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Montana ends Service's season with 12-1 win at NWCART

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 5, 2017

The Red Sox benefited from four Service errors, with 9 of the 12 runs coming unearned against pitchers Jaren Childs, Cobey Cupp and Andrew Jaidinger.

The Bitterroot Red Sox of Montana scored early and often en route to a 12-1 victory in seven innings over Service Post 28 in an elimination game at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Eugene, Oregon.

 

Montana led 1-0 after the first inning, 4-0 after the second and 10-0 after the third.

 

The Red Sox benefited from four Service errors, with 9 of the 12 runs coming unearned against pitchers Jaren Childs, Cobey Cupp and Andrew Jaidinger.

 

The Cougars got an RBI double from Ronan Klancher. Nathan Cole and Carsen Sandau delivered Service's other two base hits.

 

Service, the state runner-up, finished the season 22-11.

 

Last year, the Cougars won a game at the NWCART. Alaska teams have racked up five victories at the tournament since 2013.

 

NWCART host Oregon buries Service 16-2 on Day 1

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 4, 2017

Too much pitching and too much hitting proved too much to overcome for Service Post 28 during a 16-2 loss to tournament host North Willamette Valley in Eugene, Oregon.

Too much pitching and too much hitting proved too much to overcome for Service Post 28 during a 16-2 loss to tournament host North Willamette Valley in Eugene, Oregon.

 

Day 1 of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament was not kind to the Cougars, who made six errors and got outhit 12-3.

 

Three Oregon pitchers combined to strike out 10 batters.

 

Service's Cooper Bailey-Parsons went 2-for-4 and Raleigh Pigg and Chris Maladogi each reached base three times.

 

Ronan Klancher and Antonio Perez scores runs for the Alaska state runner-up, which fell to 22-10 on the summer.

 

Service will face Bitterroot, Montana, in an elimination game Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ADT.

 

Alaska teams have won five times at the NWCART since 2013.

McCurley's gem can't save Juneau from elimination

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 3, 2017

The pitching gem will go down as one of the finest postseason performances by an Alaska Legion player and allowed Juneau to flirt with Alaska’s first victory at Northwest Regionals since 2009.

Donavin McCurley gave Juneau Post 25 every chance to win and give Alaska its first victory at the American Legion Baseball Northwest Regional in almost 10 years.

 

The right-hander pitched scoreless frames in six of eight innings but was doomed by unearned runs in 3-1 loss to Lewiston, Idaho, in a regional elimination game in Missoula, Montana.

 

McCurley threw only 89 pitches in his complete-game effort, only to suffer the loss. He deserved better.

 

He allowed eight hits and walked just one batter. He did not register a strikeout.

 

McCurley’s gem will go down as one of the finest postseason performances by an Alaska Legion pitcher. It allowed Juneau to flirt with Alaska’s first victory at Northwest Regionals since South Post 4 beat Cheyenne, Wyoming, 5-4 in 2009.

 

Juneau slugger Bobby Cox lined a two-out RBI single up the middle in the sixth inning to score Bryce Swofford from second base and deliver the lone run for the state champion Midnight Suns.

 

Cox was the only Juneau player to have run-scoring base hits in both games at regionals. He finished the tournament 4-for-7 at the plate.

 

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Juneau committed two errors that doubled the deficit. Both runs Lewiston scored in the second inning were unearned as well.

 

Lewiston improved to 36-11 on the year and advanced in regional play while Juneau's championship season ended at 27-5.

 

Led by McCurley, Juneau’s pitching staff gave up a total of 16 runs in two games – the fewest by an Alaska team at regionals in at least the last 10 years.

 

Fewest Runs Allowed at Northwest Regionals

**Since 2008

16 Juneau 2017

26 Chugiak 2008

26 South 2009

26 Chugiak 2013

27 Kenai 2016

Most Runs Scored at Northwest Regionals

**Since 2008

11 South 2014

10 Kenai 2012

9 South 2009

7 Chugiak 2015

6 Three tied

Juneau suffers 13-2 loss to host Montana at NW Regionals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 2, 2017

The fifth inning proved pivotal as Missoula, Montana, scored two runs in the top half and Juneau lined into a double play to thwart a two-on, one-out threat in the bottom half.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns were right there. They trailed Missoula, Montana, 4-1 but had two runners on base. A base hit could have changed the game.

 

But it never came.

 

Missed opportunities cost Juneau as the Montana state champions took advantage of their chances and prevailed 13-2 in eight innings on Day 1 of the American Legion Northwest Regional in Missoula, Montana.

 

The tournament home team banged out 18 hits and scored two or more runs four times, including three in the sixth and four in the eighth.

 

The 13 runs were the most the Midnight Suns have given up in 31 games this season. Juneau starter Phillip Wall gave up more earned runs in 4.2 innings today than he did in 25 innings in Alaska.

 

Many Alaska state champions have suffered a similar fate at the Northwest Regional, where our Double-A teams square off against larger Triple-A teams that play twice as many games.

 

Missoula improved to 53-25 this season, while Juneau dropped to 27-4.

 

The Midnight Suns were in the game at the midway point before things got out of hand.

 

The fifth inning proved pivotal as Montana scored two runs in the top half and Juneau lined into a double play to thwart a two-on, one-out threat in the bottom half.

 

Juneau’s Donavin McCurley went 3-for-4 with a run and Zeb Storie and Bobby Cox each went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

 

Other highlights included Bryce Swofford’s double, Finn Collins’ 10-pitch at-bat that led to a walk and Quin Gist’s pinch-hit single.

 

Juneau slipped into the loser's bracket, where the Midnight Suns will  face Idaho in an elimination game on Thursday morning.

Juneau, Service highlight ALB Team of Excellence picks

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 31, 2017

State champion Juneau Post 25 and state runner-up Service Post 28 each had five players and a coach voted to the Alaska Legion Baseball Team of Excellence.

State champion Juneau Post 25 and state runner-up Service Post 28 each had five players and a coach voted to the Alaska Legion Baseball Team of Excellence.

 

Together, the two teams accounted for 38 percent of the all-state selections.

 

Juneau’s Zeb Storie, Bryce Swofford, Kasey Watts, Alex Muir and Donavin McCurley joined head coach Joe Tompkins on the Team of Excellence.

 

The Service selections were Raleigh Pigg, Cooper Bailey-Parsons, Ronan Klancher, Cobey Cupp, Jaren Childs and head coach Willie Paul.

 

The Team of Excellence was voted on by coaches from the 16 Legion AA clubs in Alaska before the postseason started.

 

Alaska Legion Baseball Team of Excellence

**Stats based on 18 league games

Infield

Dylan Montagna Dimond .379AVG 13RBI 10XBH .621SLG

Chris Crespo West .422AVG 21RBI 13R 7XBH .600SLG

Zeb Storie Juneau .519AVG 31R 11RBI 6XBH

Paul Steffensen Kenai .433AVG 12RBI 29R 1HR .552SLG

Jake Andresen Dimond .312AVG 11R 8RBI 1HR .625SLG

Raleigh Pigg Service .364AVG 20R 13RBI 4XBH

Ben Werner Wasilla .492AVG 27RBI 23R 9XBH .632SLG

Anthony Maldonado South .314AVG 18RBI 16R 9XBH .632SLG

Cooper Bailey-Parsons Service .353AVG 8RBI 12R

Bryce Swofford Juneau .408AVG 23RBI 16R 7XBH

Outfield

Ronan Klancher Service .403AVG 11RBI 23R 1HR 9XBH

Vonche Wood Fairbanks[30] .452AVG 12R 5RBI 1.000FLD

Derek McGinnis South .377AVG 24RBI 19R 9XBH

Scott Larionoff Kodiak .395AVG 12R 6R 3XBH

Kasey Watts Juneau .429AVG 26RBI 21R 9XBH

Cody Leslie South .350AVG 19RBI 21R 3XBH

Starting Pitcher

Jake Andresen Dimond 3-0W/L 2.33ERA 25K 17.1IP

Hank Boyer Wasilla 2-0W/L 3.33ERA 46K 3SV 33IP

Leland Wilson West 3-2W/L 1.81ERA 54K 31IP

Jaren Childs Service 1-0 1.98ERA 10K 13.2IP

Gaten Davis East 5-0W/L 3.03ERA 45K 35.2IP

Gage Webster South 2-1W/L 2.73ERA 46K 34IP

Isaac Roehl Fairbanks[11]

Zeb Storie Juneau 4-0W/L 1.48ERA 21K 24.1IP

Relief Pitcher

Kaden Roetteger Dimond 1.17ERA 20IP

Luis Nunez West 3-1W/L 3.82ERA 3SV 21K 22IP

Cobey Cupp Service 4-0W/L 1.20ERA 9K 15IP

Catcher

Jeffrey Forster Wasilla 11XBH .750CS% .950FLD

Cody Quelland Kenai .398AVG 18RBI 18R 3XBH .463SLG

Kyle Henrickson Dimond .543AVG 17RBI 11R 8XBH .829SLG

Alex Muir Juneau .447AVG 18RBI 9R 1HR 8XBH

Utility

Donavin McCurley Juneau .371AVG 10RBI 22R 2-1W/L 0.39ERA

Kyle Graham Wasilla 16RBI

Jaren Childs Service .350AVG 23RBI 15R 1-0W/L 1.98ERA

Coaches of the Year

Willie Paul Service

Joe Tompkins Juneau

Ken Ottinger Wasilla

HONORABLE MENTION

Infield

Samuel Hall Chugiak

Chase Reed Fairbanks 30

Michael Star Ketchikan

Isaac Roehl Fairbanks 11

Cobey Cupp Service

Ryan Wood Bartlett

Kendall Ruta Wasilla

Sterling Retzlaff Eagle River

Damian Mohl South

Outfield

Ian Frizelle Chugiak

Cameron Butler Chugiak

Robert Cox Juneau

Shawn Jones West

Michael Richter Fairbanks 11

Ian Byrd Bartlett

Kam Williams Eagle River

Starting Pitcher

Mose Hayes Kenai

Sean Gardeline Dimond

Ian Frizelle Chugiak

Shaun Walton Kodiak

Wyatt Brajas Ketchikan

Ronan Klancher Service

Ryan Wood Bartlett

Braden Olmstead Eagle River

Relief Pitcher

Samuel Hall Chugiak

Catcher

Luke Langnes West

Chris Malagodi Service

Utility

Seth Adkins Kenai

Mose Hayes Kenai

DJ Davis Chugiak

Shaun Walton Kodiak

Luis Nunez West

Juneau beats Service 3-1 for first state title since 1984

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2017

Tournament MVP Zeb Storie hit the go-ahead single in the fifth inning and scored an insurance run in the eighth inning to highlight the victory at Mulcahy Stadium.

The best team in the regular season doesn't always translate to the postseason.

 

But the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns were the real deal from beginning to end.

 

Fueled by exception speed, Juneau's fine-tuned machine was clicking on all cylinders as the Southeast power beat a pair of Anchorage powers in Service Post 28 and South Post 4 in back-to-back ALB state tournament games at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Top-seeded Juneau claimed the title with a 3-1 win over No. 2 seed Service to claim the Post's first state championship since 1984 and third overall.

 

Coach Joe Tompkins' team won 27 of 30 games this summer and will represent Alaska at next month's Legion AAA Northwest Regional in Missoula, Montana.

 

Tournament MVP Zeb Storie hit the go-ahead single in the fifth inning and scored an insurance run in the eighth inning to highlight the victory over Service.

 

Juneau's Finn Collins came out of the bullpen to throw 6.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win.

 

Service starter Jaren Childs allowed five hits over seven innings of work to take a hard-luck loss.

 

The Cougars [22-9] and coach Willie Paul will represent Alaska at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament next month in Eugene, Oregon.

 

Juneau and Service have been neck-and-neck all season and it was no surprise this one came down to the wire.

 

Three of their previous meetings this season resulted in 4-3 decisions, with two of them coming in walkoff fashion.

 

They finished 2-2 against each other in leauge and tournament games, the series separated by a single run.

 

Earlier in the day, Juneau came from behind to shock South 6-5 in 11 innings.

 

It was shocking in the sense that South led 5-1 going into the bottom of the eighth with ace Parker Johnson on the mound.

 

Juneau tied the game with only one base hit leaving the infield. They manufactored runs with bunts, stolen bases, walks and errors.

 

The Midnight Suns run the bases better than any team in Alaska and their willingness to take an extra base at every chance constantly keeps pressure on a pitcher and the defense.

 

In the 11th, Storie singled with one out to start the winning rally. That was followed by a single from Donavin McCurley and then an intentional walk to Kasey Watts.

 

That brought up clean up hitter Bryce Swofford, who bounced one to third base, where the ball was mishandled and allowed Storie to score the winning run.

 

Storie was involved in all of the defining plays today, leading to his MVP recognition. He led the tournament with 11 hits, scored seven runs and reached base at a .652 clip.

 

Service's Cooper Bailey-Parsons was named Big Stick after batting .455 with five RBIs in five games. Half of his hits went for extra bases and he delivered a number of big hits for the Cougars during tournament play.

 

South's Terren Sugita was named Top Pitcher after flirting with a no-hitter for 8.2 innings before coming up just short at making history. Nonetheless, the right-hander was remarkable. He had a 1.74 ERA over 10.1 innings at state.

 

West center fielder Shawn Jones won the tournament's Gold Glove Award for his speedy coverage and rocket right arm.

 

Ketchikan beats Eagle River 7-2 for Matson championship

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2017

Liam Kiffer drove in the winning run in the first game and then struck out 11 batters in the second game to help Post 3 knock off previously undefeated Eagle River.

Liam Kiffer was a two-way terror for the Ketchikan Post 3 Kings, driving in the winning run in the first game and pitching a complete game in the second meeting with previously undefeated Eagle River in the Matson Invitational at Bartlett High School.

 

Kiffer's bunt single scored Justin Albecker to cap an thrilling 5-4 win in 11 innings that forced the if-necessary game, which Ketchikan won 7-2 behind Kiffer's 11 strikeouts.

 

Coach John Milner's team won nine of its final 10 games this season and finished 15-14 overall.

 

The Kings also avenged an 11-4 loss to Eagle River earlier in the double-elimination tournament.

 

In the first game, Eagle River took a 4-2 lead in the top of the 11th on RBIs from Kam Williams and Josh Agron.

 

They were three outs away from winning the championship.

 

But Ketchikan answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, to force the if-necessary game.

 

There, Kiffer tossed a six-hitter with double-digit strikeouts and Ketchikan broke the game open with a five-spot in the second inning.

South doubles up Service 6-3 to stay alive at State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 28, 2017

Post 4 leadoff hitter Damian Mohl collected a game-high three hits and two RBIs and Cody Leslie came out of the bullpen to earn the win as the Wolverines survived elimination to beat Post 28 in the st…

65th ALB State Tournament

Day 3

 

South 6, Service 3

 

Post 4 leadoff hitter Damian Mohl collected a game-high three hits and two RBIs and Cody Leslie came out of the bullpen to earn the win as the Wolverines survived elimination to beat Post 28 in the state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Anthony Maldonado reached base five times, including a double. He also earned four of his team’s 16 walks in the game.

 

Four Service pitchers worked around trouble the entire evening, and for the most part kept the game from getting out of hand as South stranded 20 runners on base.

 

Parker Johnson, Terren Sugita, Maldonado and Leslie added RBIs for the Wolverines [19-12].

 

Leslie pitched 6.2 innings and scattered six hits and seven walks while giving up all three runs.

 

Austin DeLesline got the final five outs to record the save. He wiggled out of a jam in the ninth after allowing back-to-back singles to open the inning.

 

It was the first loss in four tournament games for second-seeded Service [22-8], which had already guaranteed itself a spot in the championship game before taking the field.

 

Service’s Raleigh Pigg, Cooper Bailey-Parsons and Cobey Cupp each banged out two hits. Ronan Klancher had a single, run, RBI and two of the game's three stolen bases.

 

South scored two runs in each of the first, fourth and sixth innings and outhit the Cougars 10-8.

 

Fourth-seeded South will face No. 1 Juneau at 3 p.m. Saturday, with the winner advancing to face Service in the state championship game at 6:30 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

Dimond hits a Wall as Juneau pitcher highlights 4-2 win

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 28, 2017

Juneau's Phillip Wall pitched a complete game and the speedy Post 25 Midnight Suns showcased their savvy base-running to avoid elimination at the state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

65th ALB State Tournament

Day 3

 

Juneau 4, Dimond 2 - elimination game

 

Phillip Wall went the distance and pitched the top-seeded Post 25 Midnight Suns to a season-saving victory over the Post 21 Lynx in an elimination game at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

The right-hander carried a shutout into the eighth inning and walked only one in a complete game effort. He allowed eight hits and two runs, getting a ground out with two runners on to end the game.

 

Dimond starter Kyler Maisey was just as sharp on the mound as the righty held hard-hitting Juneau to just one hit over five-plus frames.

 

He gave up all four runs, but two were unearned and he never gave up more than one run per inning.

 

Juneau’s speed was too much to overcome. The Midnight Suns [25-3] are probably the most lethal team on the bases and that element played to pivotal in each of their four runs.

 

Zeb Storie was a key component in helping Juneau manufacture runs in each of the first and third innings. Both times he led off with a walk.

 

The first time he stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a ground out. The second time he went first to third on a base hit and scored on a wild pitch.

 

In the fourth, Finn Collins reached second base on an error, stole third and scored on a ground out.

 

Bobby Cox and Alex Muir combined to give Juneau a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning after Cox reached on an error, stole second and scored on Muir’s double.

 

Even trailing 4-0, and playing shorthanded, fifth-seeded Dimond didn’t quit.

 

In the eighth, the Lynx loaded the bases and scored runs on Sean Carey’s single – one of his three hits – and Jesse Boese’s fielder’s choice.

 

Dimond’s Kaden Roettger delivered base hits in both the eighth and ninth innings, including a two-out double in the last frame to put two runners in scoring position and give his team a chance to tie the game in its final at-bat.

 

In the end, the Lynx hit a Wall.

 

Dimond saw its season end at 23-18. Juneau advanced to Saturday’s 3 p.m. game against South, a 6-3 winner in the late game.

Deja vu: Service edges Juneau 4-3 in battle of unbeatens

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 27, 2017

Service first baseman Nathan Cole’s defensive gem on the game's final out robbed Bryce Swofford of a base hit and was inches from delivering Juneau a sure-thing walkoff win.

65th ALB State Tournament

Day 3

 

Service 4, Juneau 3 - winner's bracket

 

Post 28 pitchers Raleigh Pigg and Andrew Jaidinger shut out the potent Post 25 offense over the final seven innings to lead the Cougars in the matchup between unbeatens on Day 3 at the state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Pigg started and earned the win after dancing around trouble all night with seven strong innings. Jaidinger got the final six outs to earn the save, highlighted by a web gem from first baseman Nathan Cole on the final out to end a bases-loaded threat.

 

It was the third time in two weeks that Service and Juneau played to a 4-3 decision, with the clubs exchanging walkoff wins two weeks ago in the capital city.

 

The win guaranteed Service a spot in the state championship game Saturday.

 

More on that later.

 

Service [22-7] took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Pigg clubbed a solo home run. The lead didn’t last, however, as Juneau tied it in the bottom half of the inning and then took a 3-1 lead in the second on base knocks by Owen Mendoza and Alex Muir.

 

Service pulled within a run in the fourth on Sam Bourdon's sacrifice fly and then tied it in the fifth, thanks in part to Pigg's sac bunt that led to Cooper Bailey-Parsons' RBI ground out.

 

That's right, the same guy that homered in his first at-bat laid down a bunt in his third at-bat to move baserunners.

 

Pigg and Juneau starter Bobby Cox were locked in a 3-3 tie after six innings. It was anybody’s game.

 

In the seventh, Ronan Klancher singled and Pigg walked to put runners on first and second. Klancher stole third and came around to score on Cobey Cupp’s sac fly.

 

Cupp finished 2-for-3 with the game winning RBI. He also filled in nicely at shortstop with Pigg on the mound.

 

Jaidinger entered the game in the eighth and had a 1-2-3 inning. In the ninth, though, he would load the bases with one out before striking out No. 3 hitter Kasey Watts.

 

That set up a tough matchup with cleanup hitter Bryce Swofford, a 6-foot-7 slugger. Swofford scorched a Jaidinger pitch down the first-base line that Cole snagged for the final out, with the ball nearly taking the glove off his hand.

 

Cole’s defensive gem robbed Swofford of a base hit and was inches from delivering Juneau a sure-thing walkoff win.

 

It was just Juneau’s third loss in 27 games this summer.

 

Friday’s schedule features just two games and could see two more teams eliminated.

 

Juneau faces Dimond at 3 p.m. in an elimination game and Service plays South at 6:30 p.m. As the last unbeaten, Service could still lose a game and not be eliminated while another loss would end South’s season.

Dimond outlasts West 5-4 in 13-inning elimination game

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 27, 2017

Dimond's Kyle Henrickson played a huge role as he picked up the win as a relief pitcher and drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to help the Lynx [23-17] stay alive in the state tournament.

65th ALB State Tournament

Day 3

 

Dimond 5, West 4 - elimination game

 

In an epic battle that featured big plays, five lead changes and tons of drama the Post 21 Lynx outlasted the Post 1 Eagles in a 13-inning elimination game at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Dimond's Kyle Henrickson played a huge role as he picked up the win as a relief pitcher and drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to help the Lynx [23-17] stay alive in the state tournament.

 

In Dimond's final at-bat, Kobe Vanderwood led off with a walk and went to second after Sean Carey singled. With runners on first and second, Jesse Boese reached on a bunt single - his fifth hit of the game - to load the bases.

 

That brought up Henrickson, who lofted a flyball to center field to score the winning run ahead of Shawn Jones' throw home. Just one inning earlier Jones had thrown out a runner trying to score from third base on a fly ball.

 

The Henrickson brothers - Kyle and younger bro Ryan - pitched the final 5.2 innings for Dimond. Kyle Henrickson also had three RBIs, including the game winner.

 

The teams combined for 26 hits by 16 different players so everybody came to play.

 

West's Tom Zettler had two hits and pitched nine innings, scattering 11 hits and three walks in the no decision.

 

The Eagles led 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3 but couldn't shut the door. Nonetheless, West should be congratulated for making the state tournament for the first time since 2011.

 

Four years ago, this program went 0-18 in league. Today the Eagles stood toe-to-toe with one of the most explosive teams in the state.

 

Dimond is a perennial postseason contender that advanced to the final four for the fourth time since 2010.

South beats Chugiak 2-1 in 10 innings in pitcher's duel

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 27, 2017

Starters Terren Sugita of South and Garrett Nevells of Chugiak both pitched nine innings and matched goose eggs for eight innings as the game was scoreless entering the ninth inning.

65th ALB State Tournament

Day 3

South 2, Chugiak 1 – elimination game

In a game dominated by starting pitching, it was timely hitting in the later stages that actually played the biggest role in the Post 4 Wolverines’ come-from-behind win over the Post 33 Mustangs.

 

Gage Webster singled to lead off the 10th inning and later scored when Josh Costello laced an opposite-field single to knock in the winning run and knock Chugiak out of the state tournament in the elimination game at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Starters Terren Sugita of South and Garrett Nevells of Chugiak both pitched nine innings and matched goose eggs for eight innings as the game was scoreless entering the ninth inning.

 

Sugita threw a no-hitter for 8.2 innings before Mason Peace lined a single up the middle that scored Sam Hall with the game’s first run.

 

Hall reached base after he walked, stole second base and raced home to easily beat the throw to the plate.

 

However, South tied it in the bottom of the ninth after Derek McGinnis led off with a triple and later scored on an error.

 

The game went into extra innings, thus denying both starters a decision although both Sugita and Nevells pitched beautifully to keep their team’s season alive in this loser-bracket game.

 

Both starters also got terrific defense from their catchers to help them along.

 

Chugiak’s Trystan Costanios made a diving grab on a foul ball and a South baserunner at third base with one out in the seventh. And South’s Costello threw out two baserunners in the ninth.

Juneau, Service unscathed after first two days of State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 26, 2017

The No. 1 Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns and No. 2 Service Post 28 Cougars both posted victories Wednesday to set up a crucial winner's bracket game Thursday night at 5:30.

The top two seeds in the 65th Alaska Legion Baseball State Tournament are the last two unbeatens after two days of action at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

The No. 1 Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns and No. 2 Service Post 28 Cougars both posted victories Wednesday to set up a crucial winner's bracket game Thursday night at 5:30.

 

Juneau got there after surviving a wild game with South Post 4, earning an 8-7 win in the bottom of the ninth inning after Alex Muir earned a bases-loaded walk to score Finn Collins with the winning run.

 

It was the second walkoff winner for Muir in the last two weeks. Collins picked up the win with 1.2 innings of relief as Juneau [24-2] extended its winning streak to 9 games.

 

South's Cody Leslie tied the game at 7-7 after he flared a two-out, two-strike single in shallow right centerfield. The hit was especially rewarding for Leslie after he misplayed a base hit in right field that allowed the go-ahead run to score.

 

Parker Johnson and Terren Sugita reached base four times for Wolverines, who dropped into the loser's bracket.

 

Service beat West Post 1 by a 6-1 score thanks to precise pitching and MVP candidate Cooper Bailey-Parsons, who continued his terrific two-way play.

 

Bailey-Parsons went 3-for-3 with a walk, stolen base, two runs and an RBI at the plate. Defensively, the rocket-armed catcher threw out a couple more baserunners.

 

He is now batting 7-for-9 in two games at the state tournament.

 

Pitchers Ronan Klancher, Henry Helgeson, Cam Lautaret and Chris Malagodi combined for a two-hitter for Service [21-7].

 

Service and Juneau have met four times this season, but the only two that really mattered were the back-to-back league games two weeks ago in Juneau when the teams exchanged 4-3 walkoff wins.

 

The two teams have a recent postseason history, with many of the same players still on the field.

 

In 2016, Service beat Juneau 8-6 to deny Juneau a trip to a regional tournament. In 2015, Juneau beat Service 5-1 to cost Service a trip to the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament.

 

In elimination games, Chugiak Post 33 beat Wasilla Post 35 by a 10-3 score and Dimond Post 21 won a slugfest over Kenai Post 20 by a 13-9 count.

 

Chugiak jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and never looked back. Ian Frizelle went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBIs.

 

Cam Butler drove in three runs, Trystan Costanios scored three runs and starting pitcher Braden Schackelford picked up the win.

 

Schackelford scattered seven hits and three hits over 7.2 innings while striking out four.

 

Dimond's McKenzie Montgomery went 4-for-5 and scored three times to highlight an 11-hit attack. Kaden Roettger batted in three runs and Jesse Boesse had two hits, two RBIs and the game's only triple.

 

Kenai had 12 hits, including three by Paul Steffensen and Logan Smith. Smith also had three RBIs and Cody Quelland drove in a pair of runs.

 

The teams combined for 14 runs in the seventh and eighth innings alone.

Juneau, Service, South, West win on Day 1 of State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 25, 2017

Top seeds flex muscles on Day 1 of state tournament with No. 1 Juneau, No. 2 Service and No. 4 South all winning to join No. 6 West in the winner's bracket. Action continues all week at Mulcahy Stadiu…

Juneau 14, Kenai 0

Bryce Swofford, Kasey Watts and Luke Mallinger combined for 10 RBIs and four Post 25 pitchers combined for a shutout as the Midnight Suns blanked the defending state champion Twins from Post 20.

Eight of nine players got base hits for Juneau [23-2], which outhit Kenai 12-3 and crushed four doubles.

Swofford went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Watts was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Mallinger went 1-for-3 with three RBIs.

Donavin McCurley, Zeb Storie, Bob Cox and Finn Collins allowed only six baserunners.

Kenai's Paul Steffensen, Jeremy Kupferschmid and Tanner Ussing each had base hits for Kenai, with Kupferschmid delivering a double.

Service 7, Chugiak 6 [11 innings]

Cooper Bailey-Parsons delivered four hits and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11 th inning as the second-seeded Post 28 Cougars survived a scare from the upset-minded Post 33 Mustangs.

Bailey-Parsons finished 4-for-6 at the dish with two RBIs and a run scored.

Other RBIs for Service came from Ronan Klancher, Raleigh Pigg, Chris Malagodi and Jaren Childs.

Childs started on the mound and struck out five over 4.3 innings of shutout baseball.

Pigg earned the win with 3.2 innings of one-hit, shutout relief for the Cougars [20-7].

Chugiak's Trystan Costanios and Mason Peace each finished with an RBI and run. Christian Cambridge came off the bench to knock out two hits.

South 10, Dimond 2

Gage Webster carried a shutout into the seventh inning and the Post 4 Wolverines broke open the game with a late scoring surge to knock off the Post 21 Lynx.

The South southpaw starter scattered four hits and six walks over 7.2 innings. He struck out eight batters as South improved to 17-11 on the season.

Webster also helped himself out at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

South's Anthony Maldonado drove in two runs and Damian Mohl doubled twice, scored and collected an RBI.

Dimond's Dylan Montagna drove in both of his team's runs in the seventh and ninth innings. Kaden Roettger had his team's lone extra-base hit.

West 5, Wasilla 3

Post 1 struck for four runs in the top of the eighth inning to highlight its first-round victory at Mulcahy Stadium.

West carried a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning as the rain fell from the sky.

Wasilla took advantage of back-to-back walks and back-to-back wild pitches to pull within 1-1 and then Ben Werner's RBI single gave Post 35 the lead at 2-1.

It didn't last.

Luis Nunez and Leland Wilson drove in runs during that eighth inning rally.

West's Shawn Jones went 4-for-5 and scores twice. Werner went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs for Wasilla.

West pitcher Tom Zettler earned the win with 2.1 innings of relief.

It was West's first win at state since 2011.

State Tournament @ Mulcahy Stadium

Tuesday’s Scores

[6] West Post 1 defeated [3] Wasilla Post 35, 5-3

[4] South Post 4 defeated [5] Dimond Post 21, 10-2

[2] Service Post 28 defeated [7] Chugiak Post 33, 7-6

[1] Juneau Post 25 defeated [8] Kenai Post 20, 14-0

Wednesday’s Games

9:00AM [7] Chugiak vs. [3] Wasilla Post 35

12:00PM [8] Kenai vs. [5] Dimond Post 21

3:15PM [6] West vs. [2] Service Post 28

6:30PM [4] South vs. [1] Juneau Post 25

Walla Walla beats Dimond 9-4 for BP Invitational title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 9, 2017

Washington's Post 32 Bruins score all their runs in the first three innings en route to winning the final leg of Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour, capping their 11-2 record in the Last Frontier.

Kyren Morris continued his hit parade at the 23rd annual BP Invitational to help the Walla Walla [WA] Post 32 Bruins run away with the championship.

The left-handed slugger went 3-for-3 to lead an 11-hit attack and was one of four players to drive in two RBIs as Walla Walla won 9-4 over Dimond Post 21 at Mulcahy Stadium.

Mason Knowles, Scott Golden and Taylor Hamada also collected two RBIs as the Bruins banged out 11 base hits and accounted for all of their runs in the first three innings.

Even still the game packed plenty of punch, thanks to Dimond’s Dylan Montagna and Jake Andresen.

Both players crushed no-doubt-about-it home runs well over the 325-foot sign in left field, landing on the football field behind the park.

Montagna hit a majestic shot in the third inning to bring Dimond within 2-1.

Andresen launched a three-run laser in the fourth inning to make it 9-4.

Walla Walla [30-6] finished 11-2 in the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour, winning tournaments in Wasilla and Anchorage and losing the championship game in Kenai.

Morris was a big reason. The marvelous middle infielder finished 11-for-13 at the plate for an .846 batting average. He drove in eight runs, score five times and doubled three times.

He was voted Most Valuable Player of this year’s BP Invitational.

Teammate Nick Zehner was also in consideration for the award after batting over .600 and pitching his team into the championship game with a 3-hitter in a 3-2 win over Napoleon [OH] Post 300 in the semifinals earlier in the day.

Montagna earned the Big Stick Award after leading the tournament with an amazing on-base percentage that is something out of a video game: 15-for-19.

He went 8-for-12 at the plate and walked eight times, twice intentionally. He also had five RBIs and half of his hits went for extra bases.

Andresen was the next choice after going 8-for-12 with a bomb and team-best eight RBIs.

Dimond’s Kyle Henrickson earned the tournament’s Gold Glove Award and showed off some glove love in the first inning when he reached over the dugout fence to catch a pop up, a beautiful grab worthy of a web gem.

Dimond [15-15] beat East Post 34 by a 7-2 score in the other semifinal earlier in the day in a battle between two Anchorage teams that played spirited, confident baseball that will serve them well over the final two weeks of the regular season.

In that game, Dimond’s McKenzie Montgomery scattered five hits over a complete-game performance.

Homza comes up huge in pro debut in Arizona League

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 26, 2017

Known for his clutch performances as an amateur, Anchorage's Jonny Homza began his pro career with the same success as he finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs in his first game with the Arizona League Pad…

The temperature in Phoenix, Arizona, was 111 degrees at game time, but Jonny Homza of Anchorage wasn’t sweating it.

Not even the pressure of his professional debut could get the 18-year-old baseball star hot under the collar.

Known for his ice-cold, clutch performances as an amateur, Homza began his pro career with the same success as he finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs in his first game with the Arizona League Padres in rookie ball.

Batting No. 2 in the lineup and slotted in at designated hitter, the 6-foot, 185-pounder delivered a two-run single for his first hit in just his second at-bat.

Homza later added a run-scoring single in the 10-9 loss to the Arizona White Sox.

He also struck out three times, including his first at-bat against teen phenom pitcher Edinxon Arias, who is already in his third year as a pro at just 19.

Homza, a two-time Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year, has seen his life drastically change in the last month – in which he went from graduating high school to being drafted in the fifth round of the San Diego Padres to reportedly signing for $250,000.

A star shortstop and pitcher as a high school player, Homza was drafted by Padres to play catcher, a position he did play sparingly in the past.

