SOFTBALL WESTERN REGION: Shelby Dunwell pitches Montana to championship game

Shelby Dunwell. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


July 20-26: Arthur Pack

Garden City (Montana) defeated Nunaka Valley (Alaska) 7-0 on Monday night to advance to the championship game of the Junior Softball Western Regional taking place at Arthur Pack. Alaska (2-1) is still alive in the double-elimination format and will play Cedar American (Utah) on Tuesday night for one last shot at the championship game scheduled for Wednesday night.

Utah (3-1) lost to Alaska 7-4 on Friday night but then won two elimination games to force a rematch. The winner of that game will have to defeat Montana twice to win the regional.

In other action, Burbank (Southern California) beat Apache Junction (Arizona) 15-4 in the final game of the Consolation Bracket.

Shelby Dunwell (3-0) picked up nine strikeouts from the circle and scattered four hits to lead Montana past Alaska. Dunwell got all the offensive help she would need in the bottom of the second after Grace Hardy doubled and then advanced to third on a passed ball where Emily Hermes brought her in on a groundout for the 1-0 lead.

Montana would add another run in the bottom of the third and five more in the sixth to close out the game. Dunwell helped her cause by going 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and Josie Caye went 3-4 with an RBI.

Keena Kay had a double, as did Hardy and McKenzie Wright, and Morgan Holmes had an RBI. Lexie Davis went 2-3 to lead Alaska. Pese Matautia and Laila Tosi picked up hits.

Alaska loaded the bases in the top of the first with one out thanks to singles by Davis and Matautia and a hit-by-pitch issued to Tosi but Dunwell picked up two of her nine strikeouts to end the threat. Only two runners from Alaska would reach second base the rest of the way.

“I hit my corners because I knew they were big hitters so I avoided putting my pitches over the plate,” Dunwell said.

“I have a lot of confidence in my teammates and know that even if it was 0-0 we were going to battle through that and get what we can,” she added.

Montana will enjoy a day off on Tuesday while Alaska battles Utah. The team from Missoula took in a Diamondback game earlier in the week.

Utah’s Denim Henkel has three home runs and 10 RBI and Matautia has two home runs for Alaska.

Monday, July 24
Montana 7, Alaska 0
Utah 12, No. California 1
So. California 15, Apache Junction 4

Tuesday, July 25
Alaska vs. Utah, 5 p.m.

Wednesday, July 26
Championship Game: 5 p.m.
Montana vs. Alaska/Utah


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com


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