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Thompson homers twice, has 5 RBIs for Pacific Lutheran

 Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson had a historic day at the plate Sunday for Pacific Lutheran University.

The sophomore infielder clubbed a pair of home runs and drove in five runs as PLU beat the league’s second-place team Willamette 11-5 in Oregon.

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, finished 4-for-5 with 11 total bases in one of the greatest days at the plate for an Alaska hitter at the college level.

He also doubled, singled and walked, and scored three times as PLU beat Willamette for the third time this season.

Thompson is batting .221 in 35 games, although he’s been red hot since April 12 [.312, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs].

The starting third baseman leads the team in RBIs [16] and plate appearances [150] while ranking second in total bases [46] and home runs [3] and third in runs [15].

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage.

Once rivals, Ibesate, Cleveland now teammates at Shasta

They were on opposite sides when they played Legion in Alaska, but now Anchorage’s Mahlon Cleveland and Juneau’s Lance Ibesate are teammates at Shasta College in California.

And when Cleveland picked up his first collegiate win in an 8-6 win over Butte it was Ibesate who helped chip in.

Cleveland, of Dimond Post 21 fame, came out of the pen to throw 4.1 innings of shutout relief. The freshman right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.70 in 13.1 innings.

This was his sixth scoreless outing in eight appearances this season.

Ibesate reached base twice in four at-bats on a double and a walk. He scored twice in the game, including an insurance run in the eighth inning.

The sophomore second baseman bats leadoff for Shasta and is its best player. He leads the team with a .301 batting average, seven doubles and nine stolen bases in 30 games.

Ibesate has hit safely in 11 of the last 14 games.

A few days ago he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and five RBIs. He has driven in 13 runs on the season.

Shasta [14-18] sits in third place in the Golden Valley division of the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage.

Ferntheil signs with Cochise College baseball in Arizona

Second chances are rare in life, but 19-year-old pitcher Zach Ferntheil of Anchorage got a redo last month in Arizona.

And now he’ll get another shot in college baseball.

The 2012 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year from Service High has signed with Cochise College, a premier JC program in Arizona. 

“It was a situation where it seemed right,” he told me. “All coaches have their recruiting pitches and theirs sit best with me. Arizona was definitely a plus.”

Ferntheil played last season at Calhoun Community College in Alabama, where he won his season debut and posted a 6.30 ERA in 10 innings over three appearances. He left and was in need of a new team.

Enter Tony Wylie of the Alaska Baseball Academy. The former high school state championship coach at East has a ton of contacts in baseball and got Ferntheil a chance to pitch for Lagley Blaze manager Doug Mathieson.

“I gotta give a shout out to Doug because he said yes,” Fernthiel said.

The 6-foot-1 right-hander played with the Blaze during last month’s exhibition series in Arizona against minor league teams in front of dozens of college scouts. That’s where he met the coaches from Cochise.

“They were looking for a guy to come in and throw 80 to 100 innings and I definitely I feel like that’s something I’d be able to do,” Ferntheil said. “Previously I think I kind of got off track and didn’t really focus on pitching, but I think I figured that out and I’m so much more prepared.”

For starters, he simplified his approach. Don’t think, just throw. And throw strikes.

“I try to be executed oriented rather than outcome oriented, and by that I mean, I just want to throw a strike rather than thinking I’m going to walk him if I throw a ball,” he said. “It’s college baseball; you’re not facing MLB hitters. You don’t have to throw 95 and have great off-speed to get guys out. Stay around the zone and you’ll be alright because most hitters will get themselves out.”

Starter, reliever, it doesn’t matter – Ferntheil is ready to pitch in any situation for Cochise next season.

“I’m going in with the mindset that I’m trying to see how good I can be and wherever I fit in is where I fit in,” he said. “It’s important to continue to compete, and if you give up a hit, it’s not a big deal, it doesn’t need to cause a snowball effect.  It’s only a failure if you don’t learn from it. If you do crappy, you work hard and come back more focused next time and get the job done.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage.

Alaskans shine like a diamond on college baseball fields

Whether it was hitting, pitching, or both, college baseball players from Alaska had a wonderful weekend in the Lower 48.