It’s probably going to take him some time to adjust to his new position, but his bat is always there, which is why Homza found himself at the top of the lineup on opening night.

San Diego Padres draft South star Homza in 5th round

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 13, 2017

The Padres took Homza with the 138th pick – the second-highest selection by a player from Alaska. He’s only the third non-pitcher from here to be selected in the top 20.

The first time Alaska Baseball Academy manager Tony Wylie took South High star Jonny Homza of Anchorage to spring training in Arizona nobody believed Homza was from Alaska.

As a 16-year-old, Homza handled himself well against minor-league professional pitchers and showed off an A-plus arm from third base.

The scouts were incredulous.

“They kept saying, ‘There is no blanking way this kid is from Alaska,’” Wylie told me. “At that point, he was known.”

Today, he was drafted.

Homza, a versatile infielder, catcher and pitcher, was selected by the San Diego Padres in the fifth round of today’s Day 2 of the MLB draft.

On his 18th birthday, no less.

The Padres took Homza with the 138th pick – the second-highest selection by a player from Alaska. He’s only the third non-pitcher from here to be selected in the top 20.

“Jonny Homza is the best all-around player and most competitive player I have ever coached,” South coach Taylor Nerland told me. “He loves the game and wants to get better at it.”

Homza is a two-time Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year and led South to back-to-back appearances in the state championship game, pitching a complete-game win to help the Wolverines win as a junior.

This year the senior slugger batted .549 with 31 runs and 19 RBIs in 17 games. He had 12 extra-base hits, including his only home run in the state semifinals. As a pitcher he was 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA in 23 innings.

But he didn’t get drafted because of what he did in Alaska. And he won’t pitch at the next level. He’s expected to begin his professional career at third base but could move to catcher at some point.

Either way, they are getting the total package in the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder.

“His swing is pretty, his footwork is outstanding,” Wylie said. “You don’t normally get that polish with Alaska players.”

Homza started the summer with the Anchorage Bucs and wanted to play tonight after getting drafted, but general manager Shawn Maltby didn’t want to take any chances.

In the short amount of time Maltby saw Homza practice and play he liked what he saw.

“We wouldn’t have taken a risk on a high school senior if I didn’t think he could compete,” the longtime Alaska Baseball League GM said. “He’s athletic, plays multiple positions, hits everything. He’s got a great baseball IQ.”

Homza delivered a pinch-hit double for the Bucs the other night. He also brings a professional approach to the plate, making the pitcher work for every inch.

“Jonny goes up there the other day and fouls off five or six balls off in a row,” Matlby said. “Some guys get frustrated, but that’s a great at-bat. He understands that. Normally a kid won’t get it or is too selfish to get it.”

Nerland said Homza was always different – from the way he played baseball to his workout habits to his disciplined diet. Whatever he does, he’s it in to win it.

“Even when he hits the ball really hard at somebody and gets out, he thinks he could have hit it a little harder and wants that next at-bat to prove he can do it,” Nerland said. “Whatever the competition, he’s going to easily win it because he wants it that bad.”

 

Top 10 MLB Draft picks from Alaska

2000 SP Brian Montalbo Anchorage 4th Atlanta Braves

2017 INF Jonny Homza Anchorage 5th San Diego Padres

2009 SP Matt Way Sitka 5th Philadelphia Phillies

2012 SP Dylan Baker Juneau 5th Cleveland Indians

1994 INF Trajan Landgon Anchorage 6th San Diego Padres

2001 RP Chad Bentz Juneau 7th Montreal Expos

Sitka wins state with 2-1 extra-innings win over South

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 3, 2017

Oliver Moore-Baker scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning to help Sitka edge South 2-1 in extra innings in the championship game of the ASAA state baseball tournament…

Oliver Moore-Baker scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning to help Sitka edge South 2-1 in extra innings in the championship game of the ASAA state baseball tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Sitka's No. 3 hitter Ky Stockel lofted a flyball to medium center field where South’s Parker Johnson caught it and fired a strike to home plate, but the ball bounced away from the catcher as Moore-Baker slid in with the go-ahead run.

Sitka starter Camden Suarez worked around seven hits over a 94-pitch complete-game effort and retired the Wolverines 1-2-3 in the final inning.

The loss was the first of the season for South [18-1] and snapped the team’s 21-game winning streak dating back to last season when the Wolverines won the state title.

Suarez and South starter and Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Jonny Homza were locked in a pitcher's duel for the first eight innings, which breezed by in an hour and 45 minutes under a brilliant blue sky.

Homza scattered seven hits and four walks while allowing one run and striking out five.

It might be the last time he pitches - only because he's a college-ready infielder who will likely be picked in this month's MLB draft.

He got delightful defense from Johnson, who played beautifully at shortstop with a couple plays where he showed remarkable range and also saved a run with one diving stop to keep the ball in the infield.

Even at the end, Johnson’s throw was right on the money, but it looked like catcher Sladen Mohl glanced away at the last second with Moore-Baker charging hard. It was a tough-luck play for a one of the better defensive teams in the state.

But credit Sitka.

The Wolves played smart, steady and seamless to give third-year coach Matt Way his first state championship and the program’s fifth overall. Way’s old coach, Ed Conway led Sitka to state titles in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014. Way played on the '05 team.

Stockel accounted for both runs for Sitka. He scored a run in the fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1 when he scored on the front end of a delayed double steal.

South took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Homza’s line-drive single to left center, scoring Johnson.

Alaska State Baseball Titles

ASAA tournament began in 2000

Sitka 5 - 2005, 06, 07, 14, 17

Juneau 5 - 2002, 03, 08, 10, 12

South 3 - 2011, 13, 16

East 1 - 2000

Service 1 - 2001

Kodiak 1 - 2004

Dimond 1 - 2009

Chugiak 1 - 2015

Wasilla 5, Lathrop 0

Austin Robertson tossed a two-hit gem as the Warriors claimed the third-place game.

Robertson allowed two walks and struck out 10 batters. He didn't allow a run in 8.2 innings during the state tournament.

Ben Werner had two hits and two RBIs and James Arend, Hank Boyer and Caden Dudley each drove in one run.

Wasilla scored four runs in the third inning.

Lathrop's Colin King and Chase Reed each went 1-for-3.

Juneau-Douglas 7, Service 6

Luke Malinger scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Crimson Bears won the fourth-place game.

The back-and-forth game featured four lead changes until things were tied at 6-6.

Bryce Swofford went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs. Kona Ogoy had two RBIS and pitcher Luis Mojica earned the win with two shutout innings of relief.

Cobey Cupp went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Ronan Klancher and Raleigh Pigg each scored twice.

Sitka, South advance to state title game in '14 rematch

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 2, 2017

Sitka 3, Wasilla 0

Vaughn Blankenship lived up to his name and blanked the Wasilla Warriors with a two-hit beauty in the state semifnals at Mulcahy Stadium.

He issued two walks and struck out 11 batters, leading the Wolves into the state championship game for the first time since 2014.

Wasilla's Hank Boyer had a great game, pitching 6.2 innings and collecting his team's only two base hits.

He allowed three runs in the top of the first inning and shut it down after that.

Sitka's Dayton Cropper, Ky Stockel and Morgan Simic finished with RBIs.

South 14, Lathrop 8

Jonny Homza and Parker Johnson were the top two players in the Cook Inlet Conference this season and the two senior studs came up big to pad an early lead that carried the Wolverines in the state semifnals at Mulcahy Stadium.

South [18-0] punched its ticket to the state final -- the program's fifth consecutive year.

The win extended the team's winning streak to 21 games.

Homza - a two-time Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year - hit a home run and triple and finished with three RBIs.

Johnson - who is headed to Indiana Wesleyan University in the fall - went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

Lathrop's Colin King flexed his muscles with a double, triple and four RBIs.

South and Sitka played in the 2014 state championship game, a 11-10 victory by the Wolves in a game played in Sitka.

Service, Juneau survive

The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears and Service Cougars each won in the consolation round to survive to play one more day.

Juneau beat Colony 20-16 in a slugfest that featured 36 runs, 27 hits, 25 walks and 19 runners left on base.

Luke Malinger had a day, going 2-for-4 with five RBIs. Bryce Swofford drove in three runs and the top four Juneau batters combined to score 12 runs.

Colony's Joe Ryan, Kolter Ketchem, Cooper Smith and Jeremy Allen each had three RBIs.

Service used a strong pitching performance and an eight-run fourth inning to secure a 15-5 win over West Valley.

Klancher allowed just one earned run over six innings of work.

Cooper Bailey-Parsons went 3-for-5 with five RBIs. Freshman Kyle Andrew went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.

Saturday's schedule

@Mulcahy Stadium

10 AM Service vs. Juneau-Douglas

12:30 PM Wasilla vs. Lathrop

3PM CHAMPIONSHIP South vs. Sitka

Lathrop, Sitka, Wasilla, South win on Day 1 of state

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 1, 2017

Lathrop 12, Colony 11

For each of the last six years, the Lathrop Malemutes lost in the first round.

Not this time, though.

Not even an 8-0 deficit could deny Lathrop its first trip to the state semifinals since 2011.

Colin King, Chase Reed and Mason Wilken each drove in two runs. King's two-run triple provided a huge spark.

The Malemutes scored the winning run with two outs after a ground ball was misplayed by the Colony defense.

Dane Soderlund scattered eight hits over 3.1 innings of relief to earn the win for the Mid-Alaska Conference champions.

Colony's Zachary Satterly went 3-for-4, doubled and drove in three RBIs.

Sitka 4, Service 3

The bottom of the lineup helped the Sitka Wolves come out on top with a close first-round game.

Nos. 6-9 hitters Morgan Simic, Emmitt Anderson, Oliver Moore-Baker and Gavin Flores accounted for four of the team's five base hits.

Anderson and Flores were the game's only two players to score a run, get a hit and drive in a run.

Sitka led 3-2 after two innings before each team tacked on just one run apiece over the final five. The teams combined to leave 16 runners on base.

Service's Ronan Klancher went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Wasilla 10, West Valley 0

Leadoff hitter Balas Buckmaster doubled twice and drove in two runs to highlight a Wasilla lineup that broke open the game with an eight-run fourth inning.

Ben Werner, Cyrus Lovell and Hank Boyer each added two RBIs for the Warriors.

Four Wasilla pitchers combined for a 4-hitter, with starter Jacob Gilbert going the longest at 3.1 innings.

West Valley's Axel Keeton and Brandon Vanlandingham each had two hits, which represented the Wolf Pack's offense.

Wasilla reached the state semifinals since 2014.

South 12, Juneau-Douglas 2

Ace pitcher Parker Johnson went the distance and Derek McGinnis drove in four runs as South made quick work of the Crimson Bears.

With the win, the Wolverines improved to 17-0 this season and extended their 20-game winning streak dating back to last season.

Johnson allowed three hits and two walks while striking out a half dozen in five innings of work.

McGinnis finished 3-for-4 to lead a 14-hit attack. Anthony Maldonado was 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.

Juneau pulled within 3-2 in the fourth inning before South erupted for nine unanswered runs over the next frames.

Juneau's Luke Maligner and Niko Hebert drove in runs.

Friday's Schedule

Consolation Bracket

@ Mulcahy Stadium

10 AM Service vs. West Valley

1 PM Colony vs. Juneau 

Winner's Bracket

4 PM Sitka vs. Wasilla

7 PM Lathrop vs. South

South's Homza named Don Rabung CIC MVP

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 26, 2017

The Cook Inlet Conference baseball awards were handed out last night, with the undefeated South Wolverines taking home the majority of the individual honors. Most notably, Wolverine wonder Jonny Ho…

The Cook Inlet Conference baseball awards were handed out last night, with the undefeated South Wolverines taking home the majority of the individual honors.

Most notably, Wolverine wonder Jonny Homza earned the Don Rabung CIC MVP Award in a vote by league coaches.

Dimond's Dylan Montagna and South's Sladen Mohl shared the Big Stick Award.

Parker Johnson of South won the Gold Glove Award.

South is 16-0 and is the CIC's No. 1 seed at next week's state tournament.

In addition to Homza, Mohl and Johnson, South's other first-team selections were Lian Lincoln, Cody Leslie and Anthony Maldonado.

Service [8-4] is the CIC's No. 2 and had six first-team picks in Ronan Klancher, Cooper Bailey-Parsons, Andrew Jaidinger, Raleigh Pigg and Jaren Childs.

Cook Inlet Conference Baseball Awards Don Rabung CIC MVP Award Jonny Homza South SS/SP .577BA 10RBI 15R .703OBP, 3-0W/L 12.2IP 1.16ERA 19SO

Big Stick Award
Sladen Mohl South 9G .458BA 16RBI 5XBH .888SLG
Dylan Montagna Dimond 10G .321BA 1HR 8RBI 4SB

Gold Glove Award
Parker Johnson South 1.000FLD

All-Conference
FIRST TEAM
Starting Pitcher
Parker Johnson South 3G 3-0W/L 16IP 0.00ERA 27SO
Jake Andresen Dimond 5G 2-1W/L 19.0IP 1.11ERA 23SO
Jonny Homza South 3G 3-0W/L 12.2IP 1.16ERA 19SO
Gaten Davis East 6G 2-2W/L 29.1IP 1.67ERA 49SO
Jaren Childs Service 5G 1-0W/L 12.1IP 2.40ERA 13SO

Relief Pitcher
Andrew Jaidinger Service 5G 0-1W/L 13.2IP 2.17ERA 13SO
Garret Nevells Chugiak 5G 1-0W/L 13.2IP 1.97WHIP 8SO
Raleigh Pigg Service 3G 2-0W/L 1SV 6IP 3.50ERA
Sean Gardeline Dimond 4G 2-1W/L 15.2IP 2.23ERA 15SO

Catcher
Sladen Mohl South 9G .458BA 16RBI 5XBH .888SLG

First Baseman
Dylan Montagna Dimond 10G .321BA 1HR 8RBI 4SB

Second Baseman
Kyle Henrickson Dimond 10G .300BA 10R 5RBI 23B

Shortstop
Jonny Homza South 10G .577BA 10RBI 15R .703OBP

Third Baseman
Cooper Bailey-Parsons Service 10G .387BA 9RBI 13R 5SB

Outfield
Ronan Klancher Service 10G .444BA 13R 7RBI .595OBP
Lian Lincoln South 10G .485BA 17R 12RBI 3XBH
Cody Leslie South 5G .333BA 4R 13B 4R
Brian Wing Chugiak 9G .286BA 5R 7BB .545OBP

Utility
Parker Johnson South 10G .469BA 14RBI 16R 8SB
Luis Nunez West 9G .391BA 3RBI 7R .446OBP

Designated Hitter
Anthony Maldonado South 9G .524BA 10R 9RBI .593OPB

SECOND TEAM

SP- Braden Olmstead Eagle River; Brian Wing Chugiak; Thomas Zettler West; Chris Crespo West.
RP- Austin Weller South; Ryan Gray Eagle River.
C- McKenzie Montgomery Dimond; Trystan Costanios Chugiak.
1B- Gaten Davis East.
2B- Christian Cambridge Chugiak.
3B- Ryan Wood Bartlett; David Lundell East.
SS- Raleigh Pigg Service.
OF- Tyler Borschnak Bartlett; Declan Dammeyer West.
UTL- Sam Hall Chugiak; Chase Solberg East.
DH- DJ Davis Chugiak.

HONORABLE MENTION
SP-Eric White, East.
2B-Jack Opinsky West; Luke Giffen South; Sterling Retzlaff Eagle River; Ian Byrd Bartlett.
3B-Kaden Roetteger Dimond; Chase Subitch South; Chris Crespo West; Billy Smith Chugiak.
OF-Luis Montilla West.
UTL-Jesse Boese Dimond.
DH-David Kley South.

Recent Winners of Don Rabung CIC MVP Award
2016
Cody Curfman, Chugiak, SP/C, 4-W, 0-L, 1.93 ERA, 16 K, 29 IP, .323 BA, 9 RBI, 3 2B, 7 SB, 6 CS, 4 PK
2015
tie, Lucas Thorp, Dimond, 1B/RP, .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG, 1-W, 1-L, 2 SV, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP
Willy Homza, South, SS, .518 BA, 10 RBI, 7 XBH, .556 OBP, .938 FLD
2014
Dalton Chapman, West, P/1B, 4-W, 0-L, 0.96 ERA, 1 SV, 77 Ks, 36 IP, .456 BA, 15 RBI, 4 3B, .711 SLG
2013
Max Karnos, South, P/1B, 1-W, 1-L, 0.33 ERA, 35Ks, 20 IP, 17 Ks 1 GM, .429 BA, 6 2B, 2 3B, 8 BB, 11 RBI
2012
Zach Ferntheil, Service, P/1B, 3-W, 0-L, 2 SV, 1.12 ERA, 25 K, 18 IP, .423 BA

Bynum helps NIU punch ticket to MAC Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 20, 2017

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks sparked an 11th inning rally that helped Northern Illinois beat Miami of Ohio 11-7 in extra innings during Mid-American Conference action in Oxford, Ohio. It's fitting si…

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks sparked an 11th inning rally that helped Northern Illinois beat Miami of Ohio 11-7 in extra innings during Mid-American Conference action in Oxford, Ohio.

It's fitting since the leadoff hitter from Alaska has been on fire for the last month.

Bynum has been scorching at the plate over the last 16 games with a .428 batting average.

The junior transfer a big reason why Northern Illinois is playing in the MAC Tournament for just the second time in the last decade.

Bynum went 2-for-4 with a walk and run scored in tonight’s win over Miami. He led off the 11th with a single and eventually scored the go-ahead run.

He leads the NCAA D1 Huskies in batting average [.307], slugging percentage [.434], stolen bases [13], total bases [82] and runs [35] in 51 games.

Bynum also almost single-handedly carried Northern Illinois into the postseason. Over the last 16 games, the team’s winning percentage is .375 [6-10]. That might not seem like much until you consider the Huskies were 10-26 before Bynum’s hitting spree.

He collected base hits in 14 of those 16 games and raised his season average 51 points.

Boys of Summer: Get into the game w/ Legion Baseball

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 13, 2017

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is right around the corner. Here is contact information for all 17 teams from all over the great state of Alaska to make sure your player gets on the field and into t…

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is right around the corner. Here is contact information for all 17 teams from all over the great state of Alaska to make sure your player gets on the field and into the game. There is a place for everyone.

Bartlett Post 29    

Tryout: May 17 5:30 p.m. Bartlett High School

Post Manager: Bernardo Otero

717-9311   

bro6918@hotmail.com

Chugiak Post 33

Tryout: May 21 12 p.m. Oberg Field

Post Manager: Mark Bohrer

854-9397   

mpbohrer@gci.net

Delta Post 22

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: Sonny Zarecki                         

(804)994-4200

zareckiconstruction@hotmail.com

Dimond Post 21

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: Dan Montagna                      

350-7342   

dmontagna@nsales.com

Eagle River

Tryout: May 25 6 p.m. Loretta French Field

Post Manager: Gregg Frost                                    

632-3342   

gregg@kodiakbreakers.com

East Post 34

Tryout: May 23 3:30 p.m. Davenport Field

Post Manager: Kurt Solberg                                  

242-7406   

babymoose97@hotmail.com

Fairbanks Post 11

Tryout: May 21 2 p.m. Marlin Field

Post Manager: Rodney Perdue                     

978-1995   

rod.perdue@foundationhealth.org

Fairbanks Post 30

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: Tyler Hollister            

590-0454   

tchollister@alaska.edu

Juneau Post 25

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: Joe Tompkins                       

321-0001   

josephtompkins@hotmail.com

Kenai Post 20      

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: Lance Coz                            

398-9077   

lancecoz@hotmail.com

Ketchikan Post 3

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: John Milner                          

220-7453

redmilner@gmail.com

Kodiak Post 17

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: Leonard Pickett          

539-2600   

lwpickett@acsalaska.net

Palmer Post 15

Tryout: May 21 & May 28 3 p.m. Palmer Senior Field

Post Manager: Tim Rockey                         

982-8939   

timothy.rockey@gmail.com

Service Post 28

Tryout: Contact coach

Post Manager: Willie Paul                           

280-8439   

williepaul1@live.com

South Post 4

Tryout: May 21 3 p.m. Taylar Young Field

Post Manager: Eric Holland                                   

306-5520   

ewholland1@gmail.com

Wasilla Post 35

Tryout: May 14 & May 21 1 p.m. Wasilla High School

Post Manager: Ken Ottinger                        

301-4084   

ottworksales@gmail.com

West Post 1

Tryout: May 18 3:30 p.m. Kosinski Fields

Post Manager: Matt Kays                              

529-9289   

matthewkays@gmail.com

CIC baseball celebrates 25 years with all-decade teams

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 4, 2017

From Trajan Landgon to Chad Nading to Max Karnos, the Cook Inlet Conference has produced some of the best high school baseball players from Alaska.

 

What started as an experiment in 1992 is now a sweet science.

 

This week, the CIC honored its biggest names over the last 25 years by creating three all-decade teams for the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.

 

East’s Langdon was named Player of the Decade of the 1990s, East’s Nading for the 2000s and South’s Karnos for the 2010s.

 

Coaches of the Decade winners were Service’s Tim Rumfelt for the 1990s, East’s Tony Wylie and Chugiak’s Bill Lierman for the 2000s and Chugiak’s Doug Henie for the 2010s.

 

Here’s a breakdown of each decade:

 

1990s CIC All-Decade Team

SP Trajan Langdon, East

SP Joey Clark, Chugiak

SP Brady Lonergan, Service

SP Tom Sterrett, Chugiak

RP Chris Edge, Dimond

C Ra Shipps, East

1B Tyler Hasbrouck, Service

2B Mischa Sorbo, West

3B Levi Robinson, Service

SS Jon Dyson, East

OF Kelly Hood, Service

OF Orlando Caro, East

OF Aaron Sperbeck, Dimond

DH Kyle Madden, East

UTL Joey Inama, Chugiak

Player of the Decade: Trajan Langdon, East

Coach of the Decade: Tim Rumfelt, Service

 

1990s Player of the Decade: Trajan Langdon, East

When he wasn’t making history on the basketball court, East’s Trajan Langdon was making plays on the baseball field in the Cook Inlet Conference.

 

He was the most polished ballplayer of his era – a precise pitcher, marvelous middle infielder and hard-hitting slugger.

 

The long and lanky 6-foot-3 dual-sport stud was voted CIC MVP in 1994 and was one of only two pitchers named to the all-conference team. In 1993, he was the only shortstop named all-CIC.

 

“I really enjoyed the challenge of pitching and trying to dominate games when I could,” he said.

 

Langdon played in an era before The Dome, before FieldTurf – back when Alaska’s winter lingered longer and the seasons were shorter.

 

“I do remember Opening Day one year being in mid-May and they had to shovel the snow off the field for us to play, and we still played in like 35- to 40-degree weather,” he said. “Crazy stories, yet stories that represent our great state.”

 

Langdon was drafted professionally in two sports – in 1994 by the MLB’s San Diego Padres in the sixth round and in 1999 by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.

 

He played three seasons in the minors as a third baseman at the Class A level in the summer of 1994, 1995 and 1997 before turning his attention on basketball. He went on to become an All-American at Duke University, a lottery pick in the NBA and All-Decade in the Euroleague.

 

Langdon made a career in basketball, but his days on the diamond molded his life forever.

 

“Baseball was a game that I really enjoyed playing,” he said. “I had great teammates and some great coaches and enjoyed every minute of it, and really, baseball helped to develop my competitive spirit.”

 

1990s Coach of the Decade: Tim Rumfelt, Service

Tim Rumfelt kept his approach simple when he managed the Service Cougars.

 

Just win, baby.

 

“We worked them quite hard,” Rumfelt said. “I expected them to play hard, and they did.”

 

Service was the premier program in the Cook Inlet Conference in the 1990s under Rumfelt, who posted a 45-18 record over six seasons in the decade.

 

He led the Cougars to back-to-back pennants in 1996 and 1997 and his 1999 team was the first CIC team to win 10 games in a season – back before there was a state tournament.

 

“In those days, you could go up to Service and ask people, what’s the sport? It was baseball,” Rumfelt said. “Service baseball was it.”

 

He managed in the original six era when the CIC featured only Bartlett, Chugiak, Dimond, East, Service and West.

 

He coached some of the biggest names in the 1990s, guys like Brady Lonergan, Tyler Hasbrouck, Levi Robinson and Kelly Hood. But there were other players that gave just as much sweat and sacrifice to help Service dominate the diamond.

 

“I had tremendous ballplayers in those days,” he said. “That’s not just because of me. There were other people involved too.”

 

Rumfelt, 70, went on to coach other CIC teams over the years. But his legacy will always be linked to Service.

 

“He shaped us not just into great teammates and ballplayers, but he also shaped me into the person I am today by showing us consistent effort and not giving up on us,” said 2001 all-league outfielder Charlton Ferreira. “It taught me never to give up, no matter what. He pushed us during conditioning and helped us make us mentally strong and physically strong for the season.”

 

2000s CIC All-Decade Team

SP Corey Madden, East

SP Brian Montalbo, Dimond

SP Conor Spink, Chugiak

SP Anton Maxwell, East

SP Ben Rosen, Chugiak

C Keegan Kucko, Chugiak

1B Chad Nading, East

2B Cal McKim South

3B Chuck Rider, Service

SS Nick Ridley, Bartlett

OF Antoine McLeod, East

OF Zach Morse, Chugiak

OF Tim McCollum, Chugiak

DH Jake Plancich, East

UTL Ty Griffith, Chugiak

Player of the Decade: Chad Nading, East

Coaches of the Decade: Tony Wylie, East; Bill Lierman, Chugiak

 

2000s Player of the Decade: Chad Nading, East

In the conversation about the greatest Cook Inlet Conference baseball player of all-time, the discussion has to start, and stop, with East’s Chad Nading.

 

Armed with a rocket right arm and booming bat, the 6-foot-5 pitcher and first baseman stood tall from 2004 to 2006 as the CIC’s most decorated all-star and only two-time MVP in the league’s 25-year history.

 

Nading batted .641 over his final two seasons and he pitched winning decisions in more than half of East’s 19 victories. In all, he earned five all-league honors, two batting titles and two MVP titles.

 

“I think I was so successful in Alaska because Coach Wylie put together a first-class program,” he said. “We would travel to Arizona and Hawaii, where we played very high competition early in the spring that got us early reps before starting CIC. We got all the early mistakes out of the way so once the season started we were ready to go.”

 

Nading was twice drafted by MLB teams – first in 2006 in the 36th round by Detroit out of high school and then again in 2009 in the 37th round by Texas out of UNLV.

 

From 2010 to 2016 he bounced around pro leagues and even pitched in Japan. In 2017, he made his MLB spring training debut with San Diego and a month later he picked up his first career save with Double-A San Antonio.

 

“I have been a part of a lot of great baseball teams and championships, but I can never close the yearbook when it comes to those four years of East High baseball,” Nading said. “Those years taught me to love competition and gave me opportunities to be a leader and relied on in huge situations.”

 

2000s Coaches of the Decade: Tony Wylie, East; Bill Lierman, Chugiak

When you think of East baseball in the 2000s, you think of Tony Wylie.

 

He was the architect behind a T-birds team that dominated the Cook Inlet Conference between 2000 and 2006, when they posted 65 victories, won three pennants and captured the inaugural ASAA state tournament championship in 2000.

 

“I firmly believe that teams take on the personality of their head coach,” Wylie said. “So if a coach is organized and knowledgeable about game preparation and he possesses some degree of gamesmanship with class, then it’s highly likely his players will exude the same classy persona and wins will take care of themselves.”

 

Coaching baseball wasn’t a job for Wylie. It was his career. He went on to create the Alaska Baseball Academy and currently serves as a MLB scout.

 

At East, his 2000 squad was the first CIC team to win 12 games in a season. He coached the most decorated player in CIC history in Chad Nading as well as other all-decade selections in Corey Madden, Anton Maxwell, Antoine McLeod and Jake Plancich.

 

“I was very blessed to have a ton of exceptional athletes coming through East in the late 1990s and 2000s. All I needed to do was place them in situations to be successful and they did all the work.” Wylie said. “I was also smart enough to surround myself with quality assistant coaches who believed in my style of teaching and motivation.”

 

Bill Lierman was a hard-nosed competitor when he played for Chugiak and he was no different when he became the school’s coach.

 

Blunt, brainy and bullish, Lierman guided the Mustangs to a decade-best 76 wins from 2000 to 2009 on his way to becoming the Cook Inlet Conference’s all-time leader in coaching victories [95]. Chugiak reached the state championship game in 2004, 2006 and 2009.

 

“High school baseball changed throughout the 2000s and I think we adapted to certain things,” he said. “We had great players, assistant coaches and parent support.”

 

Lierman said the key to his success was trust between him and his players and him and their parents.

 

“When the parents trust you to coach their kids, that’s when you can really mold teams because you don’t have outside influence,” he said.

 

In 2004, the Mustangs made a worst-to-first type jump by going from 2-8 to 9-1 in the CIC. In 2006, Chugiak became the first CIC team to win 13 games in one season.

 

Lierman never judged himself by victories, but rather by the life lessons he could teach to prepare his players for winning in life.

 

“Most people want instant gratification and that instant gratification is built on wins. They think wins and losses are a direct reflection of you as a coach,” he said. “But really, it’s about four or five years down the road, when a player calls you and thanks for you something you said that had nothing to do with wins and losses.”

 

2010s CIC All-Decade Team

SP Max Karnos, South

SP Zach Ferntheil, Service

SP Dalton Chapman, West

SP Jonny Homza, South

RP Lucas Thorp, Dimond

C Chase Wilson, Chugiak

1B Michael Rosenberg, Eagle River

2B Cory Clevenger, Dimond

3B Tyler Thompson, Dimond

SS Willy Homza, South

OF Matt Illalio, Service

OF Sagan Osborne, Dimond

OF Parker Johnson, South

DH Garrett Brown, Service

UTL Adam Manzer, West

Player of the Decade: Max Karnos, South

Coach of the Decade: Doug Henie, Chugiak

 

2010s Player of the Decade: Max Karnos, South

South’s Max Karnos was one of the best pitchers in Cook Inlet Conference history with three all-league recognitions from 2011 to 2013 and a MVP award as a senior.

 

The 6-foot-4 right-hander dominated the 2013 season with a 0.33 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 20 innings. He went 1-1 with his lone loss coming in a game where he had 17 strikeouts.

 

“Max was tough to hit because he could spot up. He could paint the corners. His changeup and 2-seam were the toughest to hit,” said Service’s Jake Ridley, the 2012 CIC Gold Glove winner. “I had a lot of respect for him.”

 

Karnos batted .429 with 11 RBIs in 10 games. In South's biggest game of the year, with a state playoff berth at stake, he sparked a 7-5 win over Chugiak by going 2 for 3 with three RBIs.

 

The Wolverines went on to win state, the team's second title in three years.

 

“What I remember most were all the late nights at the school and Dome, grinding and getting ready for the season,” Karnos said. “Those were absolutely some of the best years of my life. I have tons of close friends because of those four years and memories I will never forget.”

 

Karnos went on to pitch at Western Nevada and then Sacramento State, where in 2016 he threw a 3-hit shutout against Utah Valley to become just the second Alaskan to throw a 9-inning complete game at the NCAA D1 level.

 

“Playing at South prepared me for the rest of my career because I never took anything for granted,” he said. “It also helped that I had big dreams and what I wanted most in the world was to accomplish them.”

 

2010s Coach of the Decade: Doug Henie, Chugiak

He was around for only three seasons, but Chugiak’s Doug Henie enjoyed one of the most successful and shortest tenures in the Cook Inlet Conference.

 

Yet his achievements were undeniable.

 

The Mustangs became the first CIC team in 2015 to win 15 games in a season and they did it again in 2016.

 

“It really was the players. We just stressed to them, ‘do your job, focus on you, not worry about what other people are doing.’” Henie said. “We kind of took that to heart.”

 

Henie led Chugiak to the school’s first ASAA state championship in 2015 and a second-place showing in 2016.

 

He won 36 games – the most so far in the 2010s and two more than Dimond’s Brad Lauwers, who won 34 in four seasons and received strong consideration for coach of the decade.

 

“I’m no brain child,” Henie cracked. “I tried to keep it simple and fun and keep concentration levels up.”

 

You could argue Henie did more with less. Chugiak had only one player selected all-decade in Chase Wilson; whereas, for example, Dimond had four guys picked to the team.

 

“You could say we didn’t have all the big names, but we had a lot of depth and played with a chip on our shoulder,” Henie said.

 

He preferred to stay in the dugout, behind the scenes. It had been like that since 2004 when he joined the coaching staff. But that all changed after he was promoted to head coach in 2013. It didn’t change him.

 

“I’m not a real intense guy,” Henie said. “I just tried to keep the guys tuned into the game, especially the bench kids, because if they aren’t into the game it can disrupt the concentration of the players on the field.”

Monaghan collects first win with Feather River College

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 17, 2017

Wasilla’s Nolan Monaghan got a pitching promotion with the Feather River College baseball team and he knocked the opportunity out of the park.

 

The freshman left-hander tossed a season-high 5.2 innings and earned his first win as Feather River beat Butte 6-4 in the California Community College Athletic Association.

 

Monaghan, of Wasilla Post 35 fame, fought off nerves by simplifying his approach on the mound.

 

“I just had to focus and compete,” he told me. “I felt comfortable; just kind of slowing my heart rate down by breathing and just slowing the game down to what I wanted it to be.”

 

Making just his second start in 11 appearances this season, the southpaw allowed six hits and two earned runs while matching his season high with four strikeouts.

 

“My curveball and changeup were my pitches today,” he said. “I was able to land them for strikes consistently when I needed them to.”

 

Monaghan was chased from the game with two outs in the sixth inning after allowing a bunt single. He watched the rest of the game from the dugout as his win hung on the hopes of the bullpen.

 

“I was kind of anxious because the conference is close right now and beating Butte was a big win for us,” he said.

