MARANA, Ariz. - The Milton-Freewater Junior All-Stars started their West Regional tournament rematch with Alaska, a 6-0 victor in a no-hitter against M-F Sunday, just the way they wanted Tuesday night.
Milton-Freewater took a three-run lead in the top of the fourth inning against the same pitchers they faced Sunday.
But Alaska showed the ability it had to reach the World Series two years ago to tie it up in the bottom of the fourth, and plated two more runs in the fifth to win the game, 5-3, and advance to the World Series next week in Kirkland, Wash.
Despite its second-place finish at the regional, M-F's celebrated as if they'd won, manager Lance Bullock said.
"Normally after a game (defeat) there's a lot of crying," he said. "Yesterday was not that way. They're talking about the future. They held their heads up. They wanted to win, but they were happy. It was like it was no big deal.
"I've been with some of the girls since they were 6 years old, and they've matured," Bullock said. "Everybody loves to win, but they're accepting of the fact they can't beat everybody. They didn't used to be able to do that."
Milton-Freewater had two hits apiece from Stefanie Copeland, Nicole Hendley and Colette Robert en route to racking up 11 hits against Alaska.
Robert pitched the first four innings before Taylor Entze took over in the circle.
"The girls played an outstanding game, probably the best game of the tournament," Bullock said. "The girls had a really good game offensively and defensively."
Bullock said the team's enthusiasm for the future led players to request batting practice this morning, but he told them to take the day off and go to the waterpark.
"I'm tired," he said.
The trip to Arizona was the first out of the Northwest for many of the players.
"They got to see some things they've never seen before," Bullock said, including a tarantula crawling up a hotel wall.
"They screamed and got pictures of it," he said. "But that was a highlight. It was a neat trip.
"I can't say more about the girls," Bullock said. "Their desire and passion is unbelievable. Everyday we played I saw the girls getting better and better. I was really impressed.
"I'm looking forward to their future."
Alaska 5, M-F 3
M-F 002 100 0 - 3 11 1
Alaska 000 320 x - 5 11 3
Robert, Entze (5) and Woodhall. Trejo, Olveia (5) and Moreno.
HR - none.
Hits - M-F: Woodhall, Streeter, Copeland 2, Robert 2, Hendley 2, Biggs, Kelly, Entze. Alaska: NA.