At Mayville State, Anchorage’s Aaron Miller continued his Tony Gwynn impersonation with a 6-for-13 performance in a four-game series against Presentation College in a battle of the Dakotas.

This guy is hitting .402 in 45 career games at the NAIA school.

Miller, of Service High, drove in six runs in the series and lifted his average to .366 in 32 games this season. He has hit safely in nine straight games.

The sophomore left fielder is the king of contact, with just 12 strikeouts in 100 plate appearances. In fact, he has whiffed only once since March 20.

At Whitman College, Aaron Cohen of Juneau continues to lead the NCAA D3 Northwest Conference in RBIs with 34 in 33 games. 

The senior utility player is batting .344 after going 4-for-12 in a three-game series against Pacific in Oregon. He drove in two runs in Game 2 and doubled and scored in Game 3.

Cohen leads the team with 13 doubles and is tied for the team lead in home runs with three.

He also pitched over the weekend, throwing five innings and allowing two earned runs and six overall. He is 3-4 with a 3.64 ERA in nine appearances. 

At Western Nevada College, Anchorage’s Max Karnos struck out a season-high eight batters against league-leader Salt Lake Community College in Utah.

The right-hander left the game down 4-3 in the fourth inning. WNC eventually lost 6-3 in a battle between the top two JC teams in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.

Karnos slipped to 4-2 in nine starts. The former Cook Inlet Conference player of the year out of South High has a 3.86 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 53.2 innings.

Western Nevada has won 27 games so far this season and is seeking its third trip to the NJCAA World Series in the past six years.

 At the University of Dallas, Josh Crapps of Anchorage saved the day in the finale of a three-game NCAA D3 series against Chapman University in California. 

He came out of the bullpen to throw 3.1 scoreless innings in a 10-0 loss.

Crapps, of South High fame, was the lone bright spot for Dallas, which turned to the right-hander in the first inning after two previous pitchers fell behind 9-0 and were chased from the game.

After a slow start to the season, in part because he was coming off an injury, Crapps has since lowered his ERA to 4.91 in 18.1 innings. He has a 1-2 record and 14 Ks.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage.

Sonderlund dominating relief role for Gateway CC in Arizona

After missing each of the last two seasons, Torgen Soderlund of Fairbanks appears to be making up for lost time at Gateway Community College in Arizona.

The right-handed relief pitcher has a 0.79 ERA in nine appearances for one of the best teams in the conference.

Gateway is tied for third in the ACCAC with a 27-13 record, 16-8 in league.

Soderlund, of Lathrop High fame, has a 1-1 record with one save and 10 strikeouts in 11.1 innings.

The 6-foot-3 freshman originally signed with Western Nevada College out of high school and redshirted. Then he sat out last year to recover from an injury.

“Now he’s back on the mound like he never left,” his high school Tyler Hollister said.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage.

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Current Standings

Cook Inlet Conference Varsity Standings
Team League Overall
Bartlett 0-0 0-0
Chugiak 0-0 0-0
Dimond 0-0 0-0
Eagle River 0-0 0-0
East 0-0 0-0
Service 0-0 0-0
South 0-0 0-0
West 0-0 0-0


Cook Inlet Conference JV Standings
Team League Overall
Chugiak 0-0 0-0
Dimond 0-0 0-0
Eagle River 0-0 0-0
East 0-0 0-0
Service 0-0 0-0
South-Gold 0-0 0-0
South-Black 0-0 0-0
West 0-0 0-0


Alaska Legion AA American Division
Team Points League Overall
Dimond Post 21 0 0-0 0-0
East Post 34 0 0-0 0-0
Juneau Post 25 0 0-0 0-0
Ketchikan Post 3 0 0-0 0-0
Service Post 28 0 0-0 0-0
South Post 4 0 0-0 0-0
Wasilla Post 35 0 0-0 0-0
West Post 1 0 0-0 0-0


Alaska Legion AA National Division
Team Points League Overall
Bartlett Post 29 0 0-0 0-0
Chugiak Post 33 0 0-0 0-0
Eagle River 0 0-0 0-0
Fairbanks Post 11 0 0-0 0-0
Fairbanks Post 30 0 0-0 0-0
Kenai Post 20 0 0-0 0-0
Kodiak Post 17 0 0-0 0-0
Palmer Post 15 0 0-0 0-0




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