 

Monaghan [1-2] lowered his season ERA to 5.40 in 18.1 innings.

 

However, he’s cut that number in half [2.16] over his last 8.1 innings.

 

“I’ve learned how to pitch instead of just throwing,” he said. “I like it here a lot. It’s a great environment to get better with great support from the town and my teammates. It’s a huge family.”

Butcher throws shutout, named NSIC Pitcher of the Week

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 11, 2017

As a transfer to the University of Minnesota-Crookston, Palmer’s Jacob Butcher felt pressure to perform every time he took the mound.

 

It didn’t help when he started slowly. That made him only press more.

 

Finally, he stopped trying so hard and went back to being himself.

 

“At some point,” he told me, “you just have to trust your stuff.”

 

Amen, bro.

 

Butcher, of Wasilla Post 35 fame, tossed a 3-hit shutout with 102 pitches over seven innings in a 6-0 win against the University of Mary in Crookston, Minnesota.

 

“It felt really good to get a game like that in. Especially in the NSIC, which is definitely for hitters more than it is for pitchers I would say,” he told me. “I've been working on a lot of things this last fall and winter and fell into an early slump to start off but finding consistent outings now that I've gotten more comfortable in my role on the team.”

 

The junior right-hander walked only one batter and struck out five en route to lowering his earned-run average to 5.40, two runs lower than it was before the game.

 

A few days later, Butcher was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Pitcher of the Week for his masterpiece pitching performance.

 

Butcher has pitched a total of 26.2 innings for Minnesota-Crookston in eight appearances, including five starts. He doesn’t care if he starts or comes in relief.

 

“I have been both in my career and both are just as exciting when you get your chance to be on the bump,” he said. “The main focus for every pitcher, whether starting or relieving, is to get in there and fill up the [strike] zone and give your team a chance to win.”

 

Off the field, he enjoys life in Minnesota but admitted that he’s a little home sick.

 

“I like it here but I miss it a lot back home on the west coast and especially Alaska,” he said. “I hope to move back there because I don't see here as a permanent option for me. But the school and the degrees offered here are great.”

 

Butcher is currently seeking a degree in Golf and Turfgrass Management.

 

“Just a fancy name for landscaping,” he said. “And I couldn't be happier to be doing this degree. It ranges in a wide variety of sports fields to golf courses to parks and home lawns.”

Lost teeth can’t slow down Kley for Wenatchee Valley

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 6, 2017

He lost parts of his front teeth and his team lost both games of a doubleheader, but Matthew Kley of Anchorage still had a smile on his face.

 

The Wenatchee Valley College third baseman took a shot to the face from the helmet of a Yakima Valley baserunner attempting to steal a base in Game 2 of the NWAC doubleheader in Yakima, Washington.

 

“My catcher threw the ball a little to the left of the bag and the runner slid head first right into my mouth,” Kley told me. “But still got the runner out.”

 

He laughed it off and stayed in the game.

 

After all, he’s from Alaska.

 

“I told my coach not to laugh when I got up and showed him, although the team thought it was pretty funny when I lost the teeth,” he said.

 

Kley, of South Post 4 fame, finished 3-for-7 in the doubleheader to raise his batting average to .265 in 11 games.

 

“I thought I played well after it because I figured I lost my teeth so I had nothing else to lose,” he said. “And probably played better because of that.”

 

Kley has base hits in six of his next eight games, including the last four.   

 

Take away the 0-of-9 start in his first three college games, and the freshman is batting .440 on the year.

Chapman learns how to pitch all over again at Everett

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 2, 2017

When Anchorage’s Dalton Chapman arrived at Everett Community College in Washington two years ago he threw a baseball.

 

Now he pitches.

 

“I’ve learned a ton,” he told me. “You can throw a ball 100 mph but have no pitching ability and be known as a guy who just throws hard or be a pitcher known as the guy who gets the job done and knows how to get outs.”

 

Back from a redshirt season, the right-hander has started his sophomore season beautifully with a 1.87 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 24 innings.

 

Chapman, of West Post 1 fame, sat out last season to get his academics in order.

 

“The reason why I couldn’t play last year was because I took 30 credits that didn’t transfer, so I had two options: redshirt or play and only be able to go to NAIA schools, which isn’t bad but I have dreams to play D1.”

 

Turns out taking a year off was the best thing that ever happened.

 

“It gave me a year to get better and mature and now I am in contact with about 15 schools and pro scouts as well,” Chapman said.

 

He throws a 4-seam fastball, a 2-seamer, changeup and slider.

 

“My slider is my out pitcher for sure,” Chapman said.

 

He’s also throwing his fastball in the 92-mph range, quite the jump from when he threw in the mid-80s in Alaska.

 

The 6-foot-5 pitcher has allowed 10 hits and 14 walks in his five starts.

 

Dancing around so many base runners is a sign of growth with improved mental makeup because he no longer gets rattled under pressure.

 

“Every time I face a batter I just tell myself over and over ‘one pitch at a time,’” he said. “As a freshman, I struggled because I would only care about the end result. You have to get two strikes on a guy before punching him out with strike three.”

Nading makes MLB spring appearance with San Diego

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 29, 2017

After years of bouncing around small towns in the minor leagues, Chad Nading of Anchorage finally got a taste of the big time.

 

The 28-year-old relief pitcher today made his first appearance with the San Diego Padres in the eighth inning of a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Glendale, Arizona.

 

Nading - a former Alaska Legion state tournament MVP with East Post 34 - entered the MLB exhibition game with the bases loaded and promptly hit Omar Estevez with the second pitch after getting ahead 0-1 to allow a run to score.

 

The 6-foot-6 rocket right-hander then struck out O’Koyea Dickson to end the threat.

 

Nading is the second Alaska pitcher to appear in a spring training game this month after Juneau’s Dylan Baker of the Cleveland Indians threw an inning on March 9.

 

In 2013, Nading participated in extended spring training with the Boston Red Sox.

 

Before and after that he bounced around independent leagues all over the country and even spent time in Japan with the Ishikawa Million Stars.

 

By 2015, however, he was out of the game altogether.

 

Last year, he returned to the game with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association. He had incredible success out of the bullpen with a 1.70 ERA in 43 games to help Wichita reach the championship series.

 

Nading was twice drafted by MLB teams, first in 2006 in the 36th round by the Detroit Tigers out of high school and then again in 2009 in the 37th round by the Texas Rangers out of UNLV.

 

Osborne having career year w/ long ball at Dickinson St

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 18, 2017

Anchorage’s Sagan Osborne smoked the ball twice to the outfield wall in his first two plate appearances, but the Dickinson State baseball player had no hits to show for it.

 

But he didn’t hang his head.

 

Instead, he waited for the pitcher to hang a pitch.

 

That’s exactly what happened when Osborne went yard in his next at-bat for his career-high fifth home run of the season for the NAIA Blue Hawks of Dickinson, North Dakota.

 

“My home run was a bit of a relief in that game,” he told me. “I was 0-2 and felt like I had been chasing pitches I shouldn't, but my coach told me to go in aggressive and look for something up. The pitcher hung a curveball and I got ahold of it.”

 

Osborne, of Dimond Post 21 fame, is enjoying another big year at the plate this year on the heels of a strong junior season.

 

The third baseman has posted career highs in home runs, batting average [.411], on-base percentage [.463], slugging percentage [.726] and stolen bases [7] in 19 games.

 

With just two walks in 75 plate appearances, he goes to the plate to hit.

 

“Early in the year I feel like I don't walk much because not much scouting happens and I get a lot of first-pitch fastballs,” he said. “Most of the time I'm going to put that ball in play. Once conference season comes around and pitchers are more familiar with me it'll lead to longer at bats and more walks.”

 

Osborne has been incredibly effective, driving in 21 runs on 30 hits and scoring 24 runs in 19 games. The decline in his game is doubles total, dropping from 21 to four, in part because he’s hitting more balls out of the park.

 

“I'd like to get at least 10 [home runs] on the year and feel like I am capable of doing that,” he said. “I worked a lot on my power this summer and it is showing. I think that has contributed to my lower doubles number because those balls are leaving the yard this year. Also pretty much everyone we play plays me extra deep so balls hit in the gap haven't been able to fall as often this year.”

Homza’s hot bat a bright spot for struggling Brown U.

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 13, 2017

His team isn’t winning, but Anchorage’s Willy Homza has been winning the one-on-one battle in the box.

 

The sophomore third baseman has more base hits than strikeouts and owns a .360 on-base percentage for a Brown University team that has started the NCAA D1 season 0-6 after getting swept by Nichols State and Texas A&M in back-to-back weekend series.

 

In today’s finale against Texas A&M, Homza collected his first career 3-hit game and set the table for his team’s lone run in a 5-1 loss in College Station, Texas.

 

The No. 2 hitter doubled and later scored to put Brown up 1-0 in the third inning. It was his second straight hit off Aggies starter Mitchell Kilkenny, a former Texas Class 5A Pitcher of the Year from Houston.

 

“He threw me two changeups and I sat on the second one,” Homza told me. “My first at-bat I got a fastball and got a barrel to it.

 

“I felt like I was recognizing pitches well right out of the hand.”

 

He lined out his third at-bat to end the fifth.

 

In the eighth inning, he singled off a different pitcher to raise his batting average to a career-high .273.

 

Homza, of South Post 4 fame, has banged out base hits in four of the first six games and is second on the team with nine total bases. He’s the only Brown player to hit a double and a triple this year.

 

“Extra-base hits are a combination of being stronger and a more aggressive approach,” he said.

 

Coaches tend to put their best contact hitter in the No. 2 spot, so it’s a role Homza earned behind the scenes. It’s now carrying over to the field.

 

“I think it’s easier to settle in when I’m consistently playing every game and getting quality ABs,” he said. “I feel like we have a good offensive plan this season.”

Bynum finds his grove, hitting stroke at Northern Illinois

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 6, 2017

Back-to-back two-hit games helped Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks raise his batting average 56 points in one day for the Northern Illinois University baseball team.

 

The junior transfer went a combined 4-for-9 at the plate in a doubleheader loss to Southern Illinois during NCAA D1 play in Edwardsville, Illinois.

 

Three of his four hits went for extra bases, including his first double and triple, in this his ninth and tenth game with the Huskies.

 

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic High fame, raised his season average to .278 and extended his hitting streak to five games.

 

The starting centerfielder has reached base in all 10 games this season.

 

Bynum leads Northern Illinois in runs [7], walks [7] and triples [1] while ranking second in total bases [14] and on-base percentage [.422].

 

A former Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year in both baseball and basketball his senior year of high school, he was drafted in the MLB when the Cincinnati Reds picked him in the 16th round.

 

Bynum is one of only two non-pitchers from Alaska to be drafted in the first 20 rounds.

 

Last season at Arizona Western College, he set career highs in batting average [.351], slugging percentage [.551], doubles [12], triples [5] and home runs [5] in 51 games.

Winter College Coaches Clinic, Jan. 13-16 @ The Dome

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Dec 16, 2016

Join Everett Community College head coach Levi Lacey and staff for the ninth annual Winter College Coaches Clinic.

The 4-day youth camp runs Jan. 13-16 at The Dome in Anchorage.

Get in-depth instruction in all aspects of the game, detailed practice lesson plans and important information for youth coaches and parents.

This high-paced, informative camp now features extended times for more instruction.

We're not talking just hitting and pitching - it's infield practice, base-stealing strategy, outfield positioning, conditioning and more.

Save 20% to 30% with early registration. Sign up now, save now.

Register here.

Under Lacey’s management, Everett CC has won 154 games since 2012 and the team captured the NWAC title in 2013 and placed second in 2016.

"We will challenge our campers to become better players." Lacey said. "The delivery of our information is what sets us apart from other camps. We want the athlete to understand information as well as execute the information physically."

As a bonus, a special parent & coaches session will be held Saturday, Jan. 14, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and also Sunday, Jan. 15, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Learn what college coaches are looking for and how to get your player to the next level.

ABA all-stars race to 4-0 record at Arizona Fall Classic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 18, 2016

Pitching and defense, hitting and base running, the Alaska Baseball Academy all-stars controlled all aspects of the game at the Arizona Fall Classic.

“I am sure [this performance] will lead to more Alaskan ball players finding college opportunities,” he said.

On Day 1, the ABA all-stars opened with a 13-3 win over a D’backs scout team from Canada in the first of two games. The Alaskans banged out 15 hits and got a wonder start from Bryce Swofford of Juneau.

With a 90 mph fastball in his arsenal, the lanky righty struck out seven over four innings. Alaska’s hit parade was keyed by Anchorage’s Jonny Homza and Raleigh Pigg, and Paul Steffensen of Kenai.

In the second game, Alaska edged a Padres scout team 1-0 behind a strong pitching performance by Pigg, who struck out eight, and Steffensen, who singled home the lone run.

On Day 2, the ABA all-stars kept it going with a 3-2 win over a team from southern California. Anchorage pitchers Jake Andresen and Parker Johnson combined for 10 Ks over eight innings of work.

Defensively, catchers Sladen Mohl of Anchorage and Juneau’s Michael Cesar of Juneau threw out three baserunners apiece.

On Day 3, the Alaskans ended the tournament with an 8-1 victory over MVP Baseball, a national select team with players from 20 states.

Homza – last year's Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year who has committed to the University of Hawaii – remained hot at the plate with a triple and double while also contributing on the mound with a pair of scoreless innings.

Houston Astros coaches headline 3-day baseball camp

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 7, 2016

Houston Astros coaches Brent Strom and Jeff Albert will be in Alaska next month for the 7th annual Professional Coaches Clinic.

This is your chance to receive 1-on-1 instruction from a pair of Major League Baseball coaches.

Strom is the pitching coach for the Houston Astros and Jeff Albert is one of the organization's hitting instructors.

Strom has been a winner at every level, winning a College World Series title as a player with Southern Cal in 1970 and a World Series title as a coach with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.

He also pitched five years in the bigs, throwing a complete game at old Yankee Stadium. This guy tossed 16 CGs in 75 career starts.

Strom is in his fourth season as pitching coach for the Astros.

Last year, he led the Astros pitching staff to a 3.57 ERA, the best team ERA in the American League and the second-lowest produced by an Astros team since the club moved to Minute Maid Park in 2000.

This is his seventh season as the headliner at the Professional Baseball Clinic.

Albert is also an Anchorage camp veteran and just completed his his third season as Houston’s hitting coordinator after joining the organization in 2013 as roving hitting instructor.

He is a professional hitting coach with a background in Exercise Science. Blending the disciplines of exercise physiology, biomechanics, motor learning and sports psychology enables Albert to optimize and accelerate the development process for baseball and softball hitters.

Prior to joining the Astros, Albert spent five seasons as a coach in the Cardinals minor league system. A graduate of Butler University, he played professionally in the independent leagues and also received his Master’s degree in Exercise Science at Louisiana Tech University.

Osborne swings fast, plays fast, starts fast for Dickinson

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Sep 14, 2016

Anchorage’s Sagan Osborne swings fast and plays fast so it’s no surprise he started fast for the Dickinson State University baseball team last weekend.

The senior shortstop went 5-for-8 with a home run, triple and three RBIs in a two-game series against Mayville State to open the NAIA fall ball season in North Dakota.

“It doesn’t take me too long to get into a rhythm generally,” he told me. “I’m the type of hitter who doesn’t need to spend hours and hours in a cage to get ready. I like to take 15 to 20 swings and feel a rhythm, and then I’m good to go.”

Osborne, of Dimond Legion Post 21 fame, is coming off an all-conference junior season when he hit .353 and drove in 42 runs in 52 games in his first year at Dickinson State.

He has stayed locked in from one year to the next because he doesn’t make any at-bat any bigger from one to the next. Not putting pressure on himself – among other things – allows him to stay relaxed.

“I even sing to myself sometimes at the plate to stay loose,” he said. “It’s just little things that you pick up over the years that allow you to be able to roll into a season on the right foot instead of starting slowly and not helping your team.”

A gap hitter with good speed, Osborne bagged 24 extra-base hits last season with 21 doubles, two triples and a home run. He already has a triple and dinger this fall.

With only 11 base on balls in 200 career plate appearances, it’s obvious he goes to the plate looking to take a hack. But he’s not just swinging to swing.

He reads the pitcher, the defense and even the weather.

“My triple was on a low inside curveball but there was a strong wind blowing across left field so I knew that trying to pull it in the air would only result in a fly out, so I tried to stay inside it more and drive it to the right side and I put a good swing on it and drove it to the right-center gap,” he said.

Nading, Wichita move to American Association title series

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Sep 14, 2016

Anchorage’s Chad Nading inched closer to winning his first championship as a professional as the right-handed relief pitcher helped the Wichita Wingnuts advance to the American Association Championshi…

Wichita defeated Sioux City 3-1 in the best-of-5 semifinal series to advance to the championship series, which starts Wednesday against the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

Nading, of East Legion Post 34 fame, made three appearances during the semifinal series, throwing a total of three innings to extend his scoreless streak to 16 innings.

The 6-foot-6 setup man has a 1.70 ERA in 43 games this season. He is 0-1 with two saves and a bunch of holds as one of the top options coming out of the bullpen.

Nading played college ball at UNLV and was twice drafted by MLB clubs before embarking on a pro career in the minor leagues. He bounced around for three years and then went to Japan before coming back to the States.

He was out of the game a year ago.

Now he’s back, better than ever, and close to capturing his first championship since his high school days.

Nading hasn’t allowed a run since Aug. 5, a stretch of 17 games over five weeks.

The American Association Championship Series begins in Canada with Games 1 and 2 at Winnipeg before going to Wichita, Kansas, for the remainder of the best-of-5.

After years of hard knocks, Nading finally finds success

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 11, 2016

Chad Nading of Anchorage hasn’t been involved in a playoff race in years.

The 28-year-old relief pitcher now finds himself right in the middle of one in the American Association, an independent professional baseball league that plays 100 games in the regular season.

With 24 to play, the Wichita Wingnuts lead the Laredo Lemurs by 5.5 games.

“This is the best group of guys I've played with in professional baseball and manager Pete Rose Jr. is the ultimate player's coach and makes baseball free and easy every day,” he told me.

Nading, of East Post 34 fame, has pitched six times in the last eight days. No more evidence is needed to prove how valuable this guy is to Wichita’s bullpen.

The 6-foot-6 flamethrower has pitched in each of the last three days, including tonight’s one-out hold to end the eighth inning in a 9-7 win over the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

“My velocity has been 93-97 mph with slider, curveball and changeup,” he said.

Nading has appeared in a career-high 30 games on the year, carding a 2.45 ERA in 29.1 innings.

Few people would have stuck with a sport like Nading did with baseball, which hasn’t always treated the Alaska ace well.

Early on, though, the game came easy.

At East High, he was a two-time Cook Inlet Conference MVP in 2006 and 2005. With East Legion Post 34 he won a state title all four years he played and was named the State Tournament MVP and Top Pitcher award winner in 2006.

He was drafted in the 36th round by the Detroit Tigers in 2006, but opted to play college baseball. He signed with Oregon State but wound up pitching at Skagit Valley Community College. After one season he transferred to UNLV, where he pitched for two years and then was drafted in the 37th round by the Texas Rangers in 2009.

In 2010, he started his pro career in rookie ball with the San Diego Padres organization.

He bounced around independent leagues in 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, Nading participated in extended spring training with the Boston Red Sox.

In 2014, he went to Japan and played with the Ishikawa Million Stars.

He didn’t play last year.

“I have to tell you the last two years have been a real test for me as a baseball player and a person,” Nading said. “After leaving Japan I sat down and thought about what I really wanted to accomplish with the rest of my career.”

Meanwhile, he changed his pitching motion more than area codes. He was all over the place, searching for the right delivery. He found the right formula in Wichita.

“I have been through just about every arm slot and style since leaving high school in 2006, but lack of success has left me determined to find the real me and chase that success I've been desperate to feel,” Nading said.

Service eliminated from NWCART after loss to Idaho

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 7, 2016

Service Post 28 twice jumped out to an early lead before fading down the stretch in a 10-4 loss to the Hailey Post 24 Wood River Wranglers of Idaho.

It happened in an elimination game on Day 3 of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Laurel, Montana.

Service finished 1-2 in the tournament – the fourth straight year a team from Alaska won a game at the NWCART.

“As a coaching staff we can't be prouder of the way the team rose to the challenges we put before them and the compliments we received from opposing coaches and fans regarding the class, character and competitiveness that these kids played with,” Service manager Willie Post told me.

“Winning and losing can be determined by a lot of things but respect is earned and these kids made sure to leave everything they had on the field to earn it. As a coaching staff we can ask for anything more than that.”

Service led 2-0 after the top of the first inning and 3-2 after the top of the third inning. However, each time the Wood River Wranglers answered in the bottom half and took the lead for good with a three-run third inning that made it 5-3.

Service had scoring chances in the fourth and fifth inning, but grounded into double plays in both frames.

The Wood River Wranglers took a 6-3 lead in the fourth and then the game was scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

In the eighth, Idaho put the game away with a four-run frame.

Service finished 24-13 on the season, winning five games in state and regional competition.

“It’s not what you do in June but how you finish in July and August,” Paul said. “I think our guys took that to heart and when crunch time came they buckled down and grinded through every pitch never giving in. They proved they had the drive and determination with each of those postseason games.”

Laurel [MT] blanks Service 10-0 in winner's bracket at NWCART

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 6, 2016

The Laurel Post 123 Dodgers took advantage of home field and starting pitcher Carson West on Saturday.

West pitched all seven innings as host team beat the Service Post 28 Cougars 10-0 on Day 2 of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Montana.

West threw a 3-hitter with nine strikeouts. Seven days ago, he threw 120 pitches over nine innings in a 5-4 win that moved Laurel into the state championship game.

Service [24-12] drops into the loser's bracket and will play an elimination game Sunday.

Chugiak Legion A wins state title over No. 1 Kenai

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 6, 2016

Slugger Billy Smith and pitcher Christian Cambridge led Chugiak Post 33 to the ALB Legion A state tournament title.

Chugiak delivered a 12-3 victory over Kenai Post 20 in the championship game at Bartlett High School.

The teams came into the title game as the top two seeds - Kenai No. 1, Chugiak No. 2.

Smith had the hot bat, going 2-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and six RBIs.

Cambridge flirted with a complete game, going 6.1 innings and giving up only one earned run. 

“The win was a great team victory, with contributions by all,” Chugiak coach Bill Smith told me.

Chugiak finished 17-7 and was the only team in Alaska to beat Kenai this year. The Twins won 28 of 30 games, with both losses coming to Chugiak.

The Mustangs also won 5-2 in the title game of the Chugiak Wood Bat Invitational in early July.

“Coaches Mike Gullett, Steve Hall and I are really proud of the way the boys fought all season,” Smith said.

Service beats Grantsville [UT] in 11th inning on Day 1 of NWCART

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 5, 2016

Not even a ninth-inning nightmare could derail the Service Post 28 Cougars on Friday.

Service blew a five-run lead in the bottom of the ninth only to get things back on track and eventually score in the 11th inning to beat Grantsville, Utah, 11-10 on Day 1 of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Laurel, Montana.

It was the sixth consecutive game decided by two runs or fewer for the Cougars, who are 5-1 during that stretch.

“I think as a team we have bonded a lot later in the year,” Service’s Nick Hall told me. “At the beginning of the season when we’d get down we’d get our heads down, but we definitely kept our heads up today and things continue to go well.”

Michael Yandell scored the winning run after he singled with two outs, stole second and raced home when Ronan Klancher’s grounder went through the legs of the Grantsville second baseman.

Service pitcher Cobey Cupp threw the final three innings to earn the win, improving the ALB state tournament runner-up Cougars to 24-11 on the season.

Grantsville first baseman Riley Jensen earned player-of-the-game honors after hitting two home runs and driving in six runs. He clubbed a grand slam to tie the game in the ninth inning.

Service starter Nick Hall pitched the first eight innings and entered the ninth with a 10-5 lead, but he was removed after issuing a leadoff walk.

Enter ace reliever Raleigh Pigg, who was lights out during last week’s state tournament but struggled on this day to find his rhythm. He walked two batters and hit another, helping Grantsville pull closer at 10-6.

Cupp replaced Pigg and immediately faced Jensen, who crushed a grand slam to tie the game 10-10. However, Cupp bounced back to get out of the inning and force extra innings.

“Giving up that home run, it did suck – a lot – but I just kept pitching. I didn’t think about it,” Cupp told me. “I either pitch and win or pitch and lose, but I gotta pitch either way. I tried to focus on that.”

Cupp faced Jensen again in the 11th inning, nursing a one-run lead. This time he struck him out on a four-pitch sequence of nothing but curveballs.

“It was nasty,” Cupp said of his curve. “I surprised myself honestly. My arm felt good.”

Service banged out 16 hits, with Pigg getting five of them. Cupp reached base four times on a single, double and two walks. Pigg and Hall combined for five RBIs.

Kenai outhits Cheyenne [WY] in 11-4 loss on Day 2 of Regionals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 5, 2016

The Kenai Post 20 Twins outhit the Cheyenne Post 6 Sixers but it wasn't enough to prevent an 11-4 loss in an elimination game at the Legion AAA Northwest Regional Tournament in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The host team scored in each inning it batted, taking advantage of 10 walks.

Kenai outhit the Sixers 9-6, with Josh Darrow and Kenny Griffin each going 2-for-5.

Griffin's two-out RBI single in the top of the first inning gave the Twins an early 1-0 lead.

Mathew Daugherty gave Kenai a 2-1 lead when he singled, stole second base, went to third on a passed ball and scored on an error.

In the sixth inning, Gavin Petterson had an RBI single to score Calvin Hills.

Kenai's fourth run came in the ninth inning when Cody Quelland singled and later scored on an error.

The ALB Legion AA state champion Twins finished the season 32-10.

“What a great season and pleasure to be part of such fine young men,” Kenai coach Robb Quelland told me. “Many individual accolades but definitely a team game and a concept from the beginning.”

In addition to Kenai's sucess in Legion AA, the Twins also made the Legion A state tournament championship game.

“Ready for next year and building on the future and progress of the program,” Quelland said.

The coach also credited longtime Post manager Lance Coz, who has been with the Twins program for 40 years.

“He’s the backbone of the program,” Quelland said.

Kennewick [WA] beats Kenai 16-2 on Day 1 at NW Regionals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 4, 2016

The Kennewick Outlaws of Washington scored early and often en route to a 16-2 victory over the Kenai Post 20 Twins on Wednesday.

The game came in the first round of the American Legion AAA Northwest Regional Tournament in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kennewick banged out 16 hits but Kenai didn't help itself with seven errors.

Twins starter Joe Becher scattered seven hits and three walks over four innings of work. Only five of the 11 runs surrendered were earned.

Kennewick led 5-0 after three innings and then plated three more in the fourth and five in the fifth. It was 13-0 before Kenai got on the board.

The Twins won the Alaska Legion AA state championship, beating Service Post 28 in the title game thriller only four days ago.

Kenai had six base hits - Josh Darrow, Paul Steffenson, Kenny Griffin, Becher, Cody Quelland and J.J. Sonnen.

Sonnen had the team's only extra-base hit with a double.

Calvin Hills and Quelland - coach's kid - delivered the only RBIs for the Twins.

Kenai will face the Idaho/Wyoming loser Thursday at 10:30 ADT in an elimination game.

2016 Alaska Legion AA Team of Excellence All-State Team

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 2, 2016

Legion coaches voted, stats from 18-game league season

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher   

Philip Wall Juneau Post 25 4-0 0.69 26 IP 26 K 0.65 WHIP

Nolan Monaghan Wasilla Post 35 3.06 ERA 17.2 IP .194 BBA

Bryce Swafford Juneau Post 25 5-0 0.90 30 IP 38 K 0.63

Sam Hanson Chugiak Post 33 4-0 W/L 1.29 ERA 25.1 IP 25 K .223 BAA

Cody Curfman Chugiak Post 33 2-2 W/L 3.37 ERA 29 IP 25 K .204 BAA

Mathew Daugherty Kenai Post 20  4-0 W/L 1.61 ERA 31/1 IP 30 K .211 BAA

Joe Becher Kenai Post 20 5-1 2.88 ERA 34.1 IP 48 K .123 BAA

Parker Johnson South Post 4 5-0 W/L 1.76 ERA 1 SV 43.2 IP 34 K

Jake Andresen Dimond Post 21 4-1 W/L 3.93 ERA 26 IP 32 K 1.98 WHIP

Relief Pitcher   

Nick Hall Service Post 28 4-1 W/L 1.38 ERA 26 IP 16 K 1.04 WHIP

Kaden Roettger Dimond Post 21 12 G 2.93 ERA 2 SV 16 IP 1.93 WHIP

Calvin Hills Kenai Post 20 1-0 W/L 1 SV 2.19 ERA 11.2 IP 12 K 1.80 WHIP

Infield   

Colin King Fairbanks Post 30 

Raleigh Pigg Service Post 28 .375 BA 10 R 10 RBI 9 BB .479 OBP

Matt Hess Chugiak Post 33 .394 BA 1 3B 23 R 13 RBI .650 OBP

Charlie Bucolo Chugiak Post 33 .358 BA 1 HR 22 RBI 20 R .460 OBP

Josh Darrow Kenai Post 20 .522 BA 1 HR 5 3B 31 R 21 RBI .783 SLG

Dylan Montagna Dimond Post 21 .373 BA 18 RBI 12 R 10 BB .602 OBP

Parker Johnson South Post 4 .485 BA 1 HR 26 R 23 RBI .563 OBP

Outfield 

Nolan Monaghan Wasilla Post 35 .333 BA 9 RBI .500 SLG 1.000 FLD 

Finn Collins Juneau Post 25 .396 BA 1 HR 18 RBI 26 R 16 SB

Kasey Watts Juneau Post 25 .286 BA 2 HR 22 RBI 7 2B 15 R

Nick Hall Service Post 28 .421 BA 1 3B 23 R 16 RB 10 SB 

Vander LeKites Chugiak Post 33 .364 BA 16 R 13 RBI 9 SB .571 OBP

Paul Steffenson Kenai Post 20 .446 1 HR 6 3B 33 R 26 RBI .708 SLG

Calvin Hills Kenai Post 20 .400 BA 4 2B 20 R 16 RBI .520 OBP

Utility 

Mike Cesar Juneau Post 25 .375 BA 3 3B 17 RBI 23 R .594 OBP

Cody Curfman Chugiak Post 33 .426 BA 1 HR 2 3B 15 RBI 13 R

Julito Fazzini South Post 4 .420 BA 9 2B 16 R 13 RB 13 SB

Catcher  

Jeffrey Forster Wasilla Post 35 .314 BA 2 HR 22 RBI 18 BB .510 SLG

Wyatt Berg Fairbanks Post 30

Cooper Bailey Parsons Service Post 28 .360 BA 12 R 9 RBI .397 OBP

Sladen Mohl South Post 4 .426 BA 1 HR 23 RBI 29 R 10 SB

HONORALE MENTION

Starting Pitcher - Koby Burns Wasilla Post 35; Hank Boyer Wasilla Post 35; Shaun Walton Kodiak Post 17; Seth Hinson Bartlett Post 28; Gavin Petterson Kenai Post 20; Jack Carson Ketchikan Post 3; Cooper McLaughlin Palmer Post 15.

Relief Pitcher  - Matt Hess Chugiak Post 33; Cody Leslie South Post 4.

Infield  - Matt Palmer Wasilla Post 35; Ben Werner Wasilla Post 35; Boyer Wasilla Post 35; Ben Hall Fairbanks Post 30; Bryce Swafford Juneau Post 25; Zeb Storie Juneau Post 25; Sam Hanson Chugiak Post 33; Matthew Daugherty Kenai Post 20; Joe Becher Kenai Post 20; Gavin Petterson Kenai Post 20; Noah King Ketchikan Post 3; Aaron Davis Eagle River; Jared Froslie Eagle River; Seth Hinson Bartlett Post 28; Anthony Maldonado South Post 4; Derek McGinnis South Post 4; Luis Nunez West Post 1; Stanley Nolberto East Post 34; Jake Andresen Dimond Post 21; Kaden Roettger Dimond Post 21; Kyle Henrickson Dimond Post 21; Derek Scoggins Service Post 28; Carl Gatter East Post 34.

Outfield - Koby Burns Wasilla Post 35; Seth Rockenbach Kodiak Post 17; Ronan Klancher Service Post 28;  Wyatt Shults Palmer Post 15; Tyler Borschnack Bartlett Post 28.

Utility - Shaun Walton Kodiak Post 17; Bela Armstrong Fairbanks Post 11; London Emerson Fairbanks Post 11; Lauuli Tosi East Post 34.

Catcher - Shawn Sande Ketchikan Post 3.

COACHES OF THE YEAR

Joe Tompkins Juneau Post 25

Rob Quelland Kenai Post 20

Willie Paul Service Post 28

Dan Montagna Dimond Post 21

Kenai scores go-ahead run in 8th to hold off Service for title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 31, 2016

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

The Kenai Post 20 Twins scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to secure an 8-7 win over giant killer Service Post 28 on Saturday night at Mulcahy Stadium.

Calvin Hills' wheels provided the winning difference as his speed and heads-up base running set up the winning run.

After he singled with one out, Hills raced from first base to third base on a wild pitch and later scored on a grounder to shortstop in which Service all-star Raleigh Pigg looked Hills back to third before he fired a strike to first baseman Derek Scoggins for the out before Scoggins went home with a throw that was just late.

It was just one of many big plays on the night.

There were others moments like Kenai's Mason Prior making a head-first diving catch and then doubling up the runner on first base and closer Gavin Petterson working around a leadoff walk in the ninth inning before striking out the side to earn the save.

And then there was Scoggins, who drove in a runner from third on a comebacker in which he hustled down the line to beat the throw and tie the game at 7-7.

The No. 2 seeded Twins beat Service twice in the state tournament, including 17-1 on Day 2.

This was the fourth all-time Legion championship for Kenai, the first for head coach Robb Quelland. The team also won in 2012.

