recently, GCLL shared its 2021 all-star rosters with the Empire.
The 2021 GCLL Majors All-Stars Softball roster includes: Bella Connally, Cassie Chenoweth, Lily Hayes, Riley Morehouse, Rylie Mulkey, Gwen Nizich, Ryann Oliva, Skylar Oliva, Keira Payne, Alexa Scarano, Brynn Wheeler, Peyton Wheeler, Taylor Williams.
Phil Wheeler is the manager, and coaches are Marcos Morehouse and Courtney Oliva.
The 2021 GCLL Majors All-Stars Baseball roster includes: Keaton Belcourt, Hunter Carte, Brenner Harralston, Parker Katasse, Isaac Kirsch, Noah Lewis, KB Lim, Henry Maier, Drew Cadigan-McAdoo, Micah Nelson, Ryker Nelson, Vinny Nizich and Andrew Sanders.
The 2021 GCLL Minors Baseball All-Stars Team Black includes: Gavin Kohan, Micah Polasky, Eli Hayes, Jamison Randolph, Bridger Lockhart, Zev LeVine, Zack Ritter, Matthew Shockley, Adler Janes, Carter Day and Landry Kissner. Manager is Rich Hayes, and coaches are Nick Polasky and Zach Kohan.
The 2021 GCLL Minors Baseball All-Stars Team Red includes: Marquis Lim, Jack Pegues, Gabe McGuan, Crosby Landvik, Andrew Erickson, Myles Pasion, Mason Catrett, Hunter Ridle, Paxton Willoughby, Hendrik Van Kirk and Mack Host. Jacob Dutton is the manager, and coaches are Jaysen Katasse and Jason McAdoo.