Nunaka Valley stumbled Thursday in its debut at the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore.
The girls from northeast Anchorage ran into good pitching and timely hitting in a 7-2 loss to Warner Robins, Ga., in a first-round game between the Western Regional champs from Alaska and the Southeast Regional champs from Georgia.
While the loss is a setback for Nunaka Valley, it isn't catastrophic. The game is the first of four pool-play games for the Alaskans, who are in a five-team pool with Georgia, Guam, Italy and Croswell, Mich. The two teams with the best records in pool play advance to semifinal action early next week.
Warner Robins scored three runs in the second, one in the third and three more in the fourth to build a 7-0 lead.
Alaska got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a leadoff single by Kaela Emerson. One out later, Taria Page ripped a triple to drive in Emerson, and then Gabby Meyerson singled to drive in Page.
Alaska managed four hits against a pair of Warner Robins pitchers who walked no one and allowed only six Alaskans to reach base, including three in the fourth inning when Nunaka Valley scored its runs.
The other innings Alaska had baserunners were the second, when Erin Goudreau singled but was thrown out trying to steal second base, and the sixth, when Sydney Smith reached on an error but forced out on a fielder's choice by Page. Page advanced to second on a passed ball but was thrown out trying to steal third.
Heather Breslin pitched six innings and took the loss for Nunaka Valley, giving up eights, walking one and striking out one. Three of the seven runs scored against her were unearned thanks to a pair of errors.
Nunaka Valley, which last week became the first team of 11- and 12-year olds from Alaska to win a regional championship and advance to the World Series, plays Guam today at 4 p.m. Live-stream coverage can be found at www.softballworldseries.com.
On deck for Nunaka Valley
Today -- Guam, 4 p.m.
Saturday -- Milan, Italy, 9 a.m.
Sunday -- No game
Monday -- Croswell, Mich., 7 p.m.
Anchorage Daily News