In winning the tournament, Kenai will represent the Alaska Legion Baseball at the Northwest Regional Tournament from Aug. 3-7 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kenai centerfielder Paul Steffensen was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He batted .444 in five games and led the tournament with nine RBIs. Half of his eight hits went for extra bases, including an inside-the-park home run.

Service, the No. 6 seed, upset No. 3 South, No. 4 Chugiak, No. 5 Wasilla and No. 1 Juneau on the way to the title game.

Cougars manager Willie Paul guided his program to its first appearance in the state championship game since 2001.

For making the title title, Service earned the right to represent the ALB at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament [NWCART] on Aug. 4-9 in Laurel, Montana.

In addition to Steffensen being named MVP, other awards included:

Service pitcher Raleigh Pigg won the Top Pitcher Award after going 1-0 and earning a save in his only two appearances. He pitched 10 innings, struck out seven and fashioned a 0.90 ERA.

Wasilla shortstop Matt Palmer had an RBI in all three games while batting .562 with seven total RBIs en route to winning the tournament's Big Stick Award.

Juneau shortstop Zeb Storie gobbled up groundballs like a vacuum, converting all 29 total defensive chances over the tournament, to win the Gold Glove Award.

Service 8, Juneau 6

Earlier in the day, the Cougars platd four runs over the eighth and ninth innings to knock out the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns in a knockout game.

It was Service's third consecutive win in an elimination game.

Cooper Bailey Parsons drove in three runs, Nick Hall had three hits and Carsen Sandau had two RBIs.

Relief pitchers Hall and Pigg combined to pitch the winal 6.2 innings.

Juneau's Bryce Swofford went 3=for-5 and Finn Collins and Stories each had two RBIs.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks Wild 6, East 4

Evan Wilken and Ben Hall combined on a four-hitter to lift Fairbanks Post 30 over the Post 34 T-birds in the tournament championship game.

Wilken pitched the first five innings to college the win and Hall shut the door with two innings of scoreless relief for the save.

Axel Keeton scored two of his team's six runs. The Wild won despite having fewer hits than the T-birds.

East's Brian Sosa pitched all six innings for East. Standley Nolberto went 2-for-4 and scored a run.

Service v Juneau will face off for right to play Kenai for state title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2016

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

Juneau 7, Kenai 1

Philip Wall carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning en route to pitching a complete game as the Post 25 Midnight Suns handed the Post 20 Twins their first loss at the state tournament.

Top-seeded Juneau scored twice in the first, second and fourth innings to take control. 

It was plenty of support for Wall. He tossed a three-hitter with four walks and six strikeouts.

Juneau banged out 13 hits, two each from Donavin McCurley, Zeb Storie, Quin Gist, Kasey Watts and Hall.

Storie had two RBIs and McCurley scored twice.

Kenai's Tyler Covey broke up Hall's no-no with a infield single to leadoff the eighth inning. Paul Steffensen's run-scoring base hit broke up the shutout in the ninth inning.

No. 2 seed Kenai entered the game as the lone tournament unbeaten, assuring itself in Saturday's title game.

Juneau will play Service Post 28 - a 5-4 winner over Wasilla Post 35 - at 3 p.m., with the winner facing Kenai at 6:30 for the state championship.

The Alaska state champion qualifies for the Northwest Regional Tournament on Aug. 3-7 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The second place team travels to Laurel, Montana, for the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament [NWCART] on Aug. 4-9.

Service 5, Wasilla 4

Derek Scoggins laced a double to score Cooper Bailey Parsons with the winning run in the 10th inning in an elimination game.

Scoggins finished with three hits and three RBIs on the day as the No. 6-seeded Cougars won their second loser-out game bya 5-4 score in as many days.

Nick Hall had two hits, including a double, and scored twice. Ronan Klancher doubled and had an RBI.

Hall picked up the win in relief of Ben Clayton and Cobey Cupp.

Wasilla rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 4-3.

Ben Werner drove in two runs and Matt Palmer tripled and added an RBI.

Wasilla's Sam Loyer pitched eight innings in earning a no-decision.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks Wild 14, Eagle River 6

Wyatt Berg and Colin King tripled to highlight a 10-hit attack as Post 30 scored in all six innings the team batted.

Ben Hall had two hits and drove in three runs. Hunter Andrews scored three times, had two hits and added an RBI.

Eagle River's Ryan Gray went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

East 10, Palmer 7

Gaten Davis went 4-for-4 at the plate and pitched the final two innings to earn the save to headline Post 34's win.

Carl Gatter went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Other East runs were driven in by Laauli Tosi, Davis, Logan Herman and Brian Sosa.

Palmer's Francisco had three RBIs for the Pioneers.

Kenai, Juneau, Service win on Day 3 of State Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 28, 2016

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

Kenai 4, Wasilla 3

Paul Steffensen and Kenneth Griffin drove in runs in a pivotal seventh-inning rally that carried the Post 20 Twins to a close win over the Post 35 Road Warriors in the winner's bracket.

Gavin Petterson went eight innings and picked up the win. He struck out seven batters and worked around six hits and three walks.

Calvin Hills pitched the ninth for the save.

Jacob Sonnen led off the seventh with a single and later scored. He finished 2-for-3.

Wasilla led 3-1 after an inning and a half.

Benjamin Werner went 3-for-5 with a run and RBI. Matthew Palmer and Koby Burns each went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

William Boyer allowed just two runs over six innings of relief for Wasilla.

Juneau 5, Dimond 4

The Post 25 Midnight Suns scored in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off over the Post 21 Lynx in a loser-out game.

Juneau ace Bryce Swofford pitched a complete game, scattering six hits and three walks over nine innings. Only two runs were unearned.

Michael Cesar went 3-for-3 with two RBIs to lead an 11-hit attack.

Donavin McCurley also got three hits. James Collins scored twice and Zeb Storie added an RBI.

Dimond's Dylan Montagna doubled and homered for the game's only two extra-base hits.

Service 5, Chugiak 4

Raleigh Pigg came out of the bullpen to throw eight innings of three-hit relief to lift the Post 28 Cougars over the Post 33 Mustangs.

Pigg entered the game with Service trailing 3-0. The only run he allowed was unearned.

He struck out seven to keep the Cougars alive in the double-elimination state tournament.

Service scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning after Michael Yandell beat the throw on a swinging but with two outs and a runner on third.

Ronan Klancher, Nick Hall, Cooper Bailey Parson and Yandell each had two hits. Bailey Parson drove in three runs and Hall and Yandell each had one RBI.

Chugiak - the defending state champion - got RBIs from Charlie Bucolo, Matt Hess and Cody Curfman.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks30 4, East 2

Axel Keeton threw all seven innings and was backed by just enough offense as the Post 30 Wild beat the Post 34 T-birds in the winner's bracket.

Wyatt Berg and Colin King each finished with RBIs. Berg also scored a run.

East's Stanley Nolberto doubled twice, scored a run and drove in a run.

Eagle River 7, Kodiak 0

Christian Fredrick and Brendan Miles combined on a five-hitter as Eagle River avoided elimination against the Post 17 Islanders.

Fredrick pitched the first five innings and Miles cleaned up the final two frames.

Eagle River's Aaron Davis went 4-for-4 and scored three runs.

Palmer 5, Fairbanks11 3

The Post 15 Pioneers scored four times in the top of the seventh inning to key a come-from-behind win over the Post 11 49ers in the loser bracket.

Kolten Ketchum pitched 2.1 innings of one-hit relief and earned the win.

Jason Erdman drove in two runs and Izak Lohrke pitched all seven innings for Fairbanks.

Kenai storms, Wasilla surges in winner's bracket play on Day 2

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 28, 2016

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

Wasilla 5, Juneau 3

Matthew Palmer delivered time and time again to help the fifth-seeded Post 35 Road Warriors upset the top-seeded Midnight Suns in the winner's bracket.

The shortstop slugger lined a two-out, two-run, two bagger in the top of the ninth inning to provide the winning difference.

In the seventh inning, he also came through with a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the ninth, Palmer made a nice catch for the second out and then ended the game by bare-handing a chopper and firing to first.

Koby Burns pitched all nine innings for Wasilla. He gave up six hits and walked just one.

Juneau scored single runs in the first, second and third innings.

James Collins collected two hits and scored twice. Zeb Storie and Philip Wall each had RBIs.

It was Juneau's first loss since June 11, when South beat the Midnight Suns 6-5 in the Capital City.

Kenai 17, Service 1

Paul Steffensen is a speedy slugger as his inside-the-park grand slam capped Kenai Post 20's blowout win over Service Post 28 in the winner's bracket action.

Steffensen finished the game 3-for-4 and collected seven RBIs on the day.

The Twins banged out 12 hits in seven innings and scored seven times in the fourth inning and five times in the sixth inning.

Joshua Darrow and Mason Prior each had two hits and combined to score seven times.

Starting pitcher Matthew Daugherty allowed three hits and three walks over five innings of work to earn the win.

Service's Bailey Cooper Parson drove in his team's lone run.

Chugiak 15, Ketchikan 1

The Post 33 Mustangs didn't tear the cover off the ball, but they didn't necessarily have to either.

Buoyed by 15 base on balls, Chugiak scored 15 runs on just five base hits to avoid elimination in the loser's bracket.

Jack Straub doubled twice and finished with five RBIs. Cody Curfman - who yesterday took line-drive deflection from glove to head - went 2-for-2 and also had five RBIs.

Charlie Bucolo - a two-time state tournament MVP - was walked four times and scored three times.

Brock King had the only RBI for the Post 3 Kings.

Dimond 3, South 1

Jacob Andresen and Parker Johnson were tangled in a pitching duel, with Andresen's Post 21 Lynx team coming out on top in a loser-out game.

He allowed just four hits and struck out nine. He allowed a run in the first inning and then threw goose eggs over the next seven.

Kaden Roettger pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

Johnson threw well enough to win for Post 4. He gave up seven hits, two earned runs and struck out a half dozen.

Dimond's RBIs came from Jesse Boese, Conor Bates-Janigo and Sean Carey. Derek McGinnss has the only RBI for South.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks30 11, Fairbanks11 1

Colin King threw a one-hitter over five innings and contributed to his own cause with two RBIs as the Post 30 Wild advanced in the winner's bracket.

Hunter Andrews also drove in two runs. Benjamin Hall went 2-for-2 and scored four times.

Credit Gavin Jackson with the only base hit for Post 11 49ers.

East 7, Eagle River 2

Gaten Davis pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts and Post 34 took control with a five-run sixth inning in the winner's bracket.

Stanley Nolberto, Carl Gatter, Kevin Lewis, Ricky Gatter and Joshua Barton drove in runs for East.

Eagle River's Braden Olmstead doubled in a run and later scored.

Palmer 11, Bartlett 1

Cooper McLaughlin pitched all five innings and went 2-for-3 with three RBIs at the plate to highlight Post 15's win in a loser-out game.

Wyatt Shults doubled twice and drove in five runs for the Pioneers.

Zach Satterly hit the game's only triple.

Kodiak 5, West 4

Lars Hanson led off the seventh inning with single and eventually scored on Shaun Walton's single to lift Post 17 in an elimination game.

Walton started and finished the game, scattering eight hits over seven innings of work.

Luis Nunez drove in three RBIs for the Post 1 Eagles.

Service, Kenai, Wasilla, Juneau win on Day 1 of State Tourney

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 26, 2016

Service 8, South 4

Have a day, Ben Clayton. 

The Service player banged out three hits, pitched six innings and drove in two runs as the sixth-seeded Post 28 Cougars upset No. 3 South Post 4.

Clayton started the game and held South to one run over the first six innings. He was chased in the seventh after giving up his second run.

Cobey Cupp pitched the final three innings to collect the save.

Carsen Sandau went 3-for-4 and Michael Yandell finished with three RBIs for Service. The Cougars scored all eight runs from the fifth through the ninth.

South's Julito Fazzini had three of his team's eight hits. Only one run was earned of the four surrendered by starter Tony Maioriello.

Kenai 6, Dimond 3 

The second-seeded Post 20 Twins erupted for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally by an upset-minded Post 21 squad.

Kenai trailed 3-2 entering the second-to-last inning before Joe Becher and Gavin Petterson each walked, then stole a base. Becher came home on a balk and Petterson scored the go-ahead run.

The bottom of the order came up clutch as Mason Prior, Tyler Covey and Cody Qulland combined for four hits, two runs and an RBI.

Calvin Hills went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and picked up the win with 1.1 innings of middle relief. Becher pitched the ninth for the save.

Dimond's Kyle Henrickson went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI. Dylan Montagna drove in the other run for the Lynx.

Wasilla 9, Chugiak 6

In a back and forth game that saw four lead changes in the first seven innings, Wasilla Post 35 capitalized on some miscues in the eighth inning to pull away from Chugiak Post 33.

The Road Warriors plated six runs thanks to RBIs from William Boyer, Samuel Reed and Matthew Palmer.

Wasilla starter Austin Robertson pitched well in a no decision. He allowed just one earned run over six innings.

Boyer picked up the win with three innings of relief.

Chugiak avoided a major scare in the top of the sixth inning when pitching ace Cody Curfman took a line drive off the head - the ball actually carromed into the outfield and was caught in the outfield grass by shortstop Charlie Bucolo.

Curfman came out as pitcher but stayed in the game and actually scored the tying run in the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Matthew Hess had three hits and four teammates had two hits apiece.

Juneau 16, Ketchikan 1

Top-seeded Juneau Post 25 flexed its muscles over Southeast rival Ketchikan Post 3 in seven innings.

Threes were wild for Quin Gist, who went 3-for-3, scored three runs and drove in three runs.

Stefan Beedle also had three RBIs for Juneau and Alexander Muir also scored three times.

Midnight Suns starter Jake Tanner scattered three hits and three walks over seven innings of work.

Ketchikan's Shawn Sande drove in his team's lone run.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage an the ALB Media Director.

Homza selected for prestigious Area Code Games in Long Beach

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 18, 2016

For a sport steeped in failure, Jonny Homza of Anchorage is enjoying a lot of success on the baseball field.

Two months after winning Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year honors and leading South High School to the ASAA state championship, the smooth shortstop has been named to the 2016 Area Code Games next month in Long Beach, California.

“I’m working really hard and playing the way I know how and that’s all anybody can really do,” he told me. “Baseball is a very humbling sport. I mean, if you fail 7 out of 10 times you’re considered good, so if you get too cocky you’re just setting yourself up for failure.”

Homza will represent the Pacific Northwest for the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks in the Area Code Games. The national event includes the top 200 players divided into eight regional teams.

“It does feel good to get recognized as a player and it’s very exciting to be able to experience all these cool things,” he said.

Players are typically nominated by a scout and then participate in a tryout. Homza was nominated by Tony Wylie of the Alaska Baseball Academy who also works as a scout for the D’backs.

“It was kind of his coming out party,” Wylie said of the tryout. “I kept hearing guys say ‘No way this kid is from Alaska.’”

Homza is the third Alaska player and first position player to be named to the Area Code Games, which date back to the 1980s. The other Alaskans to earn invitations were pitchers Max Karnos and Johnny Meszaros.

“I do think that baseball in Alaska is getting a lot more credibility and is able to produce a lot more talented baseball players, including more position players,” said Homza, who has committed to the University of Hawaii.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage an the ALB Media Director.

Nading having strong season for Wichita Wingnuts w/ 0.58 ERA

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 12, 2016

Chad Nading of Anchorage has played baseball all over the place and switched up his delivery more than once, so he’s paid his dues since turning pro in 2009.

He’s finally enjoying some well deserved success.

Nading is the top option out of the bullpen for the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association, an independent professional baseball league.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander has a team-best 0.58 ERA in 14 games, and the Wingnuts are 12-1 when he pitches.

Nading, of East Post 34 fame, has 14 strikeouts in 15.1 innings.

He was drafted out of high school and then again after UNLV.

He later signed with the San Diego Padres organization as a free agent and pitched in the Arizona League.

After a season each in the Frontier and North American Baseball League, Nading pitched for the Ishikawa MillionStars in Japan’s BC League in 2014.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage an the ALB Media Director.

Columbia [TN] wins BP Invitational for record third time

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 11, 2016

Calton Easterwood pitched beautifully and Columbia Post 19 banged out 11 hits in a 7-1 win over the Kenai Post 20 Twins in the championship game of the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Easterwood allowed just four hits while striking out a dozen over seven innings of work. The only run the right-hander surrendered was on a balk with two outs in the sixth inning.

 

The game ended on a double play.

 

Columbia won the BP Invitational for a record third time and improved to 16-1 in three trips to Alaska under manager Mickey McKeel.

 

The Tennessee team also beat Kenai - the first-place Legion AA team in Alaska - for the title of the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai earlier this week.

 

Columbia struck for four runs in the third inning, another in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

 

Leadoff hitter Bryce Giels was named BP Invitational Most Valuable Player. He batted .545 in five games with nine walks to bouy a .737 on-base percentage. Five of his six hits went for extra bases. The slick shortstop also stole eight bases and boasted a 1.000 fielding percentage.

 

Center fielder Devin Symlar won the Big Stick Award thanks to a tournament-best 12 RBIs. He drove in a tournament record seven RBIs in a Day 3 win over Dimond.

 

Kenai's Joe Becher was named Most Outstanding Pitcher. He didn't allow an earned run in nine total innings, including the final two frames of the championship game against Tennessee. Becher finished with 12 strikeouts and a complete game win over Lanakina Post 11 of Hawaii on Day 2.

 

Service catcher Cooper Bailey-Parsons won the tournament's Gold Glove Award.

 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage an the ALB Media Director.

Columbia [TN] wins BP Invitational for record third time

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 11, 2016

Calton Easterwood pitched beautifully and Columbia Post 19 banged out 11 hits in a 7-1 win over the Kenai Post 20 Twins in the championship game of the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium.

Easterwood allowed just four hits while striking out a dozen over seven innings of work. The only run the right-hander surrendered was on a balk with two outs in the sixth inning.

The game ended on a double play.

Columbia won the BP Invitational for a record third time and improved to 16-1 in three trips to Alaska under manager Mickey McKeel.

The Tennessee team also beat Kenai - the first-place Legion AA team in Alaska - for the title of the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai earlier this week.

Columbia struck for four runs in the third inning, another in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

Leadoff hitter Bryce Giels was named BP Invitational Most Valuable Player. He batted .545 in five games with nine walks to bouy a .737 on-base percentage. Five of his six hits went for extra bases. The slick shortstop also stole eight bases and boasted a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Center fielder Devin Symlar won the Big Stick Award thanks to a tournament-best 12 RBIs. He drove in a tournament record seven RBIs in a Day 3 win over Dimond.

Kenai's Joe Becher was named Most Outstanding Pitcher. He didn't allow an earned run in nine total innings, including the final two frames of the championship game against Tennessee. Becher finished with 12 strikeouts and a complete game win over Lanakina Post 11 of Hawaii on Day 2.

Service catcher Cooper Bailey-Parsons won the tournament's Gold Glove Award.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage an the ALB Media Director.

Legion A Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament begins Friday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 7, 2016

Legion A Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament

Pool A

Chugiak

Delta

Fairbanks 30

South-Black

Pool B

Kenai

Dimond

South-Gold

Fairbanks 11

OB Oberg / BA Bartlett / LF Loretta French

Friday 7/8

Pool A 

4 PM Black vs. Chugiak, OB

7 PM Delta vs. Fairbanks 30, OB

Pool B  

1 PM Dimond vs. Gold, BA

4 PM Gold vs. Fairbanks 11, BA

7 PM Fairbanks 11 vs. Kenai, BA

Saturday 7/9

Pool A

10 AM Fairbanks 30 vs. Black, OB

1 PM Black vs. Delta, OB

4 PM Delta vs. Chugiak, OB

7 PM Chugiak vs. Fairbanks 30, OB

Pool B

10 AM Kenai vs. Dimond, LF

4 PM Kenai vs. Gold, BA

7 PM Dimond vs. Fairbanks 11, BA

Sunday 7/10

11 AM A4 vs. B4, BA

11 AM A2 vs. B2, OB

2 PM A3 vs. B3, BA

*2 PM A1 vs. B1, OB

*Championship Game

Hawaii, Tennessee here for Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 29, 2016

The 2016 Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour kicks into high gear this weekend with the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla.

It’s the first of three consecutive tournaments over the next two weekends.

After Wasilla comes the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai followed by the granddaddy of them all, the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium.

The two Outside teams participating this year are Lanakila Post 11 from Honolulu, Hawaii, and Columbia Post 19 of Columbia, Tennessee.

This is the first time here for the Hawaiian team. However, Columbia is making its third trip to Alaska and is 9-1 in the land of the midnight sun. Tennessee's only loss came in a 2-0 defeat at the hands ofKenai Post 20 in 2012.

Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament

At Wasilla

All games at McManus Field

Friday 7/1 

12 PM Fairbanks 30 vs Hawaii

3 PM Fairbanks 11 vs Wasilla

6 PM Palmer vs Wasilla

Saturday 7/2

10 AM Fairbanks 11 vs Fairbanks 30

1 PM Palmer vs. Hawaii

4 PM Wasilla vs. Fairbanks 30

7 PM Fairbanks 11 vs. Palmer

Sunday 7/3

12 PM Hawaii vs. Fairbanks 11

3 PM Palmer vs. Fairbanks 30

6 PM Wasilla vs. Hawaii 

Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament

At Kenai

All games at Oiler Park

Tuesday 7/5

10 AM East vs. Tennessee

1 PM Kenai vs. Eagle River

4 PM Eagle River vs. East

7 PM Kenai vs. Tennessee

Wednesday 7/6

12 PM Kenai vs. East

3 PM Tennessee vs. Eagle River

Thursday 7/7

10 AM Consolation

1 PM Championship

BP Invitational

At Anchorage

All games at Mulcahy Stadium

Thursday 7/7

10 AM West vs. Service

1 PM South vs. Chugiak

Friday 7/8

9:15 AM Chugiak vs. Hawaii

11:45 AM Dimond vs. West

2:15 PM Kenai vs. South

5 PM Service vs. Tennessee

7:30 PM Hawaii vs. Kenai

Saturday 7/9

9:15 AM Service vs. Dimond 

11:45 AM Kenai vs. Chugiak

2:15 PM Dimond vs. Tennessee

5 PM Hawaii vs. South

7:30 PM Tennessee vs. West

Sunday 7/10

9:15 AM A4 v B4

11:45 AM A2 vs B1

2:15 PM B2 vs. A1

5 PM B3 vs. A3

7:30 PM Championship

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Hawaii, Tennessee here for Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 29, 2016

The 2016 Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour kicks into high gear this weekend with the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla.

It’s the first of three consecutive tournaments over the next two weekends.

After Wasilla comes the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai followed by the granddaddy of them all, the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium.

The two Outside teams participating this year are Lanakila Post 11 from Honolulu, Hawaii, and Columbia Post 19 of Columbia, Tennessee.

This is the first time here for the Hawaiian team. However, Columbia is making its third trip to Alaska and is 9-1 in the land of the midnight sun. Tennessee's only loss came in a 2-0 defeat at the hands ofKenai Post 20 in 2012.

Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament

At Wasilla

All games at McManus Field

Friday 7/1 

12 PM Fairbanks 30 vs Hawaii

3 PM Fairbanks 11 vs Wasilla

6 PM Palmer vs Wasilla

Saturday 7/2

10 AM Fairbanks 11 vs Fairbanks 30

1 PM Palmer vs. Hawaii

4 PM Wasilla vs. Fairbanks 30

7 PM Fairbanks 11 vs. Palmer

Sunday 7/3

12 PM Hawaii vs. Fairbanks 11

3 PM Palmer vs. Fairbanks 30

6 PM Wasilla vs. Hawaii 

Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament

At Kenai

All games at Oiler Park

Tuesday 7/5

10 AM East vs. Tennessee

1 PM Kenai vs. Eagle River

4 PM Eagle River vs. East

7 PM Kenai vs. Tennessee

Wednesday 7/6

12 PM Kenai vs. East

3 PM Tennessee vs. Eagle River

Thursday 7/7

10 AM Consolation

1 PM Championship

BP Invitational

At Anchorage

All games at Mulcahy Stadium

Thursday 7/7

10 AM West vs. Service

1 PM South vs. Chugiak

Friday 7/8

9:15 AM Chugiak vs. Hawaii

11:45 AM Dimond vs. West

2:15 PM Kenai vs. South

5 PM Service vs. Tennessee

7:30 PM Hawaii vs. Kenai

Saturday 7/9

9:15 AM Service vs. Dimond 

11:45 AM Kenai vs. Chugiak

2:15 PM Dimond vs. Tennessee

5 PM Hawaii vs. South

7:30 PM Tennessee vs. West

Sunday 7/10

9:15 AM A4 v B4

11:45 AM A2 vs B1

2:15 PM B2 vs. A1

5 PM B3 vs. A3

7:30 PM Championship

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Baseball Factory national tour comes to Anchorage on July 11

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 24, 2016

The Under Armour Baseball Factory national tour will be in Anchorage on July 11 at the Kosinski Fields.

Since its inception in 1994, the Baseball Factory has been a national leader in college recruiting.

Players in attendance will be evaluated by the Factory’s professional coaching staff, helping to reveal strengths and build on areas of improvement with proven tools, expert guidance and life-changing experiences to prepare for success on and off the field. 

This year’s College World Series features 92 former Factory alums. In the June Major League Baseball Draft, teams selected over 300 Factory alumni, including 38 former Under Armour All-Americans.

Developing their skill set further once in professional baseball, more than 400 Baseball Factory alumni have made their debuts in the big leagues since 1994. 

Baseball Factory holds a strong and committed relationship with American Legion, providing amateur players with new opportunities to develop their baseball skills and fulfill their dream of playing collegiate baseball. 

Read more about Baseball Factory’s partnership with American Legion at www.baseballfactory.com.

Baseball Factory national tour comes to Anchorage on July 11

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 24, 2016

The Under Armour Baseball Factory national tour will be in Anchorage on July 11 at the Kosinski Fields.

Since its inception in 1994, the Baseball Factory has been a national leader in college recruiting.

Players in attendance will be evaluated by the Factory’s professional coaching staff, helping to reveal strengths and build on areas of improvement with proven tools, expert guidance and life-changing experiences to prepare for success on and off the field. 

This year’s College World Series features 92 former Factory alums. In the June Major League Baseball Draft, teams selected over 300 Factory alumni, including 38 former Under Armour All-Americans.

Developing their skill set further once in professional baseball, more than 400 Baseball Factory alumni have made their debuts in the big leagues since 1994. 

Baseball Factory holds a strong and committed relationship with American Legion, providing amateur players with new opportunities to develop their baseball skills and fulfill their dream of playing collegiate baseball. 

Read more about Baseball Factory’s partnership with American Legion at www.baseballfactory.com.

With 17 teams, Alaska Legion touches every corner of state

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 20, 2016

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is in full swing and this weekend’s busy schedule was a good indicator as 16 of 17 AA teams were in action.

Eight fields were used in Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Wasilla and Anchorage.

Everybody played Saturday except Delta Post 22, the only team in the league that plays a mix of AA [varsity] and A [junior varsity] teams.

The 16 AA programs are vying for the chance to win the 63rd annual Alaska American Legion Baseball State Tournament at the end of July.

They are split into eight-team divisions and play an 18-game league schedule, after which the top eight advance to the state tournament at iconic Mulcahy Stadium and the bottom eight play in the Matson Invitational at Bartlett High.

For 50 years, Mulcahy Stadium has hosted the biggest games in Alaska.

The top three teams from each division after the regular season automatically qualify for the state tournament, as well as two wildcard teams based on the most points. 

The AA standings are based on a point system; 4 for a win, 2 for a tie, 1 for a loss and 0 for a forfeit.

The Alaska AA state champion advances to the Northwest Regional in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The regional runs Aug. 3-7 and includes state champions from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and Washington.

Chugiak Post 33 is the defending state champion from Alaska.

The Legion World Series is Aug. 11-16 in Shelby, North Carolina.

As of last week, 3,786 Legion teams nationwide will take the field in 2016, according to legion.org.

This year’s national registration numbers showed an increase from the previous years.

Alaska has been part of the growth.

In the last few years, the ALB has expanded in Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Valley while adding teams in Kodiak, Ketchikan and Delta.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

With 17 teams, Alaska Legion touches every corner of state

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 20, 2016

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is in full swing and this weekend’s busy schedule was a good indicator as 16 of 17 AA teams were in action.

Eight fields were used in Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Wasilla and Anchorage.

Everybody played Saturday except Delta Post 22, the only team in the league that plays a mix of AA [varsity] and A [junior varsity] teams.

The 16 AA programs are vying for the chance to win the 63rd annual Alaska American Legion Baseball State Tournament at the end of July.

They are split into eight-team divisions and play an 18-game league schedule, after which the top eight advance to the state tournament at iconic Mulcahy Stadium and the bottom eight play in the Matson Invitational at Bartlett High.

For 50 years, Mulcahy Stadium has hosted the biggest games in Alaska.

The top three teams from each division after the regular season automatically qualify for the state tournament, as well as two wildcard teams based on the most points. 

The AA standings are based on a point system; 4 for a win, 2 for a tie, 1 for a loss and 0 for a forfeit.

The Alaska AA state champion advances to the Northwest Regional in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The regional runs Aug. 3-7 and includes state champions from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and Washington.

Chugiak Post 33 is the defending state champion from Alaska.

The Legion World Series is Aug. 11-16 in Shelby, North Carolina.

As of last week, 3,786 Legion teams nationwide will take the field in 2016, according to legion.org.

This year’s national registration numbers showed an increase from the previous years.

Alaska has been part of the growth.

In the last few years, the ALB has expanded in Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Valley while adding teams in Kodiak, Ketchikan and Delta.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

College Coaches Camp expands to include more kids in Alaska

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 8, 2016

Since 1994, college coaches from all over the country have come to The Last Frontier to teach the game of baseball to Alaska.

The annual camp was always held at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

But now it's expanding to include the Interior players.

The College Coaches Camp will be in Fairbanks on June 14-15 and then in Palmer June 16-17 before wrapping up in Anchorage June 20-23.

The camp in Anchorage is open only to American Legion Baseball players.

There are youth opportunities in Fairbanks and Palmer.

All abilities are invited to attend and learn. 

Camp lead instructor Levi Lacey of Everett Community College in Washington has made more than dozen trips to Alaska in past several years and is a great instructor and teacher of young baseball players. 

Lacey's Everett CC teams have finished at or near the top of the prestigious NWAC, one of the toughest junior college leagues in the country.

Other instructors include Rob Strickland of College of Idaho, Kevin Davis of Pierce CC, Shawn Hamberger of College of Idaho, Patrick Perry of Dixie State University, Greg Goetz of Seattle University, Aaron Sutton of Treasure Valley CC and Gabe Boruff of Columbia Basin CC. 

Former longtime Chugiak Post 33 manager Bill Lierman Sr. helped create this annual event in 1994 before his passing.

In 2005, Alaska Legion Baseball named this clinic in his honor for his tireless dedication to young baseball players of Alaska.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

College Coaches Camp expands to include more kids in Alaska

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 8, 2016

Since 1994, college coaches from all over the country have come to The Last Frontier to teach the game of baseball to Alaska.

The annual camp was always held at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

But now it's expanding to include the Interior players.

The College Coaches Camp will be in Fairbanks on June 14-15 and then in Palmer June 16-17 before wrapping up in Anchorage June 20-23.

The camp in Anchorage is open only to American Legion Baseball players.

There are youth opportunities in Fairbanks and Palmer.

All abilities are invited to attend and learn. 

Camp lead instructor Levi Lacey of Everett Community College in Washington has made more than dozen trips to Alaska in past several years and is a great instructor and teacher of young baseball players. 

Lacey's Everett CC teams have finished at or near the top of the prestigious NWAC, one of the toughest junior college leagues in the country.

Other instructors include Rob Strickland of College of Idaho, Kevin Davis of Pierce CC, Shawn Hamberger of College of Idaho, Patrick Perry of Dixie State University, Greg Goetz of Seattle University, Aaron Sutton of Treasure Valley CC and Gabe Boruff of Columbia Basin CC. 

Former longtime Chugiak Post 33 manager Bill Lierman Sr. helped create this annual event in 1994 before his passing.

In 2005, Alaska Legion Baseball named this clinic in his honor for his tireless dedication to young baseball players of Alaska.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Jonny Baseball: Homza does it all in leading South to state title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 4, 2016

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Saturday's Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 3

Championship Game, South 3, Chugiak 1

Third-Place Game Sitka 6, Ketchikan 5

Fourth-Place Game Wasilla 15, Lathrop 5

Championship Game

South 3, Chugiak 1

The bullpen was hot and South starter Jonny Homza had thrown 100 pitches when the tying run came to the plate in the seventh inning.

This was the state championship game and Chugiak was knocking at the door with a runner on and one out. Maybe it was time to pull him, but South coach Taylor Nerland stuck with Homza.

“I was stoked, for sure,” Homza told me. “My arm was feeling good and Nerland said ‘Hey man, if you can do it, do it.”

He did it.

The reigning Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year got the next batter to ground out before ending the game with a strikeout, putting his signature on a 3-1 win over the Cook Inlet Conference champions at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

“When it came down to it, Jonny was still pitching well,” Nerland told me of his decision. “He’s a phenomenal competitor and he plays with a lot of emotion. When he got that last out you could tell the adrenaline was going through him. If his arm was hurting, he probably wouldn’t have told me.”

Homza, a junior right-hander, allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 10. He finished with 106 pitches.

“Jonny looked amazing,” fellow South pitcher Tommy Koloski told me. “That’s one of the best outings I’ve ever seen him have.”

It came against a Chugiak team that 11 days ago beat Homza in the CIC championship game. It also came against a Chugiak team that beat South in last year’s state championship game.

Many players from both years were on the field Saturday. It’s become a Yankees-Red Sox type rivalry. It’s special when they square off.

“We’ve been back and forth with them,” Homza said. “I think we just wanted it more because we knew what it felt like to lose to them.”

