Juneau Post 25 stemmed a late West Post 1 rally to win its first game of the American Legion state tournament on Friday afternoon at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.
On the hunt for a third consecutive state championship, Juneau (24-4, 15-3 league) turned to Gabe Storie to close out the game, and the lanky right-hander delivered. Storie entered the game in the sixth inning and stranded runners in the final two frames to maintain Juneau’s 2-1 advantage all the way to the end.
Brock McCormick earned the win on the mound. The rising junior at Juneau-Douglas: Yadaat.at Kalé allowed just one hit in 4 1/3 scoreless innings.
“Brock McCormick pitched a gem of a game until I had to bring someone else in,” said Juneau coach Joe Tompkins, who wanted to keep McCormick eligible to pitch in later contests.
The Juneau team arrived a week early for the tournament to squeeze in its final regular season games. Beginning last Thursday, the Midnight Suns played seven games in four days, winning every one of their games except two games against Wasilla Post 35, which helped them clinch the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Juneau claimed the No. 2 seed.
“We’re looking forward to meeting them again,” Tompkins said. “They’re a tough team, but I think we’re tougher.”
Juneau’s two runs came in the fourth inning, when Storie and Donavin McCurley scored on an error and Christian Ludeman single, respectively. Ludeman’s hit was only the third of the game for Juneau, who struck out a combined 10 times against West pitchers Leland Wilson, Ivan Tillman and Luke Langnes.
“You had to manufacture runs,” Tompkins said. “It was a well-pitched game.”
Juneau squares off against Chugiak at 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Chugiak opened the tournament with a 10-0 win over Palmer.