Sitka All Stars Rally Too Late, Lose 11-10

By GARLAND KENNEDY

Sentinel Sports Editor

In a hard-fought baseball game that came down to the wire in the final moments of the sixth inning, Sitka’s Major League All Stars squad rallied but couldn’t overcome Ketchikan and lost 11-10 at Moller Field Tuesday evening.

Sitka All Star baseball player Fisher Steinson steals second base against Ketchikan, Tuesday at Moller Field. Sitka lost 11-10. (Sentinel photo by James Poulson)

The game was the last in a round-robin series that determined seeding for the District 2 All Stars tournament, which begins today.

Sitka will enter the three-way tournament seeded third against Ketchikan and Juneau. The Gastineau Channel Little League team felled Sitka 15-3 Sunday and is seeded first overall.

Ketchikan earned an early lead against Sitka on Tuesday with 3 runs in the first inning and 7 in the third. While Sitka’s players kept their heads above the water with 4 runs in the bottom of the second, the home team failed to score in the first or third.

Halfway through the fourth inning, Sitka’s All Stars were down by 7 runs, but the home team pulled together and scored 2 runs in the bottom of the fourth. Moving into the fifth and sixth, Sitka’s defense held Ketchikan at arm’s length and prevented the away-team from scoring. When Sitka’s 10-, 11- and 12-year-old athletes stepped up to bat in the bottom of the fifth, they were primed to reduce Ketchikan’s lead.

Sitka’s Garrett Johnson hit a run batted in, which was immediately followed by an RBI hit by Nolan Calhoun.

Johnson hit another RBI in the bottom of the sixth as well. He said he stepped up to the plate simply hoping to get on base.

“I was thinking about getting ready, wanting to get on base… It feels like you’re about to hit it over the poles, but really it’s just going like ten feet,” he said. But Johnson wasn’t bunting; both his RBIs came off of solid hits that drove the ball deep into the field.

After Johnson’s sixth inning hit, with the game nearing its conclusion, Calhoun stepped up to bat and made contact with the ball. But his hit was caught in the outfield, giving Sitka their second out of the inning. Ketchikan was up by only one run when another Sitka batter stepped up and struck out, ending the game.

Even as he watched the final moments of play from the dugout, Sitka relief pitcher Gage Radziukinas was optimistic.

“I wasn’t thinking much because I thought we had another inning, to be honest. We were down one run… I thought we were going to win, honestly. I thought Brock (Callahan) was going to hit a walk off or something like that,” Radziukinas recalled. Little League games for the 10 to 12 year old age group span only six innings, while older athletes play seven.

Calhoun seconded Radziukinas’ sentiment. He was under the impression the two teams would play one more inning.

“I thought we were going to have a seventh inning. I didn’t think it mattered that much, because Brock, he usually gets on base,” he said.

Regardless of the loss, he was happy to see his team rebound from a seven-run deficit.

“We had a good comeback,” he said.

Looking back on the game, Sitka pitcher Fisher Steinson stressed the importance of mental resilience.

“Just don’t get down,” he said. “Stay up and stay hyped, so you don’t lose all that energy.”

In today’s upcoming match against Ketchikan, he said good communication will be key. 

His younger brother, Bayler Steinson, said he felt a bit pressured whenever he stepped up to bat.

“I got more pressure from when I would walk up to bat and walk behind the plate. You know, it looks like it’s just crowded, so I would get so much pressure,” the younger Steinson said.

When Calhoun, one of Sitka’s most reliable hitters, walked to the plate, he said, his siblings cheered him on from the bleachers.

Sitka’s dugout and fan section were vocal throughout the game, supporting their batters from the sidelines.

Win or lose, Sitka coach Mike Callahan was happy with how his team performed on the diamond.

“We headed into the sixth inning with a game plan of getting runners on the base and using our bats to move them around. It didn’t work out all the way for us but we pulled it pretty close and I’m pretty happy and proud of the boys,” Callahan said after the game.

Sitka and Ketchikan play again today at 5:30 p.m. at Moller Field in the opening game of the district tournament. The winner of today’s game will face Juneau Thursday evening, while the loser of today’s game will play the loser of Thursday’s game in the consolation bracket on Friday.

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AK COVID-19

At a Glance

(updated 9-28-22)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:15 pm Wednesday, September 28.

New cases as of Wednesday: 546

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 282,928

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,329

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,955

Case Rate per 100,000 – 74.91

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "High.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Case Rate per 100,000 – 117.30

Cases in last 7 days – 10

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,358

Hospitalizations (to date) – 29

Deceased (cumulative) – 7

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.

 

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20 YEARS AGO

September 2002

Photo caption: Bus drivers Derrell John and Sabrina Smith stand next to the new Community Ride buses at Crescent Harbor bus stop, which serves as a transfer point. The two public transportation buses will run two routes, one along Halibut Point Road, the other along Sawmill Creek Road. 

50 YEARS AGO

September 1972

 Photo caption: Bill Willis, the new owner-manager of the Dip’n’ Sip in the Triune Building serves up another ice cream cone for a pleased customer. Bill and his wife Dorothy purchased the business from JoAnne Harris. Along with the ice cream treats, sandwiches and soups will be added to the menu.

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