South took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Max Costello’s fielder’s choice scored Julito Fazzini from third base with one out.

Chugiak tied it at 1-1 in the bottom half when Brady Lindberg delivered a two-out single and scored on Hunter Register’s double.

With two outs in the third inning, Homza jumped on a first-pitch fastball and knocked it out of the ballpark for his first home run in his South career. He picked a fine time, providing the Wolverines with the go-ahead run and the lead for good.

“It was pretty sweet,” he said. “You just go up there to the plate with the same approach. I’ve done it so many times in my life that this time it felt like any other time. I saw the pitch and hit the ball. There’s not much I can really say about it. It was really no different than any other at-bat. It just happened to go out, which was nice.”

Koloski called it a monster shot.

“I knew that home run was out as soon as it left the bat,” he said.

South added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Matt Kley scored from third base on a Chugiak fielding error.

With Homza on the mound, it may have not mattered. He allowed only nine hits and had a 1.47 ERA over his last 19 innings in May and June.

This was South’s fourth consecutive appearance in the state title game. The Wolverines won the 2013 championship before getting second the next two years.

If anything, though, South exercised some demons this year.

“We lost to Sitka two years ago and we beat them. We lost to Chugiak last year and we beat them,” Nerland said. “It feels really good, I’ll tell you that much.”

Third-Place Game

Sitka 6, Ketchikan 5

Sitka built an early lead and survived one bad inning to prevail in a third-place game between Southeast Conference rivals.

Ky Stockel and Branden Case each drove in a pair of runs and Trevor Dalton and Kyle Fitzsimmons each had one RBI.

Case homered and Fitzsimmons tripled as Sitka took a 6-1 lead after the top of the fifth inning.

Nathan Bonck and Co. made things interesting in the bottom half of the frame with a four-spot that made it a one-run game.

Bonck, the ace pitcher headed to Seattle University this fall, finished off his high school career in style with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate that included a three-run home run.

"The ball I hit was a splitter that might've hit me if I didn't swing," Bonck told me. "Totally hooked it and kept it just inside the foul pole."

For his career, the 2015 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, and three one-hitters. He also slugged 14 home runs – more than any other player in the state over that time.

“Ketchikan has given me all I could’ve asked for out of a high school baseball experience. Baseball in Southeast Alaska too,” Bonck said. “Traveling and housing out has blessed me with some lifelong friends out of the great town of Sitka.

“I’m happy with how it went and I know I’ve gotten better every year, as a person as well as a ballplayer.”

Fourth-Place Game

Wasilla 15, Lathrop 5

The Warriors broke out the bats in a big way, collecting 14 hits and scoring runs in six of the seven innings to win the fourth-place game at state.

Wasilla's Cyruss Lovell was the game's only player with three hits while teammates Ben Werner, Ryan Perkins, Nolan Monaghan and Kyle Graham each banged out two hits.

Wasilla's Jeffery Forster drove in three runs and Perkins, Monaghan, Jimmy Arend and Graham each had 2 RBIs.

Starter Hank Boyer got the win and reliever Austin Robertson pitched three perfect innings to collect the save.

Lathrop's bats weren't silent. Colin King homered and Mason Wilken tripled. Wyatt Berg went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Jonny Baseball: Homza does it all in leading South to state title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 4, 2016

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Saturday's Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 3

Championship Game, South 3, Chugiak 1

Third-Place Game Sitka 6, Ketchikan 5

Fourth-Place Game Wasilla 15, Lathrop 5

Championship Game

South 3, Chugiak 1

The bullpen was hot and South starter Jonny Homza had thrown 100 pitches when the tying run came to the plate in the seventh inning.

This was the state championship game and Chugiak was knocking at the door with a runner on and one out. Maybe it was time to pull him, but South coach Taylor Nerland stuck with Homza.

“I was stoked, for sure,” Homza told me. “My arm was feeling good and Nerland said ‘Hey man, if you can do it, do it.”

He did it.

The reigning Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year got the next batter to ground out before ending the game with a strikeout, putting his signature on a 3-1 win over the Cook Inlet Conference champions at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

“When it came down to it, Jonny was still pitching well,” Nerland told me of his decision. “He’s a phenomenal competitor and he plays with a lot of emotion. When he got that last out you could tell the adrenaline was going through him. If his arm was hurting, he probably wouldn’t have told me.”

Homza, a junior right-hander, allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 10. He finished with 106 pitches.

“Jonny looked amazing,” fellow South pitcher Tommy Koloski told me. “That’s one of the best outings I’ve ever seen him have.”

It came against a Chugiak team that 11 days ago beat Homza in the CIC championship game. It also came against a Chugiak team that beat South in last year’s state championship game.

Many players from both years were on the field Saturday. It’s become a Yankees-Red Sox type rivalry. It’s special when they square off.

“We’ve been back and forth with them,” Homza said. “I think we just wanted it more because we knew what it felt like to lose to them.”

South took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Max Costello’s fielder’s choice scored Julito Fazzini from third base with one out.

Chugiak tied it at 1-1 in the bottom half when Brady Lindberg delivered a two-out single and scored on Hunter Register’s double.

With two outs in the third inning, Homza jumped on a first-pitch fastball and knocked it out of the ballpark for his first home run in his South career. He picked a fine time, providing the Wolverines with the go-ahead run and the lead for good.

“It was pretty sweet,” he said. “You just go up there to the plate with the same approach. I’ve done it so many times in my life that this time it felt like any other time. I saw the pitch and hit the ball. There’s not much I can really say about it. It was really no different than any other at-bat. It just happened to go out, which was nice.”

Koloski called it a monster shot.

“I knew that home run was out as soon as it left the bat,” he said.

South added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Matt Kley scored from third base on a Chugiak fielding error.

With Homza on the mound, it may have not mattered. He allowed only nine hits and had a 1.47 ERA over his last 19 innings in May and June.

This was South’s fourth consecutive appearance in the state title game. The Wolverines won the 2013 championship before getting second the next two years.

If anything, though, South exercised some demons this year.

“We lost to Sitka two years ago and we beat them. We lost to Chugiak last year and we beat them,” Nerland said. “It feels really good, I’ll tell you that much.”

Third-Place Game

Sitka 6, Ketchikan 5

Sitka built an early lead and survived one bad inning to prevail in a third-place game between Southeast Conference rivals.

Ky Stockel and Branden Case each drove in a pair of runs and Trevor Dalton and Kyle Fitzsimmons each had one RBI.

Case homered and Fitzsimmons tripled as Sitka took a 6-1 lead after the top of the fifth inning.

Nathan Bonck and Co. made things interesting in the bottom half of the frame with a four-spot that made it a one-run game.

Bonck, the ace pitcher headed to Seattle University this fall, finished off his high school career in style with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate that included a three-run home run.

"The ball I hit was a splitter that might've hit me if I didn't swing," Bonck told me. "Totally hooked it and kept it just inside the foul pole."

For his career, the 2015 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, and three one-hitters. He also slugged 14 home runs – more than any other player in the state over that time.

“Ketchikan has given me all I could’ve asked for out of a high school baseball experience. Baseball in Southeast Alaska too,” Bonck said. “Traveling and housing out has blessed me with some lifelong friends out of the great town of Sitka.

“I’m happy with how it went and I know I’ve gotten better every year, as a person as well as a ballplayer.”

Fourth-Place Game

Wasilla 15, Lathrop 5

The Warriors broke out the bats in a big way, collecting 14 hits and scoring runs in six of the seven innings to win the fourth-place game at state.

Wasilla's Cyruss Lovell was the game's only player with three hits while teammates Ben Werner, Ryan Perkins, Nolan Monaghan and Kyle Graham each banged out two hits.

Wasilla's Jeffery Forster drove in three runs and Perkins, Monaghan, Jimmy Arend and Graham each had 2 RBIs.

Starter Hank Boyer got the win and reliever Austin Robertson pitched three perfect innings to collect the save.

Lathrop's bats weren't silent. Colin King homered and Mason Wilken tripled. Wyatt Berg went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

 

Run it back: Chugiak, South meet in rematch of 2015 final

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 3, 2016

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Friday's Schedule / Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 2

Loser's Bracket

Lathrop 11, Soldotna 9

Wasilla 4, Monroe Catholic 3

Semifinals

South 4, Sitka 0

Chugiak 4, Ketchikan 3

GAME RECAPS

Chugiak 4, Ketchikan 3

Even though baseball comes down to individual matchups, the game is a team sport all the way.

Just ask the Mustangs.

With ace Cody Curfman not pitching his best early on, Chugiak closer Matt Hess stepped in to throw a season-high 4.1 innings to preserve a slim lead in the state semifinal.

“Matt was great tonight,” Curfman told me. “I just didn’t have it tonight and for Matt to come up big in that situation is huge.”

Hess allowed only one run and wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning with a fly out.

“I misplaced a couple pitches and they capitalized because they are a great hitting team,” Hess told me. “But my team stayed positive and always has my back. They are a great defense and they made the plays they needed to get me out of the jam.”

Chugiak advanced to the state championship game for a rematch of last year’s title matchup with Cook Inlet Conference rival South.

Chugiak beat South 10 days ago for the CIC title. Hess finished off that game, too.

“I love closing games,” said Hess, who has two saves. “It’s an awesome feeling coming into a close game and being the one that gets to finish it on the mound.”

Jake Kindred went 3-for-3 and scored twice. Brady Lindberg drove in two runs and Charlie Bucolo and Curfman each added RBIs.

This was the second straight game the Mustangs put up a crooked number on the scoreboard. Last night it was a five-run first inning against Monroe Catholic. Tonight was it a three-run third.

“We always love to come out hitting first [as visitor],” Curfman said. “When we get a few runs early it really propels us through the rest of the game; and knocks down the confidence of the other team’s pitcher.”

In the seventh inning, Ketchikan gunned down an insurance run on a beautiful relay from left fielder Jackson Pool to shortstop Jacob Shay to catcher Nate Fousel, who tagged out Hess at the plate.

The throw home needed to be perfect to get him.

“It was a good throw and a good tag,” Hess said. “I don’t know if I was out, but it was a tough call and could have gone either way for sure. Very clutch play by them.”

Ketchikan's Nathan Bonck went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Teammates Spencer Erickson and Mo Bullock each had two hits.

South 4, Sitka 0

Even though he stood alone on the mound for South in Friday’s state tournament semifinals, starting pitcher Parker Johnson never felt like he was on an island.

He pitches to contact and relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

“I’m not able to overpower hitters,” Johnson told me. “I just try to keep them off balance to get my fielders plays and they always have my back, which is nice.”

The junior right-hander shut out the Southeast Conference champions by scattering six hits and three walks over seven innings of work.

He got the big outs when he needed as Sitka stranded eight runners on base.

“It definitely helps having the best fielders in the state behind me,” Johnson said. “I relied on my changeup, trying to keep hitters off balance and give my team a chance to make plays in the field. They made some big plays for me today, as they always do.”

It’s not just the defense, though. Johnson ended the season with a 15-inning scoreless streak. And his win helped South advance to the state championship game for the fourth consecutive year, looking for first title since 2013. 

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I can’t wait.”

The Wolverines got base hits from eight of nine starters and major contributions from the bottom of the lineup as Sladen Mohl, Anthony Maldonado, Max Costello and Trevor McGinnis combined to score three runs and drive in another.

Sitka starter Kyle Fitzsimmons went the distance and had only one bad inning, throwing goose eggs in four frames. He gave up eight hits and three earned runs in six innings.

Sitka coach Matt Way - a 2009 fifth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies - knows a thing or two about pitching and he liked what he saw from both starting pitchers.

"Both had good control of their offspeed and both worked out of some big jams," Way told me. "It was a fun game. In the end, it came down to defensive execution. We got outplayed today."

Wasilla 4, Monroe Catholic 3

Hank Boyer bunted home Jeffery Forster from third base to allow the Warriors to walk off with an extra-inning game to avoid elimination.

The Southcentral Conference champions scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings to advance to the fourth-place game of the state tournament.

Koby Burns hit the tying home run in the sixth, which ultimately forced an extra inning of play.

Nolan Monaghan, Jimmy Arend and Boyer also had RBIs for Wasilla.

Monroe Catholic led 3-1 through four innings, thanks to runs scored by Izak Lohrke, Miachael Richter and Dyland Steele.

Starter Gavin Jackson didn't get the decision. He pitched well, though, scattering four runs over seven innings. 

Burns started for Wasilla and struck out 10 batters over six innings.

Reliever Austin Robertson pitched two scorless frame for the win.

Lathrop 11, Soldotna 9

Mason Wilken's two-run triple capped a five-run fifth inning rally and proved to be the difference for the Malemutes of Fairbanks in an elimination game.

Wilken, the No. 9 hitter, finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs as the Mid Alaska Conference champions survived to play another day.

Vonche Wood, James Kardash, Evan Wilken and Sam Greenburg also drove in runs for Lathrop.

The Malemutes won despite issuing a combined 13 walks by four pitchers. The offense also had a lot of base runners and scored in five different innings.

Soldotna pitcher Chase Reed came out of the bullpen and threw three innings to get the win and help Lathrop move on to Saturday’s fourth-place game.

Soldotna's Joe Becher doubled, drove in two runs and scored twice. Teammate Kolten Wilson also had two RBIs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Run it back: Chugiak, South meet in rematch of 2015 final

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 3, 2016

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Friday's Schedule / Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 2

Loser's Bracket

Lathrop 11, Soldotna 9

Wasilla 4, Monroe Catholic 3

Semifinals

South 4, Sitka 0

Chugiak 4, Ketchikan 3

GAME RECAPS

Chugiak 4, Ketchikan 3

Even though baseball comes down to individual matchups, the game is a team sport all the way.

Just ask the Mustangs.

With ace Cody Curfman not pitching his best early on, Chugiak closer Matt Hess stepped in to throw a season-high 4.1 innings to preserve a slim lead in the state semifinal.

“Matt was great tonight,” Curfman told me. “I just didn’t have it tonight and for Matt to come up big in that situation is huge.”

Hess allowed only one run and wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning with a fly out.

“I misplaced a couple pitches and they capitalized because they are a great hitting team,” Hess told me. “But my team stayed positive and always has my back. They are a great defense and they made the plays they needed to get me out of the jam.”

Chugiak advanced to the state championship game for a rematch of last year’s title matchup with Cook Inlet Conference rival South.

Chugiak beat South 10 days ago for the CIC title. Hess finished off that game, too.

“I love closing games,” said Hess, who has two saves. “It’s an awesome feeling coming into a close game and being the one that gets to finish it on the mound.”

Jake Kindred went 3-for-3 and scored twice. Brady Lindberg drove in two runs and Charlie Bucolo and Curfman each added RBIs.

This was the second straight game the Mustangs put up a crooked number on the scoreboard. Last night it was a five-run first inning against Monroe Catholic. Tonight was it a three-run third.

“We always love to come out hitting first [as visitor],” Curfman said. “When we get a few runs early it really propels us through the rest of the game; and knocks down the confidence of the other team’s pitcher.”

In the seventh inning, Ketchikan gunned down an insurance run on a beautiful relay from left fielder Jackson Pool to shortstop Jacob Shay to catcher Nate Fousel, who tagged out Hess at the plate.

The throw home needed to be perfect to get him.

“It was a good throw and a good tag,” Hess said. “I don’t know if I was out, but it was a tough call and could have gone either way for sure. Very clutch play by them.”

Ketchikan's Nathan Bonck went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Teammates Spencer Erickson and Mo Bullock each had two hits.

South 4, Sitka 0

Even though he stood alone on the mound for South in Friday’s state tournament semifinals, starting pitcher Parker Johnson never felt like he was on an island.

He pitches to contact and relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

“I’m not able to overpower hitters,” Johnson told me. “I just try to keep them off balance to get my fielders plays and they always have my back, which is nice.”

The junior right-hander shut out the Southeast Conference champions by scattering six hits and three walks over seven innings of work.

He got the big outs when he needed as Sitka stranded eight runners on base.

“It definitely helps having the best fielders in the state behind me,” Johnson said. “I relied on my changeup, trying to keep hitters off balance and give my team a chance to make plays in the field. They made some big plays for me today, as they always do.”

It’s not just the defense, though. Johnson ended the season with a 15-inning scoreless streak. And his win helped South advance to the state championship game for the fourth consecutive year, looking for first title since 2013. 

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I can’t wait.”

The Wolverines got base hits from eight of nine starters and major contributions from the bottom of the lineup as Sladen Mohl, Anthony Maldonado, Max Costello and Trevor McGinnis combined to score three runs and drive in another.

Sitka starter Kyle Fitzsimmons went the distance and had only one bad inning, throwing goose eggs in four frames. He gave up eight hits and three earned runs in six innings.

Sitka coach Matt Way - a 2009 fifth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies - knows a thing or two about pitching and he liked what he saw from both starting pitchers.

"Both had good control of their offspeed and both worked out of some big jams," Way told me. "It was a fun game. In the end, it came down to defensive execution. We got outplayed today."

Wasilla 4, Monroe Catholic 3

Hank Boyer bunted home Jeffery Forster from third base to allow the Warriors to walk off with an extra-inning game to avoid elimination.

The Southcentral Conference champions scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings to advance to the fourth-place game of the state tournament.

Koby Burns hit the tying home run in the sixth, which ultimately forced an extra inning of play.

Nolan Monaghan, Jimmy Arend and Boyer also had RBIs for Wasilla.

Monroe Catholic led 3-1 through four innings, thanks to runs scored by Izak Lohrke, Miachael Richter and Dyland Steele.

Starter Gavin Jackson didn't get the decision. He pitched well, though, scattering four runs over seven innings. 

Burns started for Wasilla and struck out 10 batters over six innings.

Reliever Austin Robertson pitched two scorless frame for the win.

Lathrop 11, Soldotna 9

Mason Wilken's two-run triple capped a five-run fifth inning rally and proved to be the difference for the Malemutes of Fairbanks in an elimination game.

Wilken, the No. 9 hitter, finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs as the Mid Alaska Conference champions survived to play another day.

Vonche Wood, James Kardash, Evan Wilken and Sam Greenburg also drove in runs for Lathrop.

The Malemutes won despite issuing a combined 13 walks by four pitchers. The offense also had a lot of base runners and scored in five different innings.

Soldotna pitcher Chase Reed came out of the bullpen and threw three innings to get the win and help Lathrop move on to Saturday’s fourth-place game.

Soldotna's Joe Becher doubled, drove in two runs and scored twice. Teammate Kolten Wilson also had two RBIs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Southeast, Cook Inlet dominate on first day at State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 2, 2016

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Thursday's Schedule / Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 1, First Round

Sitka 12, Soldotna 2

Ketchikan 11, Wasilla 1

South 11, Lathrop 1

Chugiak 11, Monroe Catholic 0

GAME RECAPS

Chugiak 11, Monroe Catholic 0

The defending state champion Mustangs didn’t waste any time as the first seven batters of the game reached base to ignite a five-run first inning.

Charlie Bucolo drove in four runs and Cook Inlet Conference MVP Cody Curfman had three hits and two RBIs for Chugiak.

“Our leaders stepped up today,” Chugiak’s Brady Lindberg told me. “The first rally definitely takes a lot of pressure at the start. It feels good having a strong offense to back my pitching.”

Lindberg threw three scoreless innings on the mound and at the plate he knocked in two runs to help his own cause.

The right-hander allowed one hit and two walks. He struck out four.

“I started to get in my head a lot,” Lindberg said. “I struggled, but I had my defense to back me after I settled down.”

Brian Wing pitched the final two innings to close the door for the CIC champions.

Monroe Catholic is making just its second appearance at the state tournament in school history.

The Rams of Fairbanks have one of the youngest teams in the state and their future looks bright.

Chugiak has now won four straight games at the state tournament, dating back to last season.

South 11, Lathrop 1

After losing the Cook Inlet Conference championship game nine days ago, the Wolverines had plenty of time to prepare for the state tournament. They also had a ton of time to hit.

“We have been hitting a lot during the break between the CIC championship game and today,” South’s Tommy Koloski told me. “We came into the game wanting to get back to playing how we know we can.”

The Wolverines banged out 11 hits in just four frames of work. The game was called after the top of the fifth inning.

“We don’t want another second place and we need to come out swinging with authority these next few games,” said Koloski, the winning pitcher.

South's Matt Kley and Sladen Mohl each had two hits and two RBIs. Teammates Lian Lincoln and Julito Fazzini also drove in two runs apiece.

The Wolverines took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, thanks in part to a pair of bases-loaded walks. They put the Mid-Alaska Conference champions away with a six-run second inning.

“We were hitting for so long, by the time I went back out I felt that I needed to warm up all over again,” said Koloski, who has a 0.95 ERA over his last 22 innings. “I’m glad that I only went three innings so I can come back for another game and do what I do best.”

Lathrop's Colin King had two base hits and Evan Wilken drove in his team's lone run.

Ketchikan 11, Wasilla 1

The Kings jumped all over the Southcentral Conference champion Warriors with four runs in the first inning - all with two outs - to propel them in the first round.

Ketchikan added another run in the second inning and three more in the third inning before Wasilla got on the scoreboard.

Last year's Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Nathan Bonk pitched beautifully, scattering four hits over seven innings with 11 strikeouts. The only run he allowed was unearned.

"Pretty solid game," Bonck told me. "I kept the pitch count down and threw all my offspeed for strikes."

Wasilla was the only team in the state to go undefeated in league play.

But Ketchikan wasn't going to be denied.

Mo Bullock and Jackson Pool each collected four RBIs as the Kings outhit Wasilla 12-4.

"Out bats came alive," said Bonck, who went 2-for-4.

Wasilla pitcher Nolan Monaghan struck out a dozen batters in six innings of relief.

Sitka 12, Soldotna 2

Vaughn Blankenship pitched a complete game and Ky Stockel delivered RBIs in the third, fifth and sixth innings as the Southeast Conference champion Wolves rolled in the first round.

Blankenship allowed two runs and four hits [two triples] in the first inning, then settled down nicely. He allowed only one hit over the final six frames.

He struck out 11 batters.

"This win was huge for us," Sitka coach Matt Way told me. "Blankenship is always super tough on the mound, but unfortunately he doesn't get tough until he gives up a run or two.

"He battles, though, and that's what all great pitchers have in common."

Stockel, Dayton Cropper and Josh Young each had two hits as Sitka pounded out 11 against Soldotna ace Joe Becher.

Becher threw two of the team's three no-hitters during the regular season.

Eight Sitka players scored runs and seven drove in runs. Trevor Dalton and Cropper each had two RBIs.

"The offense is one of our biggest weapons this year," Way said. "Where we used to rely on pitching and defense, this year we have worked a ton on our hitters' approach at the plate and it's great to see the guys having success."

This was the first state tournament win for Way, a former hometown hero who pitched at Washington State and the professional ranks.

Way took over last year after longtime coach Ed Conway retired after leading the Wolves to the 2014 state championship.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director. 

Southeast, Cook Inlet dominate on first day at State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 2, 2016

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Thursday's Schedule / Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 1, First Round

Sitka 12, Soldotna 2

Ketchikan 11, Wasilla 1

South 11, Lathrop 1

Chugiak 11, Monroe Catholic 0

GAME RECAPS

Chugiak 11, Monroe Catholic 0

The defending state champion Mustangs didn’t waste any time as the first seven batters of the game reached base to ignite a five-run first inning.

Charlie Bucolo drove in four runs and Cook Inlet Conference MVP Cody Curfman had three hits and two RBIs for Chugiak.

“Our leaders stepped up today,” Chugiak’s Brady Lindberg told me. “The first rally definitely takes a lot of pressure at the start. It feels good having a strong offense to back my pitching.”

Lindberg threw three scoreless innings on the mound and at the plate he knocked in two runs to help his own cause.

The right-hander allowed one hit and two walks. He struck out four.

“I started to get in my head a lot,” Lindberg said. “I struggled, but I had my defense to back me after I settled down.”

Brian Wing pitched the final two innings to close the door for the CIC champions.

Monroe Catholic is making just its second appearance at the state tournament in school history.

The Rams of Fairbanks have one of the youngest teams in the state and their future looks bright.

Chugiak has now won four straight games at the state tournament, dating back to last season.

South 11, Lathrop 1

After losing the Cook Inlet Conference championship game nine days ago, the Wolverines had plenty of time to prepare for the state tournament. They also had a ton of time to hit.

“We have been hitting a lot during the break between the CIC championship game and today,” South’s Tommy Koloski told me. “We came into the game wanting to get back to playing how we know we can.”

The Wolverines banged out 11 hits in just four frames of work. The game was called after the top of the fifth inning.

“We don’t want another second place and we need to come out swinging with authority these next few games,” said Koloski, the winning pitcher.

South's Matt Kley and Sladen Mohl each had two hits and two RBIs. Teammates Lian Lincoln and Julito Fazzini also drove in two runs apiece.

The Wolverines took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, thanks in part to a pair of bases-loaded walks. They put the Mid-Alaska Conference champions away with a six-run second inning.

“We were hitting for so long, by the time I went back out I felt that I needed to warm up all over again,” said Koloski, who has a 0.95 ERA over his last 22 innings. “I’m glad that I only went three innings so I can come back for another game and do what I do best.”

Lathrop's Colin King had two base hits and Evan Wilken drove in his team's lone run.

Ketchikan 11, Wasilla 1

The Kings jumped all over the Southcentral Conference champion Warriors with four runs in the first inning - all with two outs - to propel them in the first round.

Ketchikan added another run in the second inning and three more in the third inning before Wasilla got on the scoreboard.

Last year's Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Nathan Bonk pitched beautifully, scattering four hits over seven innings with 11 strikeouts. The only run he allowed was unearned.

"Pretty solid game," Bonck told me. "I kept the pitch count down and threw all my offspeed for strikes."

Wasilla was the only team in the state to go undefeated in league play.

But Ketchikan wasn't going to be denied.

Mo Bullock and Jackson Pool each collected four RBIs as the Kings outhit Wasilla 12-4.

"Out bats came alive," said Bonck, who went 2-for-4.

Wasilla pitcher Nolan Monaghan struck out a dozen batters in six innings of relief.

Sitka 12, Soldotna 2

Vaughn Blankenship pitched a complete game and Ky Stockel delivered RBIs in the third, fifth and sixth innings as the Southeast Conference champion Wolves rolled in the first round.

Blankenship allowed two runs and four hits [two triples] in the first inning, then settled down nicely. He allowed only one hit over the final six frames.

He struck out 11 batters.

"This win was huge for us," Sitka coach Matt Way told me. "Blankenship is always super tough on the mound, but unfortunately he doesn't get tough until he gives up a run or two.

"He battles, though, and that's what all great pitchers have in common."

Stockel, Dayton Cropper and Josh Young each had two hits as Sitka pounded out 11 against Soldotna ace Joe Becher.

Becher threw two of the team's three no-hitters during the regular season.

Eight Sitka players scored runs and seven drove in runs. Trevor Dalton and Cropper each had two RBIs.

"The offense is one of our biggest weapons this year," Way said. "Where we used to rely on pitching and defense, this year we have worked a ton on our hitters' approach at the plate and it's great to see the guys having success."

This was the first state tournament win for Way, a former hometown hero who pitched at Washington State and the professional ranks.

Way took over last year after longtime coach Ed Conway retired after leading the Wolves to the 2014 state championship.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Coaches vote Curfman winner of Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 28, 2016

Whether he was pitching, hitting or catching, Cody Curfman of Chugiak was a game changer.

The senior all-star won a league-best four games on the mound; he drove in nine runs in 11 games, including a pair in the league championship game; and he caught a no-hitter and erased 10 runners on the base paths this year.

Yeah, just give him the player-of-the-year award.

That’s exactly what the Cook Inlet Conferences coaches did in honoring Curfman with the 2016 Don Rabung CIC MVP Award at a league meeting Friday.

Curfman is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA at pitcher. He pitched six innings in the CIC title game as Chugiak beat South 6-4 at Mulcahy Stadium to secure the league’s No. 1 seed at state.

He was the catcher on Chugiak’s combined no-hitter by Brady Lindberg and Matt Hess against East. He gunned out a league-high six runners trying to steal bases.

Curfman was one of four players to make the all-conference first team at two positions. Another was his teammate, Hess, who made it at relief pitcher and second baseman.

The other two were from Service – Ronan Klancher [SP, OF] and Raleigh Pigg [RP, SS]. 

Hess also has do-it-all talent for the Mustangs.

In addition to being a two-time first team selection, he was awarded for with the CIC Big Stick Award. He led the league with a .464 batting average and seven doubles.

The league’s Gold Glove Award went to slick South third baseman Matthew Kley, who made only one error on 19 defensive chances and flashed a .950 fielding percentage.

All-conference voting was done by league head coaches or their designee. Coaches couldn’t vote for their own players. The number of nominations per team was based on league standings.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cook Inlet Conference Baseball Awards

Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, Sr., SP/C, league-best 4-W, 0-L, 1.93 ERA, 16 K, 29 IP, .323 BA, 9 RBI, 3 2B, 7 SB, league-best 6 CS, 4 PK

Big Stick Award

Matt Hess, Chugiak, Jr., league-best .464 BA, 8 RBI, league-best 7 2B, 12 R, .714 SLG

Gold Glove Award

Matthew Kley, South, Jr., 3B, .950 FLD, made only one error on 19 defensive chances, 1 DP

All-Conference

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher 

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, league-best 4-W, 0-L, 1.93 ERA, 16 K, 29 IP

Jonny Homza, South, 1-W, 1-L, 1.75 ERA, No-Hitter, 12 IP

Sean Duffy, West, 1-W 1-L, 3.50 ERA, league-best 35 K, 16 IP

Ronan Klancher, Service, 2-W, 0-L, 2.10 ERA, 13.1 IP

Relief Pitcher

Raleigh Pigg, Service, 1-W, 1-L, league-best 0.58 ERA, 17 K, 12 IP 

Matt Hess, Chugiak, 1-W, 1-L, league-best 2 SV, 8.2 IP

Harry Weigel, West, 2-W, 2-L, 1 SV, 28 K, 19.1 IP

Catcher

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, .323 BA, caught no-hitter, erased 10 baserunners (league-best 6 CS, 4 PK)

First Baseman

Brady Lindberg, Chugiak, .417 BA, league-best 12 RBI, 6 SB, .985 FLD

Second Baseman

Matt Hess, Chugiak, league-best .464 BA, 8 RBI, 12 R, league-best 7 2B, .953 FLD, 20 A

Shortstop

Raleigh Pigg, Service, .364 BA, 11 RBI, league-best 2 3B, .939 FLD, league-best 29 A

Third Baseman

Matthew Kley, South, .424 BA, 11 RBI, .950 FLD

Charlie Bucolo, Chugiak, .257 BA, 1 HR, 10 R, league-best 2 3B, .903 FLD

Outfield

Max Costello, South, .435 BA, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 

Brian Wing, Chugiak, .355 BA, 13 R, league-best 15 SB, league-best 11 BB

Ronan Klancher, Service, .378 BA, 10 R, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 6 SB

Utility  

Jake Andresen, Dimond, .346 BA, 1 HR, 7 BB, 6 R, 5 SB

Ryan Solberg, East, .692 BA, 7 SB, 2 2B, 5 R, 1.000 FLD

Designated Hitter

Anthony Maldonado, South, .357 BA, 5 RBI, 

SECOND TEAM

SP- Jake Andresen (Dimond), Gaton Davis (East), Brady Lindberg (Chugiak), Tommy Koloski (South)

RP- Parker Johnson (South), Julito Fazzini (South), Sean Gardeline (Dimond)

C- Julito Fazzini (South)

1B- Dylan Montagna (Dimond)

SS- Jonny Homza (South)

OF- Parker Johnson (South), Nick Hall (Service), Noah Alexander (Dimond)

UT- Tyler Borschnack (Bartlett), Sladen Mohl (South)

HONORABLE MENTION

RP- Kaden Roettger (Dimond) 

C- Carl Gatter (East), Declan Dammeyer (West), Kyle Bremont (Dimond), Josh Linn (Eagle River)

1B- Derek Scoggins (Service)

2B- Jalen John (East), Aaron Davis (Eagle River)

SS- Jake Kindred (Chugiak), Kyle Henrickson (Dimond)

3B- Dylan Oberly (West), David Lundell (East), Christian Fredrick (Eagle River)

OF- Tristen Woods (Service), Logan Herman (East)

UT- Jared Froslie (Eagle River)

Recent Winners of Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

2015 tie, Lucas Thorp, Dimond, 1B/RP, .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG, 1-W, 1-L, 2 SV, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP

Willy Homza, South, SS, .518 BA, 10 RBI, 7 XBH, .556 OBP, .938 FLD

2014 Dalton Chapman, West, P/1B, 4-W, 0-L, 0.96 ERA, 1 SV, 77 Ks, 36 IP, .456 BA, 15 RBI, 4 3B, .711 SLG

2013 Max Karnos, South, P/1B, 1-W, 1-L, 0.33 ERA, 35Ks, 20 IP, 17 Ks 1 GM, .429 BA, 6 2B, 2 3B, 8 BB, 11 RBI

2012 Zach Ferntheil, Service, P/1B, 3-W, 0-L, 2 SV, 1.12 ERA, 25 K, 18 IP, .423 BA

Soldotna, Ketchikan round out 8-team state tournament field

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 28, 2016

The Soldotna pitching staff has been team known this year as the team that throws a lot of no-hitters - three to be precise.

But today they showed they could hit a little too.

The Stars beat up Colony 17-2 in the second-place game of the Southcentral Conference regional tournament in Kenai.

With the win, Soldotna secured the league's second berth to next week's ASAA State Tournament in Anchorage.

Cody Quelland went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs and Calvin Hills went 2-for-3 and scored three runs for Soldotna.

In Petersburg, the Ketchikan Kings snagged a state playoff berth with a 2-1 win over Juneau-Douglas in the Southeast Conference.

Ketchikan pitcher Nate Fousel pitched a complete game to grab the win in the team's biggest game of the year.

