The Alaska Little League Junior Softball State Tournament featured a double-dose of late-game drama Wednesday night at Nunaka Valley Park in Anchorage.
Gastineau Channel Little League of Juneau, the District 2 champions, and Nunaka City Little League of Anchorage, the District 1 champions, squared off in the second and (most of) the third game in their best-of-five game playoff series.
After Juneau’s late-game lead disappeared in a Game 2 loss — GCLL fell 10-9 after leading by three runs in the six — the capital city team was well on its way to victory in Game 3. Juneau led 13-2 in the fourth inning when the game was called off shortly after 11 p.m. due to a local curfew rule.
In addition to a one-hour delay to start the game, the second inning took more than a half hour to complete after Nunaka City protested one of Juneau’s runs.
Nunaka City appealed to the home plate umpire that one of Juneau’s players didn’t touch home plate after Peyton Carson hit a three-run home run. After a review of the play, the umpire determined the coach was correct, and that Riley Harp did not step on home plate.
The Juneau faction fired back though, saying the appeal wasn’t run according to the rule book.
“The whole thing was really confusing and ultimately the call stuck so the inning ended,” Juneau coach Nicole Adair said.
After resuming the game on Thursday afternoon, GCLL defeated Nunaka City 13-2. The two sides play again at 6 p.m. Thursday night.
“It’s really cool to see kids face some adversity and overcome it and stay strong,” Adair said.
Juneau, the District 2 champions, came within six outs of evening up the series at 1-1 with Nunaka City in the second game. However, Nunaka took a 10-9 lead in the sixth, Malamaisaua Matautia got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to seal the win. Nunaka City won Game 1, 8-6.
The Junior Softball West Regional Tournament is San Bernardino, California from July 20-26. The Junior Softball World Series is in Portland, Oregon, from Aug. 7-14.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.