It’s not too often the Cubs can say they won a championship.
But in this case, the Ketchikan Cubs have bragging rights over the Major League Baseball team.
With the Ketchikan Little League Majors All-Star tournament series between the Cubs and Dodgers knotted at two games apiece, the decisive Game 5 went down to the wire on Saturday.
And the Cubs hung on — barely.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning — and the Dodgers threatening in the game’s final frame — the Cubs’ pitching kept its composure, holding on to their 10-8 lead over the Dodgers.
Ace Asper was the Cubs’ pitching ace in the moment, completing back-to-back strike outs for the final two outs, giving the Cubs their championship victory.
When the Cubs took their positions at Little Walker Field for the bottom of the sixth, they had a 10-5 lead over the Dodgers.
But the Dodgers wouldn’t be denied their fair share.
On three separate occasions in the sixth, the Dodgers loaded the bags, plating three more runs.
Keygan Williams, who was pinch-running for Zyrus Manabat, and Jesse Albecker and Julian Paule all scored.
But with the Dodgers’ Paxton Swaim on third, Tate Tucker representing the tying run on second, and Reuben Parrot on first base as the go-ahead run, Asper shut down the threat.
Of the next 10 pitches Asper tossed, six hit the strike zone, and the Cubs’ closer finished the job.
The Cubs’ Joseph Larson started the game with a leadoff walk, and came around to score their first run. The Cubs would cross the dish in every inning en route to the victory.
Larson also knocked a 2-RBI double in the second inning, scoring Charles Kroscavage and Wyatt Balluta, and the two teams were off to the races.
Brian Burns tacked on two more for the Cubs, hitting a 2-run home run in the third inning.
And two innings later, the Cubs’ Amook Bullock hit a 3-run, inside-the-park home run, plating both Asper and Owen Mendoza.
The Cubs’ Taylor Ruckman tacked on another, tallying an RBI after knocking in Bryce Smith in the top of the sixth inning, and that was enough to keep the Cubs ahead.
The Dodgers’ Tate Tucker recorded three hits in the championship game, also scoring a run and tallying an RBI. Cash Larson and Nathan Price each had two-hit games, ripping a pair of singles, apiece. Cash Larson also scored twice, and Price crossed the dish once.
Here are some quick hits from the tournament:
Game 4 (Aug. 21)
Final: 13-8, Dodgers
Notes: A 7-run fourth inning helped the Dodgers to their 13-8 win in Game 4, tying the series at two games apiece, and forcing an all-decisive Game 5. … Jesse Albecker had the big blow with a 3-run home run in the middle of the frame, also scoring Cash Larson and Keygan Williams. Albecker, who had three extra base hits, also knocked a pair of doubles in the game. … The Cubs’ Brady Kline had a 3-hit game, as well, ripping a pair of doubles, too.
Game 3 (Aug. 20)
Final: 6-5, Cubs
Notes: Brian Burns only had one hit in Game 3, but the Cubs’ centerfielder made it count, as he smoked a solo home run in the fifth inning, giving the Cubs a 6-5 lead in the game, and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. … Bryce Smith and Brady Kline had the team’s other two extra-base hits, ripping back-to-back doubles and scoring in the third inning. Joseph Larson also scored in the frame, giving the Cubs a momentary 5-1 lead. … The Cubs’ pitching combined for 16 strikeouts, yet oddly allowed two Dodgers to score without allowing a hit. The Dodgers’ Keygan Williams reached base on a strike-three pitch to the backstop in the third inning, and subsequently made his way around the bases on three more pitches to the backstop. The Dodgers’ Jesse Albecker was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning, and then traveled around the bases on three pitches to the backstop, as well.
Game 2 (Aug. 18)
Final: 9-4, Dodgers
Notes: The first eight spots in the Dodgers’ batting order all recorded a run, as the team rolled to a 9-4 win to the tie the series at one game apiece. Zyrus Manabat, Paxton Swaim and Ruben Parrot got the scoring started for the Dodgers in the second inning, and Julian Paule added a solo home run for good measure in the fifth inning. Cash Larson, Tate Tucker, Jesse Albecker, Nathan Price and Xavier Dalton also scored. … Joseph Larson, Bryce Smith and Max Davis combined to score the Cubs’ four runs, as Davis scored twice. Smith, along with Brian Burns and Owen Mendoza recorded the Cubs’ RBIs.
Game 1 (Aug. 17)
Final: 6-4, Cubs
Notes: The Dodgers scored all four of their runs in the sixth inning. But it was too little, too late, as the Cubs hung on to a 6-4 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series. Jesse Albecker, Nathan Price, Paxton Swaim and Tate Tucker all scored for the Dodgers. … The Cubs plated runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Joseph Larson crossed the dish twice, and Bryce Smith, Max Davis, Brady Kline and Wyatt Balluta also scored for the Cubs.
Majors All-Star rosters
Dodgers: Cash Larson, Zyrus Manabat, Nathan Price, Jesse Albecker, Julian Paule, Paxton Swaim, Tate Tucker, Keygan Williams, Sam Moore, Ruben Parrot and Xavier Dalton.
Cubs: Brady Kline, Owen Mendoza, Joseph Larson, Taylor Ruckman, Ace Asper, Max Davis, Charles Kroscavage, Amook Bullock, Bryce Smith, Wyatt Balluta and Brian Burns.
*Names and stats courtesy of Ketchikan Little League.