Sitka captured the regional title with a 10-2 over Ketchikan in the Southeast title game.

The state tournament runs next weekend at Mulcahy Stadium, starting with the first round on Thursday, June 2.

According to asaa.org, here are the first-round matchups:

Southeast #1 [Sitka] vs. Southcentral #2 [Soldotna]

Mid Alaska #1 [Lathrop] vs. Cook Inlet #2 [South]

Southcentral #1 [Wasilla] vs. Southeast #2 [Ketchikan]

Cook Inlet #1 [Chugiak] vs. Mid Alaska #2 [Monroe Catholic]

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Coaches vote Curfman winner of Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 28, 2016

Whether he was pitching, hitting or catching, Cody Curfman of Chugiak was a game changer.

The senior all-star won a league-best four games on the mound; he drove in nine runs in 11 games, including a pair in the league championship game; and he caught a no-hitter and erased 10 runners on the base paths this year.

Yeah, just give him the player-of-the-year award.

That’s exactly what the Cook Inlet Conferences coaches did in honoring Curfman with the 2016 Don Rabung CIC MVP Award at a league meeting Friday.

Curfman is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA at pitcher. He pitched six innings in the CIC title game as Chugiak beat South 6-4 at Mulcahy Stadium to secure the league’s No. 1 seed at state.

He was the catcher on Chugiak’s combined no-hitter by Brady Lindberg and Matt Hess against East. He gunned out a league-high six runners trying to steal bases.

Curfman was one of four players to make the all-conference first team at two positions. Another was his teammate, Hess, who made it at relief pitcher and second baseman.

The other two were from Service – Ronan Klancher [SP, OF] and Raleigh Pigg [RP, SS]. 

Hess also has do-it-all talent for the Mustangs.

In addition to being a two-time first team selection, he was awarded for with the CIC Big Stick Award. He led the league with a .464 batting average and seven doubles.

The league’s Gold Glove Award went to slick South third baseman Matthew Kley, who made only one error on 19 defensive chances and flashed a .950 fielding percentage.

All-conference voting was done by league head coaches or their designee. Coaches couldn’t vote for their own players. The number of nominations per team was based on league standings.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cook Inlet Conference Baseball Awards

Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, Sr., SP/C, league-best 4-W, 0-L, 1.93 ERA, 16 K, 29 IP, .323 BA, 9 RBI, 3 2B, 7 SB, league-best 6 CS, 4 PK

Big Stick Award

Matt Hess, Chugiak, Jr., league-best .464 BA, 8 RBI, league-best 7 2B, 12 R, .714 SLG

Gold Glove Award

Matthew Kley, South, Jr., 3B, .950 FLD, made only one error on 19 defensive chances, 1 DP

All-Conference

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher 

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, league-best 4-W, 0-L, 1.93 ERA, 16 K, 29 IP

Jonny Homza, South, 1-W, 1-L, 1.75 ERA, No-Hitter, 12 IP

Sean Duffy, West, 1-W 1-L, 3.50 ERA, league-best 35 K, 16 IP

Ronan Klancher, Service, 2-W, 0-L, 2.10 ERA, 13.1 IP

Relief Pitcher

Raleigh Pigg, Service, 1-W, 1-L, league-best 0.58 ERA, 17 K, 12 IP 

Matt Hess, Chugiak, 1-W, 1-L, league-best 2 SV, 8.2 IP

Harry Weigel, West, 2-W, 2-L, 1 SV, 28 K, 19.1 IP

Catcher

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, .323 BA, caught no-hitter, erased 10 baserunners (league-best 6 CS, 4 PK)

First Baseman

Brady Lindberg, Chugiak, .417 BA, league-best 12 RBI, 6 SB, .985 FLD

Second Baseman

Matt Hess, Chugiak, league-best .464 BA, 8 RBI, 12 R, league-best 7 2B, .953 FLD, 20 A

Shortstop

Raleigh Pigg, Service, .364 BA, 11 RBI, league-best 2 3B, .939 FLD, league-best 29 A

Third Baseman

Matthew Kley, South, .424 BA, 11 RBI, .950 FLD

Charlie Bucolo, Chugiak, .257 BA, 1 HR, 10 R, league-best 2 3B, .903 FLD

Outfield

Max Costello, South, .435 BA, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 

Brian Wing, Chugiak, .355 BA, 13 R, league-best 15 SB, league-best 11 BB

Ronan Klancher, Service, .378 BA, 10 R, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 6 SB

Utility  

Jake Andresen, Dimond, .346 BA, 1 HR, 7 BB, 6 R, 5 SB

Ryan Solberg, East, .692 BA, 7 SB, 2 2B, 5 R, 1.000 FLD

Designated Hitter

Anthony Maldonado, South, .357 BA, 5 RBI, 

SECOND TEAM

SP- Jake Andresen (Dimond), Gaton Davis (East), Brady Lindberg (Chugiak), Tommy Koloski (South)

RP- Parker Johnson (South), Julito Fazzini (South), Sean Gardeline (Dimond)

C- Julito Fazzini (South)

1B- Dylan Montagna (Dimond)

SS- Jonny Homza (South)

OF- Parker Johnson (South), Nick Hall (Service), Noah Alexander (Dimond)

UT- Tyler Borschnack (Bartlett), Sladen Mohl (South)

HONORABLE MENTION

RP- Kaden Roettger (Dimond) 

C- Carl Gatter (East), Declan Dammeyer (West), Kyle Bremont (Dimond), Josh Linn (Eagle River)

1B- Derek Scoggins (Service)

2B- Jalen John (East), Aaron Davis (Eagle River)

SS- Jake Kindred (Chugiak), Kyle Henrickson (Dimond)

3B- Dylan Oberly (West), David Lundell (East), Christian Fredrick (Eagle River)

OF- Tristen Woods (Service), Logan Herman (East)

UT- Jared Froslie (Eagle River)

Recent Winners of Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

2015 tie, Lucas Thorp, Dimond, 1B/RP, .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG, 1-W, 1-L, 2 SV, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP

Willy Homza, South, SS, .518 BA, 10 RBI, 7 XBH, .556 OBP, .938 FLD

2014 Dalton Chapman, West, P/1B, 4-W, 0-L, 0.96 ERA, 1 SV, 77 Ks, 36 IP, .456 BA, 15 RBI, 4 3B, .711 SLG

2013 Max Karnos, South, P/1B, 1-W, 1-L, 0.33 ERA, 35Ks, 20 IP, 17 Ks 1 GM, .429 BA, 6 2B, 2 3B, 8 BB, 11 RBI

2012 Zach Ferntheil, Service, P/1B, 3-W, 0-L, 2 SV, 1.12 ERA, 25 K, 18 IP, .423 BA

Soldotna, Ketchikan round out 8-team state tournament field

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 28, 2016

The Soldotna pitching staff has been team known this year as the team that throws a lot of no-hitters - three to be precise.

But today they showed they could hit a little too.

The Stars beat up Colony 17-2 in the second-place game of the Southcentral Conference regional tournament in Kenai.

With the win, Soldotna secured the league's second berth to next week's ASAA State Tournament in Anchorage.

Cody Quelland went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs and Calvin Hills went 2-for-3 and scored three runs for Soldotna.

In Petersburg, the Ketchikan Kings snagged a state playoff berth with a 2-1 win over Juneau-Douglas in the Southeast Conference.

Ketchikan pitcher Nate Fousel pitched a complete game to grab the win in the team's biggest game of the year.

Sitka captured the regional title with a 10-2 over Ketchikan in the Southeast title game.

The state tournament runs next weekend at Mulcahy Stadium, starting with the first round on Thursday, June 2.

According to asaa.org, here are the first-round matchups:

Southeast #1 [Sitka] vs. Southcentral #2 [Soldotna]

Mid Alaska #1 [Lathrop] vs. Cook Inlet #2 [South]

Southcentral #1 [Wasilla] vs. Southeast #2 [Ketchikan]

Cook Inlet #1 [Chugiak] vs. Mid Alaska #2 [Monroe Catholic]

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Wasilla, Sitka, Monroe Catholic secure berths to state Friday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 27, 2016

In the Southcentral Conference, Wasilla shut out Soldotna 5-0 in a battle of No. 1 seeds. Wasilla clinched the league title and a state tournament berth.

Soldotna will face the Colony-Kenai winner on Saturday, with the winner punching their ticket to state.

Sitka knocked off Juneau-Douglas 7-1 to advance to Saturday's Southeast Conference title game. The Wolves will face the winner of Juneau-Douglas and Ketchikan.

Ketchikan's Nathan Bonck threw his second no-hitter of the season in a 6-0 win over Thunder Mountain. He struck out 15 batters over seven innings. The Kings won twice today.

Monroe Catholic also won two games, including a 6-3 win over West Valley to grab the program's second berth to state.

Monroe will face Lathrop in the Mid Alaska championship game Saturday.

Each of the four conferences receive two berths to state.

Earlier in the week, Chugiak beat South Anchorage 6-4 for the Cook Inlet Conference championship.

So far, Chugiak, Wasilla, South, Sitka, Lathrop and Monroe Catholic have booked their seats to the big dance.

Two spots remain; one from of the Southcentral and another out of the Southeast.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Wasilla, Sitka, Monroe Catholic secure berths to state Friday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 27, 2016

In the Southcentral Conference, Wasilla shut out Soldotna 5-0 in a battle of No. 1 seeds. Wasilla clinched the league title and a state tournament berth.

Soldotna will face the Colony-Kenai winner on Saturday, with the winner punching their ticket to state.

Sitka knocked off Juneau-Douglas 7-1 to advance to Saturday's Southeast Conference title game. The Wolves will face the winner of Juneau-Douglas and Ketchikan.

Ketchikan's Nathan Bonck threw his second no-hitter of the season in a 6-0 win over Thunder Mountain. He struck out 15 batters over seven innings. The Kings won twice today.

Monroe Catholic also won two games, including a 6-3 win over West Valley to grab the program's second berth to state.

Monroe will face Lathrop in the Mid Alaska championship game Saturday.

Each of the four conferences receive two berths to state.

Earlier in the week, Chugiak beat South Anchorage 6-4 for the Cook Inlet Conference championship.

So far, Chugiak, Wasilla, South, Sitka, Lathrop and Monroe Catholic have booked their seats to the big dance.

Two spots remain; one from of the Southcentral and another out of the Southeast.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Final CIC leaders:Hess high average .464, Pigg low ERA 0.58

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 26, 2016

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

FINAL - LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

OFFENSE

Batting Average [minimun 25 PA]

.464 Hess Chugiak

.435 Costello South

.424 Kley South

.417 Lindberg Chugiak

.391 Dammeyer West

.385 Gatter East

.378 Klancher Service

.367 Montagna Dimond

.364 Pigg Service

.360 Johnson South

Runs Batted In

12 Lindberg Chugiak

11 Pigg Service

11 Kley South

11 Davis East

10 Woods Service

9 Curfman Chugiak

9 Bucolo Chugiak

9 Costello South

9 Mohl South

8 Four tied

Runs

18 Homza South

12 Hess Chugiak

12 Kindred Chugiak

12 McInnis South

11 Henrickson Dimond

11 Oberly West

10 Five tied

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

1 Koloski South

Doubles

7 Hess Chugiak

4 Woods Service

3 Seven tied

Triples

2 Bucolo Chugiak

2 Pigg Service

2 Wanamaker West

1 Ten tied

Stolen Bases

15 Wing Chugiak

10 Franklin Bartlett

10 Froslie Eagle River

9 Tevasu Bartlett

9 Lewis

8 Malo Bartlett

8 John East

8 Pope East

7 Four tied

Base On Balls

11 Wing Chugiak

10 Pope East

9 Opinsky West

9 Henrickson Dimond

8 Kindred Chugiak

8 Malagodi Service

8 Foslie Eagle RIver

7 Four tied

PITCHING

Earned Run Average [minimun 11 IP]

0.58 Pigg Service

1.05 Koloski South

1.11 Lindberg Chugiak

1.15 Davis East

1.17 Fazzini South

1.26 Gardeline Dimond

1.40 O'Brien Dimond

1.68 Zettler West

1.75 Homza South

1.93 Curfman Chugiak

Innings Pitched

30.1 Davis East

29 Curfman Chugiak

24.1 Fredrick Eagle River

24 Jarvis East

20.1 Sanford Bartlett

19.1 Weigel West

18 Fazzini South

16.2 Zettler West

16 Duffy West

Wins

4 Curfman Chugiak

3 Davis East

3 Gardeline Dimond

2 Seven tied

Saves

2 Hess Chugiak

1 Cooper Eagle River

1 Weigel West

Strikeouts

43 Davis East

35 Duffy West

28 Weigel West

27 Jarvis East

26 Koloski South

23 Fazzini South

17 Two tied

DEFENSE

Assists

26 Franklin Bartlett

26 Pigg Service

23 Kindred Chugiak

23 Henrickson Dimond

23 Froslie Eagle River

21 Homza South

20 Hess Chugiak

Final CIC leaders:Hess high average .464, Pigg low ERA 0.58

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 26, 2016

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

FINAL - LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

OFFENSE

Batting Average [minimun 25 PA]

.464 Hess Chugiak

.435 Costello South

.424 Kley South

.417 Lindberg Chugiak

.391 Dammeyer West

.385 Gatter East

.378 Klancher Service

.367 Montagna Dimond

.364 Pigg Service

.360 Johnson South

Runs Batted In

12 Lindberg Chugiak

11 Pigg Service

11 Kley South

11 Davis East

10 Woods Service

9 Curfman Chugiak

9 Bucolo Chugiak

9 Costello South

9 Mohl South

8 Four tied

Runs

18 Homza South

12 Hess Chugiak

12 Kindred Chugiak

12 McInnis South

11 Henrickson Dimond

11 Oberly West

10 Five tied

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

1 Koloski South

Doubles

7 Hess Chugiak

4 Woods Service

3 Seven tied

Triples

2 Bucolo Chugiak

2 Pigg Service

2 Wanamaker West

1 Ten tied

Stolen Bases

15 Wing Chugiak

10 Franklin Bartlett

10 Froslie Eagle River

9 Tevasu Bartlett

9 Lewis

8 Malo Bartlett

8 John East

8 Pope East

7 Four tied

Base On Balls

11 Wing Chugiak

10 Pope East

9 Opinsky West

9 Henrickson Dimond

8 Kindred Chugiak

8 Malagodi Service

8 Foslie Eagle RIver

7 Four tied

PITCHING

Earned Run Average [minimun 11 IP]

0.58 Pigg Service

1.05 Koloski South

1.11 Lindberg Chugiak

1.15 Davis East

1.17 Fazzini South

1.26 Gardeline Dimond

1.40 O'Brien Dimond

1.68 Zettler West

1.75 Homza South

1.93 Curfman Chugiak

Innings Pitched

30.1 Davis East

29 Curfman Chugiak

24.1 Fredrick Eagle River

24 Jarvis East

20.1 Sanford Bartlett

19.1 Weigel West

18 Fazzini South

16.2 Zettler West

16 Duffy West

Wins

4 Curfman Chugiak

3 Davis East

3 Gardeline Dimond

2 Seven tied

Saves

2 Hess Chugiak

1 Cooper Eagle River

1 Weigel West

Strikeouts

43 Davis East

35 Duffy West

28 Weigel West

27 Jarvis East

26 Koloski South

23 Fazzini South

17 Two tied

DEFENSE

Assists

26 Franklin Bartlett

26 Pigg Service

23 Kindred Chugiak

23 Henrickson Dimond

23 Froslie Eagle River

21 Homza South

20 Hess Chugiak

Chugiak, South face off Monday in what could decide CIC title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 22, 2016

Both teams have already qualified for the state tournament, but there’s the business of a Cook Inlet Conference championship to sort out.

First-place Chugiak [8-1] plays second-place South [7-2] on Monday night at 7 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

A Chugiak victory would give the Mustangs the title outright.

But if South wins the teams would be tied at 8-2 and force an if-necessary game Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

The conference champion receives the CIC’s No. 1 at the ASAA State Tournament, June 2-3-4 in Anchorage.

The runnerup gets the No. 2 seed.

Chugiak beat South 2-0 on May 14 in their only meeting this year.

The other three leagues - the Mid Alaska, Southcentral and Southeast - have conference tournaments this week that will decide which two teams will punch their ticket to state.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak, South face off Monday in what could decide CIC title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 22, 2016

Both teams have already qualified for the state tournament, but there’s the business of a Cook Inlet Conference championship to sort out.

First-place Chugiak [8-1] plays second-place South [7-2] on Monday night at 7 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

A Chugiak victory would give the Mustangs the title outright.

But if South wins the teams would be tied at 8-2 and force an if-necessary game Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

The conference champion receives the CIC’s No. 1 at the ASAA State Tournament, June 2-3-4 in Anchorage.

The runnerup gets the No. 2 seed.

Chugiak beat South 2-0 on May 14 in their only meeting this year.

The other three leagues - the Mid Alaska, Southcentral and Southeast - have conference tournaments this week that will decide which two teams will punch their ticket to state.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson, Brown named NCAA D3 West Regional all-tourney

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 22, 2016

Seniors Tyler Thompson and Garrett Brown of Anchorage were each selected to the NCAA D3 West Regional all-tournament team after helping Pacific Lutheran University reach the championship game.

PLU lost to Trinity of Texas 12-7 to fall one win shy of advancing to the World Series.

The Northwest Conference champion Lutes of Tacoma, Washington, finished the season 29-19.

In the regional title game Saturday, Thompson extended his hitting streak to 25 games in his final college game. That’s the longest streak by any Alaska player this year.

He also finished his career with 19 home runs, which is the most by any active player.

Thompson led PLU with a .339 batting average, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, 106 total bases and a .561 slugging percentage.

Yeah, dude crushed it this year.

So did Brown, a former catcher turned relief pitcher.

Brown emerged as the team’s closer and most reliable option out of the bullpen – no matter the situation.

The right-hander had 12 saves on the season, including two during the regional tournament. He also pitched seven innings of one-run relief at regionals to earn the team’s first of three postseason wins there.

He appeared in a team-high 29 games and finished with a 2.09 ERA in 56 innings.

Together, Thompson and Brown helped PLU win a combined 61 games over the last two seasons and advance to the NCAA D3 West Regional both years. 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson, Brown named NCAA D3 West Regional all-tourney

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 22, 2016

Seniors Tyler Thompson and Garrett Brown of Anchorage were each selected to the NCAA D3 West Regional all-tournament team after helping Pacific Lutheran University reach the championship game.

PLU lost to Trinity of Texas 12-7 to fall one win shy of advancing to the World Series.

The Northwest Conference champion Lutes of Tacoma, Washington, finished the season 29-19.

In the regional title game Saturday, Thompson extended his hitting streak to 25 games in his final college game. That’s the longest streak by any Alaska player this year.

He also finished his career with 19 home runs, which is the most by any active player.

Thompson led PLU with a .339 batting average, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, 106 total bases and a .561 slugging percentage.

Yeah, dude crushed it this year.

So did Brown, a former catcher turned relief pitcher.

Brown emerged as the team’s closer and most reliable option out of the bullpen – no matter the situation.

The right-hander had 12 saves on the season, including two during the regional tournament. He also pitched seven innings of one-run relief at regionals to earn the team’s first of three postseason wins there.

He appeared in a team-high 29 games and finished with a 2.09 ERA in 56 innings.

Together, Thompson and Brown helped PLU win a combined 61 games over the last two seasons and advance to the NCAA D3 West Regional both years. 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

From South to WNC to Sac State, Karnos remains the go-to guy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 22, 2016

When he graduated high school Max Karnos of Anchorage was probably the best pitcher in the state.

Then he went to Western Nevada College and became arguably the most durable pitcher over his two years there.

Now he’s at Sacramento State in California, and it’s the same as it ever was.

Karnos, of South Post 4 fame, is the ace of the staff and ranks among the Western Athletic Conference leaders in the three most critical categories for a pitcher.

The 6-foot-4 starter has the second-best ERA [2.77] in the WAC while his 84.1 innings and seven wins both rank fourth.

In three years of college ball he has thrown 250.2 career innings and ranked first or second on his team each season.

Karnos improved his record to 7-3 after Sac State beat Seattle University 6-3.

He allowed two runs over six innings, overcoming six base on balls and escaping a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth inning with a strikeout and groundout. He threw clean frames in the fifth and sixth innings.

Karnos is 5-1 in his last six decisions.

His next start will come in next weekend’s WAC Tournament in Mesa, Arizona.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

From South to WNC to Sac State, Karnos remains the go-to guy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 22, 2016

When he graduated high school Max Karnos of Anchorage was probably the best pitcher in the state.

Then he went to Western Nevada College and became arguably the most durable pitcher over his two years there.

Now he’s at Sacramento State in California, and it’s the same as it ever was.

Karnos, of South Post 4 fame, is the ace of the staff and ranks among the Western Athletic Conference leaders in the three most critical categories for a pitcher.

The 6-foot-4 starter has the second-best ERA [2.77] in the WAC while his 84.1 innings and seven wins both rank fourth.

In three years of college ball he has thrown 250.2 career innings and ranked first or second on his team each season.

Karnos improved his record to 7-3 after Sac State beat Seattle University 6-3.

He allowed two runs over six innings, overcoming six base on balls and escaping a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth inning with a strikeout and groundout. He threw clean frames in the fifth and sixth innings.

Karnos is 5-1 in his last six decisions.

His next start will come in next weekend’s WAC Tournament in Mesa, Arizona.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson, Brown have PLU one win away from D3 World Series

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 21, 2016

Tyler Thompson and Garrett Brown of Anchorage are playing the best baseball of their lives for Pacific Lutheran University.

They need to keep it going for one more game to reach the NCAA D3 College World Series.

PLU has roared back from a first-round loss at the NCAA West Regional in Spokane, Washington, with three consecutive victories – including two on Friday – to advance to the regional championship game.

PLU will face Trinity of Texas on Saturday in a rematch of the opening round when Trinity prevailed 7-3. The winner of Saturday’s game advances to the World Series.

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, extended his personal-best hitting streak to 24 games with a 4-for-4 performance in a 3-2 win over Texas-Tyler that pushed PLU into the regional title game.

Brown, of Service Post 28 fame, earned the save – his second save of the day and his 12th of the season, which ties the senior right-hander for the second most in the country.

Earlier in the day, PLU beat Whitworth 8-5 with Thompson delivering an RBI single to open the scoring in the first inning.

It was the 93rd RBI of his college career.

On Thursday, PLU beat Cal Lutheran 8-6 in the first of its three straight wins in elimination games.

Thompson hit his ninth home run of the season and Brown pitched seven innings of one-run relief to earn the win – the fourth time this season that in the same game Thompson has homered and Brown has either earned a save or win.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson, Brown have PLU one win away from D3 World Series

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 21, 2016

Tyler Thompson and Garrett Brown of Anchorage are playing the best baseball of their lives for Pacific Lutheran University.

They need to keep it going for one more game to reach the NCAA D3 College World Series.

PLU has roared back from a first-round loss at the NCAA West Regional in Spokane, Washington, with three consecutive victories – including two on Friday – to advance to the regional championship game.

PLU will face Trinity of Texas on Saturday in a rematch of the opening round when Trinity prevailed 7-3. The winner of Saturday’s game advances to the World Series.

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, extended his personal-best hitting streak to 24 games with a 4-for-4 performance in a 3-2 win over Texas-Tyler that pushed PLU into the regional title game.

Brown, of Service Post 28 fame, earned the save – his second save of the day and his 12th of the season, which ties the senior right-hander for the second most in the country.

Earlier in the day, PLU beat Whitworth 8-5 with Thompson delivering an RBI single to open the scoring in the first inning.

It was the 93rd RBI of his college career.

On Thursday, PLU beat Cal Lutheran 8-6 in the first of its three straight wins in elimination games.

Thompson hit his ninth home run of the season and Brown pitched seven innings of one-run relief to earn the win – the fourth time this season that in the same game Thompson has homered and Brown has either earned a save or win.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cook Inlet Conference JV Invitational begins Wednesday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 20, 2016

JV Invitational

Wednesday, May 25

First Round

G1: 1] South-Black vs. 8] Service     K4 6:30 PM

G2: 2] Chugiak vs. 7] East     OB  6:30 PM

G3: 3] West vs. 6] Eagle River           LF 6:30 PM

G4: 4] South-Gold vs. 5] Dimond  K3  6:30 PM

Thursday, May 26

G5: Loser’s Bracket: LG1 vs. LG4  LF  4:30 PM

G6: Loser’s Bracket: LG2 vs. LG3  LF  7:00 PM

G7: Winner’s Bracket: WG2 vs. WG3  OB  4:30 PM

G8: Winner’s Bracket: WG1 vs. WG4  OB  7:00 PM

Friday, May 27

G9: Third-Place: LG7 vs. LG8            K3  6:30 PM

G10: Championship: WG7 vs. WG8           K4  6:30 PM

 K4/K3 Kosinski Fields

OB Oberg Field

LF Loretta French Field

Cook Inlet Conference JV Invitational begins Wednesday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 20, 2016

JV Invitational

Wednesday, May 25

First Round

G1: 1] South-Black vs. 8] Service     K4 6:30 PM

G2: 2] Chugiak vs. 7] East     OB  6:30 PM

G3: 3] West vs. 6] Eagle River           LF 6:30 PM

G4: 4] South-Gold vs. 5] Dimond  K3  6:30 PM

Thursday, May 26

G5: Loser’s Bracket: LG1 vs. LG4  LF  4:30 PM

G6: Loser’s Bracket: LG2 vs. LG3  LF  7:00 PM

G7: Winner’s Bracket: WG2 vs. WG3  OB  4:30 PM

G8: Winner’s Bracket: WG1 vs. WG4  OB  7:00 PM

Friday, May 27

G9: Third-Place: LG7 vs. LG8            K3  6:30 PM

G10: Championship: WG7 vs. WG8           K4  6:30 PM

 K4/K3 Kosinski Fields

OB Oberg Field

LF Loretta French Field

Chugiak, South sit in powerful position for CIC playoffs

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 17, 2016

The Cook Inlet Conference this week will split in half for the final three games of the high school baseball season.

The top four teams with the best record after seven games advanced to the championship round robin, where records carry over as a reward for taking care of business in the regular season.

After the round robin the top two teams advance to the ASAA state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

Defending state champion Chugiak [7-0] and South [6-1] are in the driver's seat.

Third-seeded Dimond [4-3] and fourth-seeded Service [4-3] must win two of three to have any chance.

If needed, an if-necessary game is May 24 just in case 10 games wasn't enough to determine state berths.

The bottom four teams will play in a consolation round robin.

Thursday, May 19

[8] Bartlett vs. [6] Eagle River 4:30 PM Mulcahy

[7] West vs. [5] East 7:00 PM Mulcahy

Friday, May 20 

[3] Dimond vs. [2] South 4:30 PM Mulcahy

[4] Service vs. [1] Chugiak 7:00 PM Mulcahy

Saturday, May 21 

[8] Bartlett vs. [7] West 10:00 AM Mulcahy

[3] Dimond vs. [1] Chugiak 1:00 PM Mulcahy

[4] Service vs. [2] South 4:00 PM Mulcahy

[6] Eagle River vs. [5] East 7:00 Mulcahy

Monday, May 23 

[4] Service vs. [3] Dimond 4:30 PM Mulcahy

[2] South vs. [1] Chugiak 7:00 PM Mulcahy

[8] Bartlett vs. [5] East 6:30 PM Bartlett 

[7] West vs. [6] Eagle River 6:30 PM K4

Tuesday, May 24

If-necessary game 6:30 PM Mulcahy

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak, South sit in powerful position for CIC playoffs

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 17, 2016

The Cook Inlet Conference this week will split in half for the final three games of the high school baseball season.

The top four teams with the best record after seven games advanced to the championship round robin, where records carry over as a reward for taking care of business in the regular season.

After the round robin the top two teams advance to the ASAA state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

Defending state champion Chugiak [7-0] and South [6-1] are in the driver's seat.

Third-seeded Dimond [4-3] and fourth-seeded Service [4-3] must win two of three to have any chance.

If needed, an if-necessary game is May 24 just in case 10 games wasn't enough to determine state berths.

The bottom four teams will play in a consolation round robin.

Thursday, May 19

[8] Bartlett vs. [6] Eagle River 4:30 PM Mulcahy

[7] West vs. [5] East 7:00 PM Mulcahy

Friday, May 20 

[3] Dimond vs. [2] South 4:30 PM Mulcahy

[4] Service vs. [1] Chugiak 7:00 PM Mulcahy

Saturday, May 21 

[8] Bartlett vs. [7] West 10:00 AM Mulcahy

[3] Dimond vs. [1] Chugiak 1:00 PM Mulcahy

[4] Service vs. [2] South 4:00 PM Mulcahy

[6] Eagle River vs. [5] East 7:00 Mulcahy

Monday, May 23 

[4] Service vs. [3] Dimond 4:30 PM Mulcahy

[2] South vs. [1] Chugiak 7:00 PM Mulcahy

[8] Bartlett vs. [5] East 6:30 PM Bartlett 

[7] West vs. [6] Eagle River 6:30 PM K4

Tuesday, May 24

If-necessary game 6:30 PM Mulcahy

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cook Inlet Conference individual leaders after half dozen games

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 15, 2016

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

Through May 14 

OFFENSE

Batting Average [min 16 PA]

.563 Maldonado South

.474 Costello South

.462 Lindberg Chugiak

.458 Klancher Service

.438 Wanamaker West

.421 Andresen Dimond

.412 Kley South

.400 Dammeyer West

.400 Kindred Chugiak

.389 Woods Service

Runs Batted In

11 Pigg Service

10 Lindberg Chugiak

8 Costello South

8 Bucolo Chugiak

7 Mohl South

7 Woods Service

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

Doubles

4 Hess Chugiak

3 Klancher Service

3 Woods Service

2 Eleven tied

Triples

2 Pigg Service

1 Five tied

Stolen Bases

8 Wing Chugiak

7 Solberg East

7 Tevasu Bartlett

6 Franklin Bartlett

6 John East

Base On Balls

7 Henrickson Dimond

7 Wing Chugiak

6 Duffy West

5 Nine tied

PITCHING

Earned Run Average [7 IP]

0.00 Homza South

0.78 Lindberg Chugiak

0.88 O'Brien Dimond

0.91 Davis East

1.00 Dooley Service

1.17 Pigg Service

1.17 Koloski South

1.27 Duffy West

1.31 Curfman Chugiak

1.91 Fazzini South

Innings Pitched

16 Curfman Chugiak

15.1 Davis East

14 Fredrick Eagle River

12 Koloski South

12 Jarvis East

11 Duffy West

11 Fazzini South

Wins

3 Curfman Chugiak

2 Fredrick Eagle River

2 Lindberg Chugiak

Saves

1 Hess Chugiak

1 Cooper Eagle River

Strikeouts

25 Duffy West

24 Davis East

17 Koloski South

12 Jarvis East

12 Weigel West

12 Fazzini South

Pickoffs

3 Lindberg Chugiak

1 Eight tied

DEFENSE

Assists

16 Pigg Service

15 Dammeyer West

15 Kindred Chugiak

13 Oberly West

12 Fredrick Eagle River

12 Franklin Bartlett

12 Hess Chugiak

11 Davis East

11 Henrickson Dimond

Cook Inlet Conference individual leaders after half dozen games

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 15, 2016

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

Through May 14 

OFFENSE

Batting Average [min 16 PA]

.563 Maldonado South

.474 Costello South

.462 Lindberg Chugiak

.458 Klancher Service

.438 Wanamaker West

.421 Andresen Dimond

.412 Kley South

.400 Dammeyer West

.400 Kindred Chugiak

.389 Woods Service

Runs Batted In

11 Pigg Service

10 Lindberg Chugiak

8 Costello South

8 Bucolo Chugiak

7 Mohl South

7 Woods Service

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

Doubles

4 Hess Chugiak

3 Klancher Service

3 Woods Service

2 Eleven tied

Triples

2 Pigg Service

1 Five tied

Stolen Bases

8 Wing Chugiak

7 Solberg East

7 Tevasu Bartlett

6 Franklin Bartlett

6 John East

Base On Balls

7 Henrickson Dimond

7 Wing Chugiak

6 Duffy West

5 Nine tied

PITCHING

Earned Run Average [7 IP]

0.00 Homza South

0.78 Lindberg Chugiak

0.88 O'Brien Dimond

0.91 Davis East

1.00 Dooley Service

1.17 Pigg Service

1.17 Koloski South

1.27 Duffy West

1.31 Curfman Chugiak

1.91 Fazzini South

Innings Pitched

16 Curfman Chugiak

15.1 Davis East

14 Fredrick Eagle River

12 Koloski South

12 Jarvis East

11 Duffy West

11 Fazzini South

Wins

3 Curfman Chugiak

2 Fredrick Eagle River

2 Lindberg Chugiak

Saves

1 Hess Chugiak

1 Cooper Eagle River

Strikeouts

25 Duffy West

24 Davis East

17 Koloski South

12 Jarvis East

12 Weigel West

12 Fazzini South

Pickoffs

3 Lindberg Chugiak

1 Eight tied

DEFENSE

Assists

16 Pigg Service

15 Dammeyer West

15 Kindred Chugiak

13 Oberly West

12 Fredrick Eagle River

12 Franklin Bartlett

12 Hess Chugiak

11 Davis East

11 Henrickson Dimond

Legion season only weeks away, here is team tryout information

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 13, 2016

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is right around the corner.

Here is contact and tryout information for all 17 teams to get your player registered for the 2016 season.

