Sitka rails against Juneau to win Region II tourney


Greg Knight

Sitka’s Gavin Flores jumps for joy after his team won the Region II Little League championship against defending champion Juneau on Sunday.

The team from Sitka saw lightning strike as they took the Region II crown on Sunday afternoon by defeating reigning champ Juneau by a score of 5-1 in six innings.

Sitka’s scoring run started off in the top of the second inning with Morgan Simic giving an RBI single to give the go-ahead to Jasoren McGraw for 1-0 lead.

The score remained 1-0 through the top of the fourth when Kyler Sumauang scored on an RBI single from Aaron Dumag – with two outs against Sitka. Another single by Bryce Kelly to score Kevin David for a 3-0 tally followed.

Juneau was able to pull out a double play, however, at the end of the inning to retire the Sitka side. The Sitka squad returned the favor, though, sending the game into fifth with no change in score on a double play.

In the top of the fifth inning Sitka’s McGraw hit a single to send Sumauang home, with two outs, for a 4-0 score. Juneau’s Garrett Johns managed to nail a single and a steal to second during his at-bat. Follow-up batter Riley Griffin was taken out next after being struck out by pitcher Bryan Joseph on a full-count.

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Joseph kept the game rolling as the game entered the top of the sixth with a lead-off triple – and saw him score on an RBI bunt by JD Gagner to give Sitka a 5-0 lead.

It all came down to the bottom of the sixth inning as Sitka nailed a Juneau runner at home plate – but saw Brennon Ludeman score for Juneau with two outs for the 5-1 final score.

Sitka coach Darin Gagner said his team came together in a short amount of time, but were able to make a championship showing on the field.

“We were together for three weeks and we had two-a-days to get ready for this,” Gagner said. “What was special was that we really came together as a team, and this game really showed that everybody contributed what they knew they had to do during the game. Each and every one of them did exactly what we asked of them.”

Gagner added that pitcher Joseph was a key factor in the win.

“Going into the game we were the number one seed, so the nice thing was that we were able to save our aces like Bryan who pitched throughout the game,” Gagner said. “He was our hard thrower, and we knew it was time to use him when he said to me ‘Coach, I want to pitch against Juneau.’ He pulled it together and did something excellent.”

Joseph was credited as the winning pitcher for the game, with Sumauang holding his own as the closer.

The squad will now face Anchorage’s District I winner, Abbott-O-Rabbit, at the baseball diamonds running through Saturday. The best 3-out-of-5 winners will advance to the Northwest Regional in San Bernardino, Calif. Aug. 2-10.


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