The Juneau Junior All-Stars overcame their first deficit of Alaska Little League Junior Baseball State Tournament on Friday night, rallying from a one-run deficit with a monstrous fifth inning to knock off Ketchikan 6-4 for the state championship.
The come-from-behind victory capped off a dominant tournament in which Juneau allowed just five hits and five runs in the previous two games, receiving stellar pitching from the likes of Thomas Baxter, Kaleb Campbell and Eli Crupi. The tournament was a best-of-five series and doubled as the District 2 Tournament.
The squad advances to the Junior Baseball West Region Tournament, which begins Friday in San Jose, California.
Ketchikan starter Ridge Summers allowed just four hits through four innings, but had trouble containing Juneau in the fifth.
Campbell came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded, and the hard-throwing right-hander hit a bases-clearing double into left-center field, putting Juneau up 5-3. Crupi made it 6-3 on the very next Juneau at-bat, hitting shallow fly ball that dropped in between the second baseman and center fielder to score Campbell.
Ketchikan took a 2-1 lead in the third off hits by Archie Dundas and Luke Rauwolf. With Rauwolf on third, Caden Mesdag posted back-to-back strike outs to get out the inning.
Baxter tied the game up at 2-2 later in the inning, and the score stood until the fifth.
Juneau’s Mesdag scored twice while Finn Kesey, Lamar Blatnick, Kaeden Quinto and Campbell each scored once. Juneau pitchers Derek Schauwecker, Mesdag, Sean Oliver and Crupi combined for nine strikeouts in the win.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Emprie Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.