Juneau seeks Alaska’s 1st NW Region win since ‘09

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 7, 2018

When it comes to pitching, Juneau Post 25 has plenty of it and the Midnight Suns will need every available arm when they hit the field for this week’s Legion Northwest Regional in Missoula, Montana.

 

The Alaska state champion will play Meridian, Idaho, in the first game Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ADT.

 

Juneau (28-2) showcased its dominant pitching staff at the state tournament when the Midnight Suns carved up opposing batters with a 1.50 ERA in 42 innings.

 

They closed out the tournament with a record 26-inning scoreless streak, thanks to back-to-back-to-back complete-game shutouts by Phil Wall, Kasey Watts, Gabe Storie and five shutout innings by Donavin McCurley.

 

The ‘Fab Four’ combined for a miniscule 0.39 ERA at state after allowing just two runs in 36 innings.

 

Wall, the tournament MVP, pitched a total of 12 innings, won both decisions and gave up just one run. He threw a 3-hit shutout in the title game against Dimond Post 21 to improve his season record to 6-1.

 

Storie didn’t give up an earned run in 10 innings and Watts was spotless in eight innings of work. McCurley allowed just one run in six innings; he is 5-0 on the summer.

 

Last year, McCurley turned in one of Alaska’s greatest pitching performances at the Northwest Regional in a 3-1 loss to eventual champion Lewiston, Idaho.

 

He needed only 89 pitches to complete a 9-inning gem during he did not strike out a single batter. He gave up eight hits and one walk. He pitched to contact and trusted his defense.

 

The two-run defeat was the closest an Alaska team has come to winning in nearly a decade.

 

South Post 4 was the last Alaska team to be victorious at the Northwest Regional with a 5-4 win over Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 2009.

 

Offensively, Juneau looks to bounce back after a tough outing at the plate in last year’s region tournament in which the Midnight Suns scored a total of just three runs.

 

They aren’t the first Alaska state champ to struggle against Lower 48 pitching. Since 2008, only two teams – South (11) in 2014, Kenai (10) in 2012 – have reached double figures in runs at regionals.

 

Zeb Storie and Michael Cesar headline Juneau’s loaded lineup.

 

Storie hit .594 with a team high 37 runs scored in 21 games during league and state tournament.

 

Cesar – the state’s high school player of the year – batted .471 with a team-best 27 RBIs.

 

Juneau is led by coaches Jeremy Ludeman and Joe Tompkins, who were among the men honored as Alaska Legion coaches of the year.