East Post 34

Open Tryout: May 27, 6 pm, Davenport Field

Manager: Kurt Solberg

242-7406

babymoose97@hotmail.com

Dimond Post 21

Open Tryout: Sunday, 3 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Manager: Telon Bremont

360-9384

telon@gci.net

Eagle River

Open Tryout: May 22, 1:30 p.m., Loretta French Field

Manager: Gregg Frost

632-3342

gregg@kodiakbreakers.com

Service Post 28

Open Tryout: Wednesday, 6 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Manager: Willie Paul

280-8439 

williepaul1@live.com

Chugiak Post 33

Open Tryout: May 22, 5 p.m., Loretta French Field

Manager: Mark Bohrer

854-9397

mpbohrer@gci.net

West Post 1

Open Tryout: Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., Romig Middle School Football Field

Manager: Matt Kays

529-9289

matthewkays@gmail.com

South Post 4

Open Tryout: Sunday, 2 p.m., Taylar Young Field

Manager: Eric Holland

306-5520

ewholland@outlook.com

Bartlett Post 29

Open Tryout: Sunday, 4 p.m., Bartlett High School

Manager: Bernardo Ortero

717-9311

bernardo.otero@alaska.gov

Wasilla Post 35

Open Tryout: Sunday, & May 21, 1 p.m. McManus Field

Manager: Ken Ottinger

301-4084

ottworksales@gmail.com

Fairbanks Post 11

Open Tryout: Sunday & May 22 & May 29, 1 p.m., Marlin Field

Manager: Rod Perdue

978-1995

rod.perdue@bannerhealth.com

Fairbanks Post 30

Open Tryout: May 22 & May 29, 12 p.m., Arco Field

Manager: Tyler Hollister

590-0454

tchollister@alaska.edu

Kenai Post 20

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: Lance Coz

398-9077

lancecoz@hotmail.com

Juneau Post 25

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: Joe Tompkins

321-0001

josephtompkins@hotmail.com

Ketchikan Post 3

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: John Milner

220-7453

redmilner@gmail.com

Kodiak Post 17

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Leonard Pickett

539-2600

lwpickett@acsalaska.net

Palmer Post 15

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Tim Rockey

982-8939

timothy.rockey@gmail.com

Delta Post 22

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Sonny Zarecki

804-994-4200

zareckiconstruction@hotmail.com

Legion season only weeks away, here is team tryout information

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 13, 2016

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is right around the corner.

Here is contact and tryout information for all 17 teams to get your player registered for the 2016 season.

East Post 34

Open Tryout: May 27, 6 pm, Davenport Field

Manager: Kurt Solberg

242-7406

babymoose97@hotmail.com

Dimond Post 21

Open Tryout: Sunday, 3 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Manager: Telon Bremont

360-9384

telon@gci.net

Eagle River

Open Tryout: May 22, 1:30 p.m., Loretta French Field

Manager: Gregg Frost

632-3342

gregg@kodiakbreakers.com

Service Post 28

Open Tryout: Wednesday, 6 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Manager: Willie Paul

280-8439 

williepaul1@live.com

Chugiak Post 33

Open Tryout: May 22, 5 p.m., Loretta French Field

Manager: Mark Bohrer

854-9397

mpbohrer@gci.net

West Post 1

Open Tryout: Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., Romig Middle School Football Field

Manager: Matt Kays

529-9289

matthewkays@gmail.com

South Post 4

Open Tryout: Sunday, 2 p.m., Taylar Young Field

Manager: Eric Holland

306-5520

ewholland@outlook.com

Bartlett Post 29

Open Tryout: Sunday, 4 p.m., Bartlett High School

Manager: Bernardo Ortero

717-9311

bernardo.otero@alaska.gov

Wasilla Post 35

Open Tryout: Sunday, & May 21, 1 p.m. McManus Field

Manager: Ken Ottinger

301-4084

ottworksales@gmail.com

Fairbanks Post 11

Open Tryout: Sunday & May 22 & May 29, 1 p.m., Marlin Field

Manager: Rod Perdue

978-1995

rod.perdue@bannerhealth.com

Fairbanks Post 30

Open Tryout: May 22 & May 29, 12 p.m., Arco Field

Manager: Tyler Hollister

590-0454

tchollister@alaska.edu

Kenai Post 20

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: Lance Coz

398-9077

lancecoz@hotmail.com

Juneau Post 25

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: Joe Tompkins

321-0001

josephtompkins@hotmail.com

Ketchikan Post 3

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: John Milner

220-7453

redmilner@gmail.com

Kodiak Post 17

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Leonard Pickett

539-2600

lwpickett@acsalaska.net

Palmer Post 15

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Tim Rockey

982-8939

timothy.rockey@gmail.com

Delta Post 22

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Sonny Zarecki

804-994-4200

zareckiconstruction@hotmail.com

Karnos first Alaskan since 2009 to pitch all 9 innings at D1 level

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 9, 2016

Sacramento State pitcher Max Karnos of Anchorage didn’t just throw his first 9-inning complete game over the weekend.

It was the first time in seven years that an Alaskan went all nine innings in a NCAA D1 game.

The junior right-hander pitched a 3-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Utah Valley, facing just one batter over the minimum. 

“I was getting ahead of a lot of batters and they were a really aggressive team, so early in counts they were getting out,” Karnos told me. 

He walked one and allowed three singles, each of which was erased on double plays the following batter.

He got the job done on just 94 pitches.

“I wasn’t tired at all. I could have thrown a couple more innings,” Karnos said with a laugh.

“It felt awesome. It’s always nice to be able to finish the games I started.”

It was his second complete game of the season, although the first one April 16 was cut short after eight innings by the mercy rule in a 10-0 win over Chicago State.  

Plus, he said, the coaching staff had planned to pull him in the ninth inning anyway.

Karnos is the first Alaska pitcher since Matt Way with Washington State in 2009 to throw a 9-inning complete game. Way fired a 5-hitter in a 7-2 win over UCLA.

Karnos [5-3] is tied for the most wins on his team. He also has the most innings [70.1] and lowest ERA [2.94]. 

In fact, his ERA is a full run better than the team average [4.24]. 

“Compared to the first day this season I am way better,” Karnos said. “I think it's a combination of getting on the same page as my pitching coach who calls pitches and just settling down and pitching to my strengths.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Karnos first Alaskan since 2009 to pitch all 9 innings at D1 level

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 9, 2016

Sacramento State pitcher Max Karnos of Anchorage didn’t just throw his first 9-inning complete game over the weekend.

It was the first time in seven years that an Alaskan went all nine innings in a NCAA D1 game.

The junior right-hander pitched a 3-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Utah Valley, facing just one batter over the minimum. 

“I was getting ahead of a lot of batters and they were a really aggressive team, so early in counts they were getting out,” Karnos told me. 

He walked one and allowed three singles, each of which was erased on double plays the following batter.

He got the job done on just 94 pitches.

“I wasn’t tired at all. I could have thrown a couple more innings,” Karnos said with a laugh.

“It felt awesome. It’s always nice to be able to finish the games I started.”

It was his second complete game of the season, although the first one April 16 was cut short after eight innings by the mercy rule in a 10-0 win over Chicago State.  

Plus, he said, the coaching staff had planned to pull him in the ninth inning anyway.

Karnos is the first Alaska pitcher since Matt Way with Washington State in 2009 to throw a 9-inning complete game. Way fired a 5-hitter in a 7-2 win over UCLA.

Karnos [5-3] is tied for the most wins on his team. He also has the most innings [70.1] and lowest ERA [2.94]. 

In fact, his ERA is a full run better than the team average [4.24]. 

“Compared to the first day this season I am way better,” Karnos said. “I think it's a combination of getting on the same page as my pitching coach who calls pitches and just settling down and pitching to my strengths.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Sacramento State pitcher Max Karnos of Anchorage didn’t just throw his first 9-inning complete game over the weekend.

It was the first time in seven years that an Alaskan went all nine innings in a NCAA D1 game.

The junior right-hander pitched a 3-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Utah Valley, facing just one batter over the minimum. 

“I was getting ahead of a lot of batters and they were a really aggressive team, so early in counts they were getting out,” Karnos told me. 

He walked one and allowed three singles, each of which was erased on double plays the following batter.

He got the job done on just 94 pitches.

“I wasn’t tired at all. I could have thrown a couple more innings,” Karnos said with a laugh.

“It felt awesome. It’s always nice to be able to finish the games I started.”

It was his second complete game of the season, although the first one April 16 was cut short after eight innings by the mercy rule in a 10-0 win over Chicago State.  

Plus, he said, the coaching staff had planned to pull him in the ninth inning anyway.

Karnos is the first Alaska pitcher since Matt Way with Washington State in 2009 to throw a 9-inning complete game. Way fired a 5-hitter in a 7-2 win over UCLA.

Karnos [5-3] is tied for the most wins on his team. He also has the most innings [70.1] and lowest ERA [2.94]. 

In fact, his ERA is a full run better than the team average [4.24]. 

“Compared to the first day this season I am way better,” Karnos said. “I think it's a combination of getting on the same page as my pitching coach who calls pitches and just settling down and pitching to my strengths.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cook Inlet Conference individual leaders after week one

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 8, 2016

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

Through May 7 

OFFENSE [min 9 PA]

Batting Average

.727 Solberg East

.556 Maldonado South

.500 Mohl South

.500 Woods Service

.444 Kley South

.417 Costello South

.400 Pigg Service

.400 Curfman Chugiak

.400 Bailey-Parsons Service

.385 Klancher Service

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

Runs Batted In

8 Pigg Servce

7 Mohl South

5 Costello South

5 Davis East

4 Andresen Dimond

4 Woods Service

4 Lindberg Chugiak

4 Bucolo Chugiak

4 Gatter East

Stolen Bases

6 Solberg East

4 John East

4 Lewis East

4 Malo Bartlett

4 Franklin Bartlett

4 Frosie Eagle River

4 Wing Chugiak

Base On Balls

4 Opinsky West

4 Bautista West

4 Scoggins Service

3 Ten players tied

PITCHING [min 4 IP]

Innings Pitched

8.1 Davis East 

8 Fredrick Eagle RIver

7.2 Jarvis East

7 Homza South

7 Koloski South

7 Oberly West

7 Weigel West

Earned Run Average

0.00 Homza South

0.00 Koloski South

0.00 Lindberg Chugiak

0.84 Davis East

1.17 Duffy West

1.40 Hess Chugiak

1.75 Jaidinger Service

Strikeouts

15 Davis East

14 Duffy West

10 Koloski South

9 Jarvis East

8 Homza South

8 Weigel South

7 Henrickson Dimond 

Pickoffs

1 Malo Bartlett

1 Jaidinger Service

1 Lindberg Chugiak

1 Curfman Chugiak

1 Miles Eagle River

DEFENSE

Assists

10 Pigg Service

10 Oberly West

9 Andresen Dimond

9 Fredrick Eagle River

7 Franklin Bartlett

7 Kindred Chugiak

6 Three players tied

Cook Inlet Conference individual leaders after week one

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 8, 2016

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

Through May 7 

OFFENSE [min 9 PA]

Batting Average

.727 Solberg East

.556 Maldonado South

.500 Mohl South

.500 Woods Service

.444 Kley South

.417 Costello South

.400 Pigg Service

.400 Curfman Chugiak

.400 Bailey-Parsons Service

.385 Klancher Service

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

Runs Batted In

8 Pigg Servce

7 Mohl South

5 Costello South

5 Davis East

4 Andresen Dimond

4 Woods Service

4 Lindberg Chugiak

4 Bucolo Chugiak

4 Gatter East

Stolen Bases

6 Solberg East

4 John East

4 Lewis East

4 Malo Bartlett

4 Franklin Bartlett

4 Frosie Eagle River

4 Wing Chugiak

Base On Balls

4 Opinsky West

4 Bautista West

4 Scoggins Service

3 Ten players tied

PITCHING [min 4 IP]

Innings Pitched

8.1 Davis East 

8 Fredrick Eagle RIver

7.2 Jarvis East

7 Homza South

7 Koloski South

7 Oberly West

7 Weigel West

Earned Run Average

0.00 Homza South

0.00 Koloski South

0.00 Lindberg Chugiak

0.84 Davis East

1.17 Duffy West

1.40 Hess Chugiak

1.75 Jaidinger Service

Strikeouts

15 Davis East

14 Duffy West

10 Koloski South

9 Jarvis East

8 Homza South

8 Weigel South

7 Henrickson Dimond 

Pickoffs

1 Malo Bartlett

1 Jaidinger Service

1 Lindberg Chugiak

1 Curfman Chugiak

1 Miles Eagle River

DEFENSE

Assists

10 Pigg Service

10 Oberly West

9 Andresen Dimond

9 Fredrick Eagle River

7 Franklin Bartlett

7 Kindred Chugiak

6 Three players tied

Torres a torrid hitter for Mesabi Range, lifts average to .368

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 4, 2016

It didn't take long for Dimitri Torres of Anchorage to establish himself as one of the top playmakers for Mesabi Range College in Minnesota.

The freshman third baseman hit a game-winning, three-run home run in his first game.

After 29 games, he leads the team with 27 runs and ranks second with a .368 batting average and 10 stolen bases.

Torres, of Bartlett Legion Post 29 fame, has driven in 21 runs, including five RBIs in his last five games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director. 

Torres a torrid hitter for Mesabi Range, lifts average to .368

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 4, 2016

It didn't take long for Dimitri Torres of Anchorage to establish himself as one of the top playmakers for Mesabi Range College in Minnesota.

The freshman third baseman hit a game-winning, three-run home run in his first game.

After 29 games, he leads the team with 27 runs and ranks second with a .368 batting average and 10 stolen bases.

Torres, of Bartlett Legion Post 29 fame, has driven in 21 runs, including five RBIs in his last five games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Ross brings precision, power to the plate for Blue Mountain

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 1, 2016

Ben Ross of Palmer has always had some pop in his bat, but the right-handed slugger suffered a power outage as a freshman at Blue Mountain Community College in Washington.

So he changed his approach at the plate and it was like a light went on.

“I’ve learned that power can be substituted with precise hitting,” he told me.

Ross is no longer just a pull hitter as he’s now able to take pitches the other way, which has helped make him one of the top run producers in the NWAC.

The sophomore outfielder is hitting .336 in 34 games and ranks 10th in the league with 28 RBIs. He is also riding a 16-game hitting streak, the second longest among Alaskans playing college baseball. 

Just call him the 907’s Comeback Player of the Year.

“This year has been one for the books for me so far,” he said. “I'm finally getting the playing time I've been seeking in college, and enjoying every minute of it.”

Ross has more home runs [3] as a sophomore than he did base hits [2] as a freshman. He also has 10 doubles and a triple.

His new approach hasn’t kept him from swinging a big bat either. It’s just now he’s smarter about it. For example, he has struck out only nine times in his last 70 plate appearances.

“This approach has greatly helped when there are guys in scoring position,” he said. “Instead of trying to hit a bomb shot I relax and contain my swing to drive the ball the other way to give that greater chance of getting those runs in.”

Ross, who played high school ball at Colony and Legion for Wasilla Post 35, is hitting .389 during his hitting streak that dates back to April 6. He entered that day hitting .281 on the season. Now he’s up to .336. 

“I'm usually aggressive in the box so I'm not afraid to hack at a first-pitch strike,” he said. “I'm really anxious to hit the ball, so if it’s there, I'm hackin.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Osborne has 10 RBIs in 4-game series with Dickinson State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 26, 2016

Have a series, Sagan Osborne.

The Dickinson State junior from Anchorage enjoyed a huge weekend against the University of Winnipeg during NAIA action in North Dakota, going 9-for-15 [.600] with five extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in four games.

Osborne, of Dimond Post 21 fame, continued his career season by lifting his batting average to .383 in 46 games. 

He also extended his hitting streak to 12 games, one shy of his season-high 13-game streak earlier this season.

Osborne isn't just getting on base - he's driving the ball in the gap, driving in teammates and scoring lots of runs.

He leads Dickinson State with 18 doubles and 21 extra-base hits, ranks second with 38 RBIs and third with 32 runs.

Osborne has also doubled in five straight games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson homers, Brown closes the door as PLU wins conference

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 25, 2016

For the third time this college baseball season Anchorage's Tyler Thompson homered and Garrett Brown earned the save in the same game for Pacific Lutheran University.

This time, though, it helped the Lutes capture the Northwest Conference championship and punch their ticket to the NCAA D3 regional tournament in May.

Thompson crushed a two-out solo home run in the second inning that proved to be the game winner and Brown pitched the final two innings as PLU beat Whitworth 6-5 in Spokane, Washington.

“It’s funny because me and Garrett always talk about him getting a save and me getting a home run in a game, and it’s happened a few times,” Thompson told me. “We both just get pumped up for each other when we do well.”

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, ranks third in the Northwest Conference with a career-high eight home runs.

Brown, of Service Post 28 fame, leads the league with a career-high nine saves.

Together, they are a big reason why the Lutes have posted a 10-2 record this month and are red hot entering the regional playoffs.

Today, PLU opened the game by scoring five runs in the top of the first only to have Whitworth answer with five of their own to tie the game.

Thompson hit the go-ahead homer the next inning.

“My mentality for my at-bat was just to try and get a rally going,” he said. “The pitcher left the ball up and I put a good swing on it.”

From there, PLU pitchers threw nothing but goose eggs.

“Our pitching shut them down,” Thompson said. “It’s just an awesome feeling winning the conference tournament after all the ups and downs our team went through to get to this point.”

With 16 career homers, Thompson is the active leader among Alaskans playing college baseball. His latest dinger was memorable, but he hopes there are more to come.

“This moment means a lot to me, to come through for my team in that situation definitely got me going,” he said. “It was an awesome day for our team.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Caron stays aggressive for Dawson, hitting .394 at leadoff

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 21, 2016

The job of a prototypical leadoff hitter is to take as many pitches as possible.

But Anchorage’s Ryan Caron has a different strategy. 

“I’m usually swinging first pitch,” he told me with a laugh. “I don’t see many pitches.”

He doesn’t miss many either.

The Dawson Community College sophomore centerfielder is hitting .394 [37-for-94] in 27 games with the NJCAA team in Montana.

He has banged out at least two hits in nine of his last 16 games.

Caron, of Service Post 28 fame, started the season pitching and playing in the field. He has since focused on just hitting and the results speak for themselves.

 “I really changed my approach,” he said. “When I was doing my best last year I was really being aggressive and then I got away from it after I got moved up in the lineup.”

He promised himself to stay aggressive no matter what, even after he was promoted to the top of the Dawson batting order.

Thing is, though, most coaches want their leadoff hitters to see lots of pitches. Then again, his .394 batting average gives him a long leash.

“I talked with my coach about it and he said, ‘As long as it works, keep doing you,’” Caron said. “If the pitcher isn’t around the zone, I will back off.

“Thing is, though, pitchers are going to throw you stuff they want you to hit, so if they start me out with a fastball I’m going to smack that.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson, Ibesate tied for longest hitting streak in college

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 19, 2016

Tyler Thompson of Anchorage didn’t waste any time extending his hitting streak.

The Pacific Lutheran University third baseman delivered a first-inning double to push his consecutive hits streak to 15 games.

Thompson, a senior, is hitting .308 on the season with six home runs and 24 RBIs in 38 games.

Thompson’s streak tied him with Juneau’s Lance Ibesate of the University of Jamestown for the longest among Alaska college players.

Ibesate, a senior second baseman, is hitting .362 with one home run and 30 RBIs in 44 games.

Here is a look at the longest hitting streaks by Alaskans playing college baseball this season:

*15 – Tyler Thompson, Pacific Lutheran University

15 – Lance Ibesate, University of Jamestown

13 – Sagan Osborne, Dickinson State University

*10 –  Scooter Bynum, Western Arizona College

*8 – Ben Ross, Blue Mountain Community College

8 – Ryan Caron, Dawson Community College

*6 – Stephen Ferntheil, Mayville State University

6 - Dimitri Torres, Mesabi Range JC

5 – Adam Manzer, Sonoma State University 

4 – Willy Homza, Brown University

4 – Aaron Miller, Mayville State University

4 -- Matthrew Wixon, Bemidji State Univeristy

[*] active

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Manzer crushes 1st homer, has 3 RBIs in one game for Sonoma St

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 19, 2016

Adam Manzer of Anchorage hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning and finished with three RBIs for Sonoma State before the bullpen gave it away in a 9-7 loss to Cal State San Marcos.

He finished 3-for-4 with a run-scoring walk, an RBI single and a solo home run. It was his first bomb this season and the fifth for his two-year NCAA D2 career.

"The home run felt great. The best feeling I've had all year at the plate," he told me. "Been seeing the ball better as of late been working on some things lately in practice to help me at the plate."

Manzer, of West Post 1 fame, is hitting .282 with 14 RBIs in 32 games.

The senior outfielder has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage on defense.

"I've been playing a lot of left field and a little right field lately," he said. "Hopefully I can move around a little bit and showcase my skills at other postitions too.

"Of the outfield I like the centerfield the best because I have free range and authority to run down and catch any ball."

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Prep season has earliest start in Anchorage, thanks to FieldTurf

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 16, 2016

The boys of summer hit the field Saturday in Anchorage in the earliest start date in more than 25 years of high school baseball.

Ten years ago, teams prepared for the season by taking ground balls and batting practice in parking lots. And when the players finally did get on the fields, the conditions were terrible: muddy and wet.

But FieldTurf has changed how the game is played in Alaska.

In past years Anchorage teams from the Cook Inlet Conference had gone elsewhere in Alaska to play in mid-April, but not this year. 

West vs. Bartlett, 10 a.m.

Service vs. Eagle River, 1 p.m.

Colony vs. South, 4 p.m.

Bartlett has one of just three all-FieldTurf baseball fields in Alaska – the other locations are Sitka and Kodiak.

However, FieldTurf baseball /softball infields through the advocacy of American Legion baseball is now becoming a growing trend because the surface allows for a longer season with more consistent bounces and game play and less maintenance required. 

Current FieldTurf infields constructed by Alliance for ALB with partnerships forged with Anchorage Parks and Recreation, Anchorage Parks Foundation, Eagle River Parks and Recreation and Mt View Lions include: 

Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage: Opened April 2010;

Polar LL Blackburn Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2014 repurposed from AFS; 

Polar LL Peck Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2014 repurposed from AFS;

Kosinski 4 Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2015;

Kosinski 3 Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2015;

Loretta French Field in Eagle River: Opening May 2016;

Oberg Field in Chugiak: Opening May 2016.

Other areas of the state have also looked to add FieldTurf baseball/softball infields constructed by the Mat Su Borough and the Mat Su School District:

Joe Redington High School near Wasilla: Scheduled to open Fall of 2016 FieldTurf Baseball and Softball infields;

Wasilla High School near Wasilla: Schedule to open Fall of 2016 FieldTurf Baseball and Softball infields.

Future plans discussed by the Alliance with its partner American Legion programs is FieldTurf fields in Fairbanks, Ketchikan and Juneau as well as partnership with statewide Little League baseball and softball organizations to use repurposed FieldTurf for infields.

Here's a look at the non-league [NL] schedule:

SATURDAY, APRIL 16

BA  West vs. Bartlett   10:00 AM 

BA  Service vs. Eagle River  1:00 PM 

BA Colony vs. South   4:00 PM 

THURSDAY, APRIL 21

BA  Delta vs. Chugiak  6:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 22

BA  Palmer vs. Dimond  6:30 PM 

K4  Delta vs. Eagle River  6:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 23

ASD-APPROVED JAMBOREE 

Scrimmages limited to 2 innings or 1 hour

K4 Service vs. West 10:00 AM

K3  Delta vs. Dimond 10:00 AM

K4  West vs. Dimond 11:15 AM

K3 Delta vs. Service 11:15 AM

K4 Dimond vs. Service 12:30 PM

K3 West vs. Delta 12:30 PM

ASD-APPROVED JAMBOREE 

Scrimmages limited to 2 innings or 1 hour

K4 Eagle River vs. Bartlett  2:00 PM

K3  Chugiak vs. East 2:00 PM

K4  Bartlett vs. East 3:15 PM

K3 Chugiak vs. Eagle River 3:15 PM

K4 East vs. Eagle River 4:30 PM 

K3 Bartlett vs. Chugiak 4:30 PM

***Jamboree Rules

A baseball Jamboree shall include three or more teams. A team is limited to no more than 6 innings total with no more than 2 innings against any other team. Each pitcher is limited to no more than 2 innings. A team may not play in more than one Jamboree each season. No scores are kept in a Jamboree.

MONDAY, APRIL 25

K4  Colony vs. Eagle River 6:30 PM

K3  Palmer vs. Service 6:30 PM

TUESDAY, APRIL 26

K4  Wasilla vs. Bartlett  6:30 PM

K3  Dimond vs. West  6:30 PM

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27

K4  Palmer vs. South  6:30 PM

K3  East vs. Chugiak  6:30 PM

THURSDAY, APRIL 28

BA  Wasilla vs. Dimond 6:30 PM

K4  Colony vs. Service 6:30 PM

K3  South vs. Chugiak  6:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 29

BA  Wasilla vs. West  6:30 PM

K4  Bartlett vs. Dimond 6:30 PM

K3  Service vs. East  6:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 30

BA  Eagle River vs. West  10:00 AM

BA  Lathrop vs. Chugiak  1:00 PM

BA  Lathrop vs. South  4:00 PM

BA  East vs. Bartlett  7:00 PM

Ibesate is one crazy consistent college hitter for Jamestown

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 15, 2016

The University of Jamestown's Lance Ibesate of Juneau is crazy consistent with the bat.

The second baseman has nearly an identical batting average, slugging percentage and stolen base totals in each of the last two NAIA seasons.

He hit .368 in 46 games last year and .366 in 41 games this year while his slugging percentage has been .485 and .486. He's also swiped exactly 20 bags each year.

There hasn't been a more a consistent hitter from Alaska than Ibesate at the college level over that time.

"My approach at the plate is a gap-to-gap approach," Ibesate told me. "It's something we've been working on all year and it's showing with our team."

The former Juneau Post 25 all-star currently is riding a 14-game hitting streak for Jamestown, which has won 38 of 41 games this year.

"I've been having success at the plate not because of myself but because of the teammates I have," he said. "With the pitch staff and hitters I have, makes my job simple."

Ibesate's 14-game hitting streak is the longest of any player from Alaska this season. Anchorage's Sagan Osborne of Dickinson State had a 13-game hitting streak earlier this season and Pacific Lutheran's Tyler Thompson of Anchorage owns a current 11-game hitting streak.

Ibesate and Osborne were on the same field last weekend during a four-game series in North Dakota.

Ibesate went 6-for-14 [.428] with four runs and three RBIs as his team won three of four. Osborne went 5-for-17 [.294] with five RBIs.

“Facing another Alaskan is always a pleasure,” Ibesate said. “It’s always fun competing with someone you have something in common with, and that’s having played in The Last Frontier.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

PLU cleanup hitter Thompson does not get cheated at dish

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 11, 2016

Anchorage's Tyler Thompson doesn't go to the plate trying to hit a home run, but he doesn't get cheated either.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior slugger at Pacific Lutheran University takes a healthy cut and sometimes he gets enough to knock it out of the ballpark.

"I go up trying to do damage and if I get a good swing on it then home runs will follow," he told me.

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, is crushing the ball this season with the NCAA D3 Lutes of Tacoma, Washington, where he leads the team with five home runs.

Even better, he is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak. 

Overall the cleanup hitter is batting .294 in 34 games with 18 RBIs and 25 runs.

He is averaging a home run every 6.8 games this year compared to 12.6 in 2014.

Thompson is Alaska's career leader among active players with 13 career home runs in three seasons at PLU.

"The home runs have meant a lot to me for a couple of reasons," he said. "I was never a home-run hitter growing up. I would hit one here and there, but never on a consistent basis.

"I always wanted to be a home-run hitter, but never thought I actually would be."

Who could blame him? Chicks dig the long ball.

Things changed for Thompson when he hit a growth spurt in high school. He also started lifting weights. By the time he got to college he was stronger than ever.

Crushing bombs, however, is more than just being buff.

You have to be able to actually hit, including pitches other than just fastballs.

"My approach at the plate is be aggressive. I've always been an aggressive hitter," Thompson said. "One thing that I've had to work on more this year is staying balanced and hitting more off-speed pitches.

"Being in the 4-hole for the majority of my games I get more off-speed pitches. I would say probably four of my five home runs this season have been on off-speed pitches."

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bynum adds punch to his bat, bumps slugging to .485 for AWC

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 6, 2016

There is a power surge happening at Arizona Western College, courtesy of Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks.

The 20-year-old sophomore centerfielder has seen his slugging percentage climb to new heights on the baseball field this season, thanks to career-high totals in doubles, triples and home runs.

Best of all his batting average hasn’t taken a hit as a result of his added power.

Bynum, of Fairbanks Legion Post 11/30 fame, is hitting .311 in 37 games compared to .314 in 54 games as a freshman.

“The weight room and the reps from JUCO ball, it’s different than in Alaska, where you get the chance to fail and then pick yourself back up.”

He played in eight games as a senior in high school. In two years at Arizona Western College he has played in 91 – and counting. There are 14 games left in the regular season.

“I’m looking to get really hot here and make the playoffs,” he said.

Bynum’s slugging percentage of .485 is the highest among active Alaskans playing college baseball; better than other notable hitters from the state like Sagan Osborne [.472], Lance Ibesate [.472] and Tyler Thompson [.470].

Bynum has 13 extra-base hits on six doubles, four triples and three home runs.

“That’s good, but I can be better and I know that so I’m gonna do it,” he said.

His slugging percentage is 72 points higher than his freshman season when he had eight extra-base hits [3-3-2].

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Jensen pitching well for GHC even if record does not show it

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 4, 2016

Talk about getting no love. Nick Jensen of Anchorage is actually pitching much better than anybody would expect with a 0-5 record.

The Grays Harbor College starting pitcher has a 3.16 ERA and he has allowed just one earned run in each of his last two starts.

His losing record is a combination of hard luck, little run support and poor defense.

In fact, only 9 of his last 19 runs allowed were earned.

Jensen, of South Legion Post 4 fame, has only 14 strikeouts in 31.1 innings, so he pitches to contact and relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

Nonetheless, his winless record shouldn't overshadow his pitching performance for the NWAC school in Washington.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Karnos has a 1.29 ERA over his last 21 innings with Sac State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 30, 2016

Even though a winning decision in back-to-back starts wasn’t in the cards, Anchorage’s Max Karnos is still pitching like an ace.

The Sacramento State right-hander has a sparkling 1.29 ERA over his last 21 innings of work, although his record is just 1-0 during that stretch.

He threw seven strong innings in consecutive starts against Cal Poly and North Dakota – both 3-2 wins, but he didn’t factor in the decision.

“What has improved most is my strike percentage and also I’m throwing a lot more first-pitch strikes, which is helping me get ahead of batters early,” he told me.

Karnos, of South Legion Post 4 fame, had a career-high 5 Ks against North Dakota and said he uses his slider more than ever to help get routine outs.

“Lately our defense has been awesome,” he said, “so my confidence that almost anything put into play will be an out has boosted my confidence to throw strikes in any count.”

In six games, including five starts, the 6-foot-4 junior has a 1-1 record and 3.86 ERA in 28 innings.

“I love being a starter because I know what my job is, which is to get to the eighth inning and then hand it off to our bullpen,” Karnos said. “A lot of innings shows that I’m doing my job.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Brown hasn’t allowed a run in the month of March for PLU

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 28, 2016

Lots of baseball players are superstitious and Garrett Brown of Anchorage is no different. 

Things are going so well for the Pacific Lutheran University right-handed pitcher that he refuses to shave his beard.

Brown hasn’t allowed a run in the month of March, a scoreless streak that extends 15.2 inning over six relief appearances.

Nobody dare talks about the streak, though, in fear of upsetting the baseball gods.

“Baseball is a weird sport like that,” Brown told me. “Only way I won’t perform well is if I do it to myself. If I throw the ball down the middle I’ll get smacked. If I hit spots, and locate, no one will hit me.

“So it’s all up to me – no superstitions involved.”

Brown, of Service Legion Post 28 fame, has a 3-3 record with two saves in 13 games and a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings.

The senior is one of the first options out of the bullpen because of his durability and consistency. Take last weekend’s doubleheader against George Fox when he closed out the game on back-to-back days.

“The trainers at PLU, specifically Aaron Gunther, have been helping me keep my arm healthy as the season goes on,” Brown said. “Throwing back-to-back days is tough, so managing arm tenderness is important. Adrenaline helps minimize the pain a lot, though.”

Brown’s success is based on location, getting ahead in the count and pitching to his defense – a winning formula at any level.

“Our defense is ranked top 5 in the nation right now so I’ve been attaching batters with my fastball,” he said. “I’ve learned that coming out of the pen isn’t as easy as people make it seem. It requires extreme focus as one bad pitch can lose a game.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Osborne knocks in game winner, lifts batting average to .406

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 23, 2016

Never mind flirting with .400, Sagan Osborne of Anchorage is straight going steady with the benchmark batting average.

The Dickinson State shortstop banged out two more hits today to raise his average to .406 in 27 games this season.

Osborne, of Dimond Legion Post 21 fame, went 2-for-4 and drove in the game-winning run with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning to key a 3-2 victory over the University of Mary in NAIA baseball action in Bismarck, North Dakota.

He now has 39 hits in 96 at-bats. He came into the game hitting .402.

Osborne leads Dickinson State in batting average, doubles [9] and ranks second with 19 runs and 18 RBIs.

He has struck out just seven times in 108 plate appearances.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Ross has turned into a RBI machine for Blue Mountain

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 22, 2016

When Blue Mountain Community College baseball has ducks on the pond, the team wants Palmer's Ben Ross at the plate.

The right fielder has turned into RBI machine over the four games, driving in six runs, including two more in a 10-0 win over Olympic during NWAC play in Pendleton, Oregon.

Ross, of Wasilla Post 35 fame, went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored.

The sophomore outfielder has a current five-game hitting streak that seen his batting average soar from .158 to a more respectable .242.

He has made good contact over that time, striking out just twice in 24 at-bats.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson blasts 12th career HR, most among active Alaskans

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 21, 2016

A year after hitting more home runs than ever before in a college baseball season, Pacific Lutheran University third baseman Tyler Thompson of Anchorage is threatening to hit even more this year.

The senior slugger clubbed his fourth homer of the NCAA D3 season over the weekend.

