Juneau beats Service 3-1 for first state title since 1984
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2017
The best team in the regular season doesn't always translate to the postseason.
But the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns were the real deal from beginning to end.
Fueled by exception speed, Juneau's fine-tuned machine was clicking on all cylinders as the Southeast power beat a pair of Anchorage powers in Service Post 28 and South Post 4 in back-to-back ALB state tournament games at Mulcahy Stadium.
Top-seeded Juneau claimed the title with a 3-1 win over No. 2 seed Service to claim the Post's first state championship since 1984 and third overall.
Coach Joe Tompkins' team won 27 of 30 games this summer and will represent Alaska at next month's Legion AAA Northwest Regional in Missoula, Montana.
Tournament MVP Zeb Storie hit the go-ahead single in the fifth inning and scored an insurance run in the eighth inning to highlight the victory over Service.
Juneau's Finn Collins came out of the bullpen to throw 6.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win.
Service starter Jaren Childs allowed five hits over seven innings of work to take a hard-luck loss.
The Cougars [22-9] and coach Willie Paul will represent Alaska at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament next month in Eugene, Oregon.
Juneau and Service have been neck-and-neck all season and it was no surprise this one came down to the wire.
Three of their previous meetings this season resulted in 4-3 decisions, with two of them coming in walkoff fashion.
They finished 2-2 against each other in leauge and tournament games, the series separated by a single run.
Earlier in the day, Juneau came from behind to shock South 6-5 in 11 innings.
It was shocking in the sense that South led 5-1 going into the bottom of the eighth with ace Parker Johnson on the mound.
Juneau tied the game with only one base hit leaving the infield. They manufactored runs with bunts, stolen bases, walks and errors.
The Midnight Suns run the bases better than any team in Alaska and their willingness to take an extra base at every chance constantly keeps pressure on a pitcher and the defense.
In the 11th, Storie singled with one out to start the winning rally. That was followed by a single from Donavin McCurley and then an intentional walk to Kasey Watts.
That brought up clean up hitter Bryce Swofford, who bounced one to third base, where the ball was mishandled and allowed Storie to score the winning run.
Storie was involved in all of the defining plays today, leading to his MVP recognition. He led the tournament with 11 hits, scored seven runs and reached base at a .652 clip.
Service's Cooper Bailey-Parsons was named Big Stick after batting .455 with five RBIs in five games. Half of his hits went for extra bases and he delivered a number of big hits for the Cougars during tournament play.
South's Terren Sugita was named Top Pitcher after flirting with a no-hitter for 8.2 innings before coming up just short at making history. Nonetheless, the right-hander was remarkable. He had a 1.74 ERA over 10.1 innings at state.
West center fielder Shawn Jones won the tournament's Gold Glove Award for his speedy coverage and rocket right arm.