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By SPENCER GLEASON
Daily News Sports Editor
The rain clouds that ate into the start time of the Little League Majors Softball District 2 Championship game on Tuesday were a prelude to how the Ketchikan Little League All-Star season would end.
Despite scoring a run against Gastineau Channel Little League (Juneau) in the top of the first inning, after nearly a 40 minute rain delay, the early lead was quickly erased.
Juneau scored twice in the bottom half of the first inning and tallied three more in the second inning. And when the final out was recorded, Ketchikan sat on the wrong end of a 6-3 final at Melvin Park in Juneau.
The loss to Gastineau Channel ended Ketchikan’s run in the tournament and hopes of a state title. Instead, it’s Juneau that advances to play Abbott O’Rabbit in the state tournament beginning Thursday.
“We’re superstitious,” Ketchikan head coach Sonny Sonnenschein said of the rain delay. “That definitely messed things up. We typically warm up and get the music pumping. But we had girls warming up and going back and forth from the van, trying to dry off. And we were playing in some heavy rain, even when we started playing.”
Ketchikan’s offense had trouble getting rolling against Juneau’s pitching, as it only could muster two hits. Chloe Vierra-Sonnenschein had a bunt base hit in the second inning. Reilly McCue had a bloop base hit later in the game.
The hometown team threatened in their half of the fourth inning with runners on the corners. But the two-out rally quickly dissipated. Marley Lewis, who was walked three times, scored all three of Ketchikan’s runs.
“”She was a standout,” Sonnenschein said. “Mackenzie Pahang, Vienna Pahang, Taylor Jackson, I could go up and down the lineup and say something good about every one of them. I don’t want this to end.”
Ketchikan will have one more last hoo-rah on Wednesday, as Sitka and Ketchikan have agreed to play a pickup game. Both teams may be done for the year, but one last get-together will help take some of the sting out of the loss.
“Juneau’s been really nice helping find an indoor facility for us to have a jamboree with Sitka,” Sonnenschein said.
Although the game didn’t end how Ketchikan had hoped, their head coach couldn’t have been more proud.
“They fought hard until the end,” he said. “They were upbeat and we were waiting for that magic to strike. It just wasn’t our day.”