Juneau drops devastating 8-7 loss at NW Regional
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 8, 2018
From heartwarming to heartbreak, Juneau Post 25 experienced every emotion in a roller-coaster game with Meridian (ID) Post 113 that featured four lead changes and ended in an 8-7 walkoff loss that denied Alaska its first win at the Northwest Regional since 2009.
Idaho scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to spoil an excellent effort by the two-time defending Alaska state champion Midnight Suns, who played well and did so many things right to build a seemingly safe 7-4 cushion.
Credit Idaho for the comeback, but credit Juneau for proving that Alaska can compete at the regional level despite the state’s struggles in past years.
The Midnight Suns banged out 11 hits and made only one error. They led 1-0 after the first inning and 3-0 after the second inning. And when Idaho rallied to take the lead 4-3, they bounced back with a four-spot in the fifth inning to take a 7-4 lead.
Going into the final inning, it felt like Alaska's long losing streak finally would end at the Legion regional tournament. It didn't happen - but the loss shouldn't overshadow Juneau's effort and energy on the field.
Zeb Storie went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, Phil Wall was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Robert Cox batted 2-for-4 with an RBI. Gabe Storie finished 2-for-3 and scored twice.
In Juneau’s big fifth inning, Wall doubled in a pair of runs and Zeb Storie drove in two runs with a two-out, two-strike base hit.
Wall, the state tournament MVP, pitched six-plus innings and allowed 10 hits. He was chased in the seventh after hitting the leadoff hitter, walking the next batter and then giving up a double that made it 7-5.
Donavin McCurley entered with runners on second and third and gave up a sac fly and single before striking out the next batter for the second out of the inning. The game ended when Idaho’s Charlie Tentinger ripped an opposite-field gap shot to score the winning run from second base.
The loss was just the third for Juneau in 31 games this season. It was also McCurley’s first losing decision in a full year, with his last loss coming at last year's Northwest Regional.
Juneau dropped into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination Legion World Series qualifier and will play Thursday at 11 a.m. ADT against the loser of Cheyenne (WY) Post 6 and host Missoula (MT) Post 27.
Watch Juneau play live at this site: mpsn406.com.
The Midnight Suns will try to snap Alaska’s 19-game losing streak dating to 2009 when South Anchorage’s Post 4 beat Cheyenne 5-4.
This is the second straight year Juneau has been close, losing 3-1 to eventual regional champion Lewiston (ID) at the 2017 tournament behind McCurley's complete-game gem.
Juneau 120 040 0 - 7 11 1
Meridian (ID) 001 300 4 - 8 12 1
Juneau - Wall, McCurley (7) and Cesar. Idaho - Yancey, Lefever (5), Nielebeck (6) and Tentinger. W – Nielebeck. L – McCurley. 2B - 2B - Harrision (ID), Wall (J), Jablonski (ID), Cox (J). 3B – None. HR - None.