Juneau’s American Legion Baseball team topped their division after going undefeated on an Anchorage road trip last week. Post 25 racked up six wins in the big city and unseated Service for the top spot in the National Division.
On the offensive side, Post 25 swept their Anchorage opponents with opportunistic baserunning and scorching bats, scoring 73 runs in six games for 14-4, 20-6, 14-0, 11-2, 2-1 and 12-0 results. Defensively, Bryce Swofford, Phillip Wall, Kasey Watts, Zeb Storie and Donavin McCurley have been controlling games from the mound with efficiency and confidence.
Manager Joe Tompkins said he can’t say he’s surprised by the boys’ success, but he’s impressed.
“I can’t say I was surprised, they’re scrappers and will do whatever it takes,” Tompkins said. “There are some really, really good teams up there, so that’s what surprised me was that we fought through and won all of our games. We just came together more as a team on the road trip. Some teams go away from each other, but this team came together.”
Post 25 has been eating teams up with their baserunning, Tompkins said, with speedy runners like Donovan McCurley, Storie, Alex Muir and Finn Collins leading the offensive glut. Storie and Watts each had four-RBI games on the road trip, with Storie logging a three-RBI game against Service as well.
In the only game of the trip where Post 25 scored less than 10 runs, a 2-1 win on June 27 over Service, Juneau’s Bryce Swofford dominated from the mound, throwing only 64 pitches for 47 strikes and six strikeouts in seven innings.
“Swof switched his pitches up quite a bit and had a lot of first pitch strikes,” Tompkins said. “When you do that, you can control what happens during the rest of the at bat for somebody. He was on, I think he went five innings with only 56 pitches.”
Watts also impressed in a five-inning outing against Bartlett, throwing 91 pitches for eight strikeouts and a shutout. Tompkins said their pitching staff has been leading the team.
“The pitching overall, I mean you have Phillip Wall, who pitched a complete nine-inning game and did a great job,” Tompkins said. “Then you’ve got guys like Donovan McCurley coming in. Zeb pitched and he’s efficient. As long as your pitching is good, you’re going to go deep into some games.”
Post 25 will have a shot at the state title this year, if all goes well, with only undefeated Kenai (12-0) ahead of Juneau’s boys in the league standings. Juneau took down Service twice on the road trip, usurping the top spot in the National Division from them (Kenai has the top spot in the American Division).
Tompkins said he likes his team’s chances for the state title, but they aren’t going to take anything for granted.
“We haven’t seen all the teams and there’s a team that’s ranked No. 1 above us. Let’s put it this way, if all our arms stay strong and everybody stays healthy I think we’re going to do pretty good,” Tompkins said. “I am not going to say we’ll win it, but we’ll do pretty good.”
With the road trip and two home wins before that, Post 25 is riding an eight-game win streak after suffering their only loss June 11 to South. Juneau travels to Ketchikan for two league games July 8 and 9 and plays at home next in a doubleheader against West July 16.
• Contact Sports editor and Outdoors writer Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2258 or email@example.com.