He has averaged a home run every six games. Last year, he went yard five times and averaged a bomb every 8.6 games.

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, now has 12 career home runs, the most among active college baseball players from Alaska.

He is hitting .264 in 24 games this season – right at his career average.

Thompson’s on-base percentage has skyrocketed to .402 this season thanks to a keen eye in the box. He has earned 12 walks in 99 plate appearances compared to 11 walks to 181 last year.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

All Way does is win; his teams are 32-4 when he pitches

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 13, 2016

Never mind Brian Way, his name should be Brian Win because that’s all he does.

The Sitka pitcher tossed six innings for Edmonds Community College in a 4-0 win over Pierce College over the weekend, improving to 2-0 in two starts this year and continuing a winning trend as a college pitcher.

His teams have a 32-4 record when he pitches.

Edmonds has won 15 of 17 NWAC games since 2015 and the Bellingham Bells were victorious in 17 of 19 West Coast League games last summer.

He’s not making token appearances either.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander has posted a 12-2 record with eight saves, meaning his fingerprints were all over 20 of those 32 wins.

Even better, his 1.51 ERA in 83.2 career innings just shows you how dominant the big guy has been.

He also won his final start for Sitka en route to winning a state title.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Karnos faces No. 5 LSU, picks up first win vs. South Dakota State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 11, 2016

Sacramento State threw transfer Max Karnos of Anchorage to the wolves right off the bat, starting him on the road against Auburn and No. 5 LSU in his first two appearances.

He wouldn’t want it any other way.

Karnos came to Sac State for the chance to face NCAA D1 talent and he got his wish.

“LSU was an unbelievable atmosphere,” he told me. “The fans there were awesome and it is as if you are a big leaguer for the weekend.”

The 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher got hit around a little bit by those two SEC teams before he bounced back in his first home start to beat South Dakota State 4-0.

Karnos, of South Post 4 fame, tossed five clean innings of 2-hit ball.

“It was nice getting the first win out of the way,” he said. “It’s almost as if a little weight is off my shoulders.”

He got sharper as the game went.

“During the first couple of innings all of my pitches were moving like were supposed to but I was just locating them badly,” Karnos said. “I settled in for the last two innings got back to the way I usually pitch.”

It was a different story against Auburn and LSU, which combined to score nine earned runs on 15 hits over seven innings.

It wasn’t his best effort, but he didn’t feel overmatched.

“The hitters there are not much different from guys I face on the West Coast. If anything, they hunt for off-speed more and are more patient at the plate,” Karnos said. “I learned that getting ahead in counts is make-or-break for a pitcher like me.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Klein is undefeated after five starts with Lewis & Clark College

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 6, 2016

When the Juneau Legion Post 25 needed a win last summer the team turned to Nathan Klein.

Nothing has changed in college.

The freshman right-hander is the ace for the Lewis & Clark College pitching staff and he's mowing batters just like he did in Alaska.

Klein has flashed a 3-0 record and 2.86 ERA in five appearances for the NCAA D3 school in Portland, Oregon.

He owns a 16-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 28.1 innings of work.

Klein was the Opening Day starter and threw seven innings of shutout ball. He hasn't lost since, picking up a no-decision in Saturday's start against Linfield.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Osborne stays hot for Dickinson State after 5-month break

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 6, 2016

Sagan Osborne of Anchorage was hotter than hot last fall for Dickinson State when he banged out two hits or more in seven of 10 games.

Then the winter break came and he didn't play a game for five months.

No matter, Osborne is still hot.

The No. 3 hitter went 4-for-7 with a run and two RBIs in today's doubleheader against the University of Minnesota-Crookston in NAIA action.

The former Dimond Post 21 all-star is now hitting a ridiculous .490 through 12 games with Dickinson State. He has seven RBIs, six runs and four stolen bases.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Frost launches first home run as softball player at Stanford

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 4, 2016

An all-star baseball player in high school, Lauren Frost of Eagle River is making her transition to college softball look easy.

The freshman infielder at Stanford University is hitting .400 in her last four games and socked her first home run the last time she took the field for the NCAA D1 team in California.

She is hitting .286 overall this season, although four of her first eight games she was used only as a pinch hitter.

Since then she has been inserted into the starting lineup and her game has flourished.

Frost, of Eagle River High fame, has delivered a base hit in each of her four starts. She also has three RBIs.

She is playing second base, although she can play shortstop too.  

She has converted 18-of-19 defensive chances and turned a double play.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Way pitches Edmonds CC to win in first start of the year

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 3, 2016

Edmonds Community College pitcher Brian Way of Sitka looked good in his first start of the season.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander struck out seven batters over six innings of work as Edmonds beat Southwestern Oregon Community College 13-2 in NWAC action.

Way scattered five hits and one walk.

He is now 7-2 with a 1.73 ERA in 16 career appearances with Edmonds.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Walk-off single by Ibesate keeps Jamestown undefeated

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 28, 2016

Juneau's Lance Ibesate is the reason the Jamestown University baseball team is still undefeated.

The senior third baseman delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to allow Jamestown to walk off with a 2-1 win over Hastings.

He had struck out two of his three previous at-bats, so you know that felt good.

It was the first game of a doubleheader, with Jamestown carrying that momentum to a 3-0 win in Game 2.

The NAIA team from North Dakota is 12-0 on the season.

Ibesate is hitting .343 in 10 games with 12 runs and 8 RBIs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Manzer raises batting average 80 points after epic day

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 28, 2016

Have a day Adam Manzer.

The Sonoma State left fielder from Anchorage enjoyed the greatest day of his college baseball career, going 5-for-9 with 6 RBIs in Saturday's doubleheader.

The senior capped his day with a bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning to put the finishing touches on an 11-3 win over Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Manzer went 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs in the Game 2 win.

In Game 1, he went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.

The former West all-star catcher raised his batting average from .176 to .256 with his delightful day at the plate.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson goes big fly for first time this year, No. 9 for career

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 21, 2016

Anchorage's Tyler Thompson of Pacific Lutheran University launched his first home run of the college season.

The senior third baseman went yard in a 7-2 loss to Linfield.

He has three extra-base hits and 10 runs in 11 games. He just had his 5-game hitting streak snapped.

Thompson has 9 home runs and 60 RBIs in 92 career games. 

Last year he jacked a career-best five homers.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bynum bashes home run in Arizona Western win

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 15, 2016

It doesn't matter where you put Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks in the lineup the guy gets it done.

Last week he was hitting leadoff. Now he's in the No. 2 hole.

Bynum went 4-for-5 with a double, home run and 3 RBIs as Arizona Western beat Western Nevada 9-5 in JC baseball action.

The sophomore center fielder doubled in a pair of runs and later scored in the third inning.

In the sixth he launched his first homer of the season, a solo shot.

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic High fame, is hitting .289 with 7 RBIs and 6 runs in 10 games.

The promising playmaker was an 18th round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2014 MLB Draft but opted to go to school.

Last season as a freshman he hit .314 in 54 games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Brown picks up saves in back-to-back appearances for PLU

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 15, 2016

Senior pitcher Garrett Brown of Anchorage picked up his second save of the season for Pacific Lutheran after closing out a 5-4 win over the University of Redlands in Washington.

Brown threw 2.1 perfect innings to lower his ERA to 3.18 over five appearances.

The former Service star picked off a runner at first base with two outs in the seventh and the tying run on third base.

He then threw consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth.

It was the second save in as many appearances for Brown, who last season moved into the bullpen after two years at catcher.

Closing out games seems to be the right fit for the crafty right-hander.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Kornegay picks up first win in Pacific Lutheran uniform

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 8, 2016

Transfer Kyle Kornegay of Anchorage picked up the first win of the season for Pacific Lutheran University.

It was also his first win in his new uniform.

The former Dimond High pitcher threw 3.1 innings of hitless relief in a 3-1 victory over Pacific.

Kornegay allowed a run on three walks and a hit batsman.

He transferred from Pierce College, where he pitched 49 innings over two seasons.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bynum has 3 RBIs to highlight 9-8 win for Arizona Western

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 8, 2016

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks drove in three runs from the leadoff spot as Arizona Western College beat Colorado Northwestern 9-8.

The sophomore center fielder finished 2-for-5 with a double for his team's only extra-base hit.

Bynum lined a two-run double in the sixth inning and then added an RBI single in the eighth inning.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Winter College Coaches Clinic starts Friday, Jan. 15

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jan 8, 2016

Join Everett Community College head coach Levi Lacey and his staff for this high paced, informative camp next week in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.  

Get in-depth instruction in all aspects of the game, detailed practice and lesson plans, and information for youth coaches and parents for four days, starting a week from today.

Everett CC has won nearly 100 games over the last 3 seasons and the team captured the NWAACC title in 2013.

"We will challenge our campers to become better players." Lacey said.  "The delivery of our information is what sets us apart from other camps.  We want the athlete to understand information as well as execute the information physically."

This is the eighth year Lacey and Co. have come to Alaska.

Normally the camp is held four days in Anchorage, but this year it’s taking the show on the road to the Menard Center in Wasilla.

Here is the daily schedule for both camps.

Anchorage, The Dome

Jan. 15-16-17

Group A*: Service, West, Dimond, East

Group B*: South, Bartlett, Eagle River, Chugiak

Group C: 9-13 Year Olds

*All other High Schools may attend Group A or Group B

Fri. Jan 15: Group A & B 4:00pm-5:45pm

                    Group C 6:00pm-7:45pm

Sat. Jan 16: Group A & B 3:30pm-5:00pm

                     Group C 5:00pm-7:30pm

Sun. Jan 17: Group A 9:00am-11:00am

                      Group B 11:00am-1:00pm

                      Group C   6:00pm-8:00pm

Wasilla, Menard Center

Jan. 18

Group A*: Houston, Redington, Wasilla

Group B*: Colony, Palmer

Group C: 9-13 Year Olds

*All other High Schools may attend Group A or Group B

Mon. Jan 18: Group A 10:00am-12:30pm

                      Group B 12:45pm-3:15pm

                      Group C   3:30pm-6:00pm

Way to return to Bellingham Bells of West Coast League

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jan 8, 2016

Brian Way of Sitka had so much fun last summer with the Bellingham Bells that the relief pitcher is going back in 2016.

The West Coast League baseball team announced that the 21-year-old Alaskan would return – and why not? The big dude dealt last year.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander flashed nice numbers with a 4-0 record, 7 saves and a 1.56 ERA in 17 appearances.

“Brian is an extremely gifted pitcher,” Bells’ Vice President of Operations Nick Caples told the team’s website. “The key to his success is that he keeps the opposition off of the base paths. When you can do that with consistency, you give your team a great chance to win games. 

“He has showcased to the fans what he is capable of and I know that everyone is excited to see him out there.”

Way, of Sitka High fame, played a pivotal role coming out of the bullpen for Bellingham, which finished atop the West Division with a 33-21 record.

“I had a great time this summer,” Way told me. “The Bells know how to greet you up there. It’s a great town to play for the summer.”

The West Coast League is one of the premier summer baseball leagues in the country.

“Throwing against more experienced hitters in the WCL made be more precise with all of my pitches and it forced me not to make as many mistakes or when I did I missed off the plate,” Way said.

He is entering his sophomore season at Edmonds Community College in Washington. As a freshman he put up impressive stats with a 6-2 record and 1.76 ERA in 15 starts.

He’s looking for another big year.

“Never worked so hard for a season in my life,” Way said. “I’m ready.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cleveland Indians name Juneau pitcher Baker to 40-man roster

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Nov 27, 2015

The Cleveland Indians have given Dylan Baker of Juneau a tip of the cap.

The MLB team added the 23-year-old pitcher to its 40-man roster, the ultimate compliment given Baker threw only five innings in 2015.

“I was pretty surprised. I knew I had a chance but also knew so many players had good years, and I have been injured the whole year,” Baker told me. “Definitely gives me a boost of confidence, especially being injured two years in a row. Just shows that they still believe in me.”

The 40-man roster is made up of players that have signed a big league contract and they can be called up to the 25-man roster at any time, which means he is just a phone call away from pitching in ‘The Show.’

Only three Alaskans have actual MLB experience - Marshall Boze and Chris Mabeus of Soldotna and Chad Bentz of Juneau.

Baker, a rocket-armed right-hander, pitched last season for the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats. In his lone start he threw five hitless innings and struck out a career-high nine batters.

Then he suffered a major right elbow injury that shut him down for the rest of the season. 

“I have been rehabbing for a little over seven months now,” he said. “It’s a 12-month recovery if everything goes as planned.”

Baker has an 11-11 record and 3.68 ERA in 48 career games. He has 207 Ks in 242 innings. He is one of only nine Alaska pitchers to reach double-digit wins as the pro level.

He accepted an invitation to attend Cleveland’s spring training in Arizona but obviously won’t pitch. That doesn’t mean he won’t enjoy himself, though.

“It will be an awesome experience being around all the big leaguers,” Baker said.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

 

Homza, ABA all-stars having lots of fun under Arizona sun

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 10, 2015

Winning is always fun and right now the Alaska Baseball Academy all-stars are having lots of fun under the sun at the Arizona Fall Classic.

The Alaskans picked up their third win in as many days, this time beating MVP Baseball 5-2. The MVP squad featured players from different states on their roster.  

“It’s really cool for an Alaska team to go out of state and be successful,” Anchorage’s Jonny Homza told me. “I wouldn’t say I’m surprised about it, though, because we have a really solid, talented team.”

Alaska players like Homza are turning heads and making strong impressions with the dozens of professional scouts and college coaches watching from the stands.

Homza, of South High fame, is a smooth-fielding infielder with good footwork and a solid arm. He’s also hitting the ball well against top-notch pitchers from all over the country.

His older brother Willy signed with Brown University last season. This Homza has similar skills but is eager to make his own name with coaches at the next level.

He doesn’t think about the expectations surrounding a chance to play in the Arizona Fall Classic. 

“It’s a little nerve wrecking but at the same time it’s just super fun,” Homza said. “If I ever get nervous I just remember how fun it is and that you have to appreciate any chance to play ball, especially on these fields under the sun.”

Pitching has paved the way for the ABA all-stars and their 3-1 showing.

Today’s win was highlighted by Sitka’s Kyle Fitzsimmons, who struck out eight batters and limited MVP Baseball to just three hits.

Anchorage’s Raleigh Pigg of Service allowed one run while striking out two in two innings of middle relief. Mat Kley, formerly of South, picked up the save.

“We’re getting it done on the mound for sure,” Homza said. “Our pitchers have been doing really well. We’ve been stringing our hits together and scoring some runs.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Two days, two wins for Alaska team in Arizona Fall Classic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 9, 2015

The Alaska Baseball Academy continued its winning ways at the Arizona Fall Classic.

One day after beating a Canadian team, the ABA all-stars knocked off a team from California 4-1 behind the pitching performance of Nolan Monaghan of Wasilla and Jonny Homza from South.

Homza struck out six batters over four scoreless innings. He also singled. South’s Julito Fazzini doubled. Other Alaskans to get a base hit were Noah Alexander of Dimond, Lian Lincoln of South, Kasey Watts of Juneau and Raleigh Pigg of Service.

The ABA all-stars participate in the Arizona Fall Classic each year. The exhibition event helps showcase the best high school and American Legion players in Alaska. Dozens of college and pro scouts are on hand to evaluate the players.

Yesterday the Alaskans split a two-game series.

It started with a 4-3 win over Canada behind the play of Homza, who doubled twice, scored a run and drove in another. Pitcher Bryce Swofford of Juneau earned the win.

Monaghan drove in a pair of runs and Alexander singled, scored and swiped two bags.

In the nightcap, Alaska dropped a 4-1 decision to the SoCal Bombers. The Alaska hitters were limited to four hits but stayed in the game thanks to pitching by Tommy Koloski of South and Nathan Bonck of Ketchikan. 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Pro Baseball Clinic expands in Alaska to include more players

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 7, 2015

Five years ago the Professional Baseball Clinic was created in Anchorage to give kids the chance to receive 1-on-1 instruction from Major League Baseball coaches.

Now the clinic is expanding to Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Valley to include even more Alaskans.

Houston Astros coaches Brent Strom and Ralph Dickenson will be here next month for five days – Nov. 11 in Wasilla, Nov. 13-15 in Anchorage and Nov. 16 in Fairbanks.

All players welcome ages 9 to 18.

Strom is the pitching coach for the Houston Astros and Dickenson is the team’s hitting instructor. Together, they bring more than 70 years of coaching experience at the professional and collegiate level.

They are also driving forces behind this year’s Astros team that just knocked the New York Yankees out of the MLB playoffs.

Strom has been a winner at every level, winning a College World Series title as a player with Southern Cal in 1970 and a World Series title as a coach with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. 

He also pitched five years in the bigs, throwing a complete game at old Yankee Stadium. This guy tossed 16 CGs in 75 career starts. 

Strom is in his third season as pitching coach for the Astros, one of the youngest and most promising teams in the game. This is his sixth season as the chief instructor at the Professional Baseball Clinic.

His return to Fairbanks will be a homecoming as Strom played for the Goldpanners back in the day.

Dickenson is coming for the first time, replacing fellow Astros hitting instructor Jeff Albert. Dickenson is in his first season with Houston as the team’s assistant hitting coach after serving as the organization's minor league hitting coordinator in 2013. 

Prior to joining the Astros, he spent three seasons (2010-12) as a hitting coach in the Toronto Blue Jays system. Today some of those players have helped the Blue Jays win the American League East title for the first time in 22 years. 

Overall in his career Dickenson has spent 20 seasons as a minor league hitting coordinator or instructor in the Brewers, Dodgers, Rangers, Yankees and Nationals organizations. 

This is Alaska’s only opportunity to get one-on-one training from MLB coaches.  

Don’t miss this opportunity.

These clinics are sponsored by the Alliance for Support of American Legion in Alaska, BP, Matson and Alaska Airlines.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Three Alaskans lead their college baseball teams in hitting

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 4, 2015

Between Anchorage’s Sagan Osborne at Dickinson State, Juneau’s Lance Ibesate at Jamestown and Anchorage’s Stephen Ferntheil at Mayville State, Alaska is booming with batters.

All three guys lead their team in hitting.

Osborne, of Dimond High fame, is batting .476 in 10 games. He has at least one base hit in every game and is 20-for-42 this fall.

“I try to be aggressive early in the count and not get into too many two-strike counts,” he told me. “Obviously, hitting gets harder when you give the pitcher his choice of pitches.”

Osborne, a junior who moved from third base to shortstop, also leads his team with 7 RBIs.

An all-star in high school and American Legion, Osborne never translated his talent to the college level until he reached Dickinson State in North Dakota.

“It feels great to contribute every day and just know that my team can count on me,” he said. “I think I’ve just finally relaxed into a groove like I used to.”

The success hasn’t gone to his head. In fact, he wants to clear his head each time he steps into the box.

“I think in the last few years I’ve tried to do too much at the plate,” Osborne said. “I tried to be too perfect and tried to force things to happen that I thought I needed to do in that situation.

“This year I’ve just gone back to hitting the ball where it’s pitched and good things have happened.”

Ibesate, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, leads undefeated Jamestown [ND] in hitting with a .423 average in seven games.

The junior second baseman extended his hitting streak to 10 games dating back to last season.

Ibesate has an RBI in the last six straight games this fall. 

He’s also scored 11 runs and swiped five bases.

Ibesate hit .368 in 46 games last year for Jamestown.

At Mayville State [ND], Ferntheil is the new kid in town but he’s up to his old tricks.

The junior catcher is ripping the ball for a team-best .556 batting average in eight games.

He is 13-for-23 with a half dozen starts with two hits. He also has six RBIs.

Ferntheil, of Service High fame, hit .329 in 44 games last summer with East Georgia State.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Osborne really coming into his own at Dickinson State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Sep 21, 2015

Sagan Osborne of Anchorage is finally delivering on his promising potential as a teenager.

Playing at his third college, the 21-year-old has rediscovered his hitting stroke for Dickinson State of North Dakota and is back to hitting the ball the way that made him one of Alaska’s top high school players.

Osborne enjoyed the best weekend of his college career Saturday against the University of Winnipeg and Sunday against Mayville State while extending his hitting streak to six games.

In the first series he went 4-for-9 with 5 RBIs as Dickinson swept Winnipeg. In the second series he was 2-for-7 in a pair of losses.

He is batting .360 [9-for-25] during the fall ball portion of the NAIA 2015-16 season.

Osborne, of Dimond High fame, has struck out just once in 28 plate appearances.

Other Alaskans fared well this weekend too.

At Mayville State, relief pitcher Zach Ferntheil of Anchorage extended his scoreless streak to five innings.

His older brother Stephen Ferntheil went 2-for-3 in the first game of the doubleheader. The catcher now has three consecutive games with at least two hits.

Outfielder Aaron Miller of Anchorage went 3-for-7 in the two games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Alaskans begin college fall ball season on high note in Dakotas

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Sep 13, 2015

The Dakotas were full of Alaskans playing NAIA baseball over the weekend during the fall season.

The Jamestown-Mayville State series in North Dakota had four local players while the Dickinson State-Presentation series in South Dakota featured one.

Jamestown swept Sunday's doubleheader with the help of Juneau's Lance Ibesate.

The starting second baseman went 3-for-7 [.429] with a triple, RBI and walk.

Ibesate also made all eight plays on defense.

Mayville State has a trio of Anchorage players: starting left fielder Aaron Miller, starting catcher Stephen Ferntheil and relief pitcher Zach Ferntheil.

Miller went hitless this weekend but he’s probably the most accomplished player on the field with a .345 career average in 128 games. 

Ferntheil, the bashing backstop, went 2-for-3 in the first game. Nobody tried to steal on him. He did not play in the second game.

The junior transferred from East Georgia College where he hit .329 in 44 games last season.

His younger brother Zach also transferred to Mayville State. 

The right-hander made a delightful debut with his new team by pitching three shutout innings of relief. He came in with his team trailing 4-2 and threw scoreless frames in the fifth, sixth and seventh to keep the Comets in the game.

In South Dakota against Presentation, Sagan Osborne of Anchorage started well in his first game with his new team Dickinson State of North Dakota.

He started at third base and went 2-for-5 with a run and two assists in the field as his team won 10-3. He went 1-for-3 with two assists and two putouts in a Game 2 loss.  

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Juneau loses 10-6 at NWCART in final game for Coach Macaulay

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 9, 2015

Juneau Post 25 outhit the Fremont Silverwolves and matched the Utah team run for run for the first seven innings before losing an elimination game at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Logan, Utah.

In a back and forth game that saw the lead change hands several times, Fremont finally pulled away in the eighth inning to post a 10-6 victory over the Southeast Alaska team. 

It was the final game for manager Andy Macaulay, who stepped down after coaching the Legion AA team for three seasons and serving as the Midnight Suns Baseball Club since 2006.

Macaulay, a coach of the year winner, compiled a 70-29 record with Juneau and led Post 25 to the NWCART in each of the last two years and won three games.

This year his team went 1-2 and finished fifth.

Juneau led today’s game 3-2 before Utah went ahead 4-3. Finn Collins hit into a fielder’s choice to score RJ Markovich and tie it at 4-4.

Utah went up 7-4 in the top of the sixth before Michael Cesar’s line drive up the middle scored Jacob Dale and Matt Cunningham in the bottom half to make it 7-6. 

Juneau outhit Utah 13-12.

Markovich started and pitched six innings. Jacob Thibodeau threw the final three.

Markovich, Collins and Jake Tanner each doubled and combined for eight hits and four RBIs.

Macaulay addressed his team the final time after the game.

“I told them that it was a privilege to coach them and I’m excited to see where they go from here,” he said. “I told them that the way they can thank me is by paying it forward later in their life; get involved in their community and be a positive role model to the kids.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Juneau wins, Kenai loses on Day 1 of NWCART in Utah

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 7, 2015

Kasey Watts and Alex Muir hit back-to-back doubles in the ninth inning to lift Juneau Post 25 to victory on opening day of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Logan, Utah.

Juneau posted a 3-2 victory over the Nampa Braves of Idaho to advance in the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination American Legion tournament.

Alaska’s other team, Kenai Post 20, wasn’t as fortunate and lost 14-4 to the Cody Cubs of Wyoming.

Juneau [27-4] got strong pitching, defense and hitting – all the key ingredients to having postseason success.

“Very proud how well they played together in such a close game,” Juneau manager Andy Macaulay told me. “Very proud of my boys.”

Juneau took a 2-0 lead in the third inning after RJ Markovich delivered a two-run double. That scored Jacob Thibodeau and Matt Cunningham, who had both singled.

Starting pitcher Nathan Klein was his usually awesome self and carried a shutout into the seventh inning.

Alaska’s most dominant pitcher, Klein has carved up the competition this year with a 9-1 record and 0.88 ERA. He didn’t factor into the decision, but struck out 13 batters in 6.2 innings of work.

“Nathan dominated the first five innings, then it got real muggy and he started to fade in the seventh,” Macaulay said.

Klein was pulled in favor of Markovich, who pitched 1.1 innings and picked up the win in relief.

Thibodeau closed it out in the ninth for the save.

The three pitchers combined for 17 Ks.

Markovich, who won the Big Stick Award at the state tournament, continued to tear the cover off the ball.

“RJ is still crushing,” Macaulay said. “He hit a shot about 370,380 [feet] to right center only to be robbed by their centerfielder with a ‘SportsCenter’ highlight diving catch.”

Juneau will play again Saturday at 5:30 ADT against the winner between the Bitterroot Rex Sox of Montana and host Logan, Utah.

Kenai will also play Saturday, facing the Fremont Silverwolves of Utah at 7:30 a.m. ADT. 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak out at Regionals; Kenai, Juneau start NWCART Friday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 6, 2015

The Chugiak Post 33 Legion AA team was eliminated from the Northwest Regional after its second loss in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Bellevue [WA] struck early and often en route to a 20-2 victory at Powers Field.

The Washington state champions scored 12 runs in the first three innings and banged out a total of 17 hits.

Chugiak was never in this one, maybe a result of lingering disappointment over yesterday's 9-5 loss to Gillette [WY] after blowing a 4-0 lead.

The six errors didn't help.

Vander Lekites went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Blake Kutch was 1-for-2 with an RBI.

State tournament MVP Charlie Bucolo collected a pair of base hits.

Chugiak finished the Legion season with a 29-5 record.

The postseason is over for Chugiak, but it's just beginning for Kenai Post 20 and Juneau Post 25.

Those teams begin play Friday in the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Logan, Utah.

Juneau, Alaska's No. 2 team in the tournament, plays Idaho at 10:30 ADT.

Kenai, the state runnerup is Alaska's No. 1 team, takes on Wyoming at 2:30 p.m.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Gillette [WY] beats Chugiak on Day 1 of Northwest Regional

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 5, 2015

A weather delay doomed Chugiak Post 33 on Day 1 of the Legion AA Northwest Regional in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The Mustangs built an early lead before a lightning and rain storm caused the game to be delayed for more than an hour.

When the game resumed Gillette [WY] stole the momentum and went on to win 9-5 in the first round of the double-elimination tournament.

Chugiak matched Gillette hit for hit - each team had 10 - and committed fewer errors; Chugiak had two compared to six for Gillette.

Zach Bohrer and Alex Hess each had two hits and an RBI. Vander Lekites also had two hits and Jake Kindred also drove in a run.

The Alaska state champions will play Bellevue [WA] tomorrow morning in an elimination game.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Klein has 16 Ks as Juneau beats Service for final NWCART berth

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 2, 2015

Juneau 5, Service 1

Remarkable right-handed pitcher Nathan Klein fired a 4-hitter with 16 strikeouts to lift Juneau Post 25 over Service Post 28 at Mulcahy Stadium.

The game featured the third-place finisher from state [Juneau] and the Matson Invitational champion [Service] in a postseason qualifier.

The game would decide which third Alaska team would travel to to a regional tournament.

Juneau's victory assured manager Andy Macaulay's team a trip to the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament [NWCART], which starts later this week in Logan, Utah.

Klein struck out 16 of 32 batters faced and threw a total of 124 pitches.

Juneau's JR Markovich, Tod Baseden and Bryce Swofford each drove in runs.

Juneau managed just three hits off Service starter Cobey Cupp in 4.2 innings. Reliever Raleigh Pigg pitched 3.1 hitless innings with five strikeouts.

But they issued 10 walks.

Jaren Childs had the lone RBI for the Cougars.

Juneau will join Kenai Post 20 at the NWCART in Utah. State champion Chugiak Post 33 will go to Cheyenne, Wyoming, for the Northwest Regional in the first step toward qualifying for the Legion World Series.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Lanier, Bucolo lead Chugiak Post 33 to Legion state championship

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 1, 2015

STATE TOURNAMENT

Chugiak 6, Kenai 0

They call him Jimmy, but he might as well go by 'Big Game James' Lanier.

The Chugiak Post 33 right-handed pitcher rose to the occasion once again, this time pitching a 3-hit shutout over Kenai Post 20 to highlight a 6-0 victory in the championship game of the Legion AA State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Lanier was marvelous on the mound and got lots of help from his friends, especially second baseman Charlie Bucolo.

Bucolo crushed a 3-run home run to left field in the third inning that pushed the lead to 4-0.

It was the second bomb in two games for Bucolo, who batted .444 with two HRs and eight RBIs in the tournament to collect Most Valuable Player honors.

With the win, No. 1 Chugiak improved to 29-3 and will represent Alaska at the Northwest Regional next week in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kenai is going to the Northwest Class A Regional in Logan, Utah, which also starts next week.

This was Chugiak's eighth Legion state championship in school history, ranking second on Alaska's all-time list. East has the most with 10.

The Mustangs controlled the title game in every aspect.

Lanier, who took the tournament's Top Pitcher award, was rock solid until a little hiccup in the ninth inning when he loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman.

He pitched 15.1 innings over two appearances at state and finished 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA.

Lanier has been huge all year - he was the winning pitcher when Chugiak won the high school state title and again when Chugiak beat Castroville, Texas, during the BP Invitational.

Offensively, Bucolo went yard and Jake Kindred, Zach Brueggemann and Sam Hanson collected RBIs.

Brueggemann doubled off the left-field wall, missing a home run by five feet.

The all-star right fielder also threw out a runner at first base on a rare 9-3 putout. Chugiak also picked off a runner at second base and got another out on the base paths in a rundown.

Doug Henie's Chugiak club is now 44-7 since high school.

Kenai deserves a lot of credit. Not only did the No. 6 Twins win five consecutive elimination games to reach the championship game, but they beat Chugiak 7-6 earlier in the day to force an if-necessary game.

In the first game, Kenai jumped to a 7-2 lead before hanging on for dear life after escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth inning.

Kyle Johnson picked up the win and Justice Miller got the save. Johnson limited Chugiak's hot bats to just two hits over five innings of work. Johnson finished the tournament with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings.

Miller was one of his team's best players the entire week and won the tournament's Gold Glove award.

Juneau's RJ Markovich won the tournament's Big Stick award after hitting .400 with five RBIs and five extra-base hits in four games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Service beats Ketchikan for Matson Invitational title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 1, 2015

Matson Invitational Title Game

Service 8, Ketchikan 3

Ronan Klancher and Derek Scoggins each had three hits and two RBIs as [9] Service beat [11] Ketchikan 8-3 in the championship game of the Matson Invitational at Bartlett High School.

Service broke free of a 2-2 tie by scoring three times in the fourth inning. The Post 28 Cougars sealed the deal with a three-run ninth inning.

Pitchers Jake Wasson and Nick Hall combined on a 7-hitter and limited Ketchikan to just one run over the final seven innings.

Daltin Johson and Wasson each had two hits as Service banged out 12 on the day, including doubles by Luke Giffen and Wasson.

Ketchikan's Shawn Sande drove in two runs, including an RBI single in the seventh inning that made it 5-3.

Luke Jones and Casey Hendricks had two hits apiece.

Service manager Willie Paul's team will now face state third-place finisher Juneau Post 25 on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium. The winner of that game will receive Alaska's second berth to the Northwest Category A Regional Tournament [NWCART] Aug. 7-11 in Logan, Utah.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Matson Invitational Individual Awards

Gold Glove

#24 LJ Felix 21 for 22 .957 fielding percentage West Post 1 

Top Pitcher

#5 Balas Buckmaster 11 2/3 IP 1-0 1 ER 0.77 ERA 8 Ks East Post 34 

Big Stick

#1 Spencer Erikson 4 runs 2 2B 4 RBI 3BB 3 HBP .333 BA .478 OBP Ketchikan Post 3 

MVP

#23 Ronan Klancher 5 runs 1 3B 6 RBI 2 SB .428 BA .466 OBP Service Post 28

Chugiak vs. Kenai to square off for Legion AA title Saturday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 1, 2015

The Alaska Legion AA Baseball State Tournament seems like 2012 all over again.

Chugiak Post 33 advances to championship game unbeaten, while Kenai Post 20 battled through the loser's bracket to reach the final.

Kenai won the title that year.

We will see which team walks away with the 2015 trophy Saturday afternoon. No. 1 Chugiak will face No. 6 Kenai at 3 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium. There is an if-necessary game scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Chugiak swept Kenai in all three games during the regular season, including two league games, 6-3 and 11-9. 

Let's take a closer look at both teams:

Chugiak Post 33

The top-seeded Mustangs are 28-2 this season and have been the best baseball team in Alaska since high school. Chugiak won the ASAA state title in June and clinched the No. 1 seed after having the best record in Legion AA this summer.

Head coach Doug Henie's team has won 39 of its last 43 games.

The Mustangs are 3-0 in the state tournament after beating No. 8 Fairbanks 30, No. 5 Valley and No. 2 Juneau.

Chugiak has a .323 team batting average during the tournament and a 1.67 team ERA.

Picking an all-star on Chugiak is like picking a dandelion - they are everywhere.

Kenai Post 20

The sixth-seeded Twins [22-11] are a resilient group, having won four consecutive elimination games to reach Saturday.

They were especially effective Friday, winning consecutive games over No. 3 South and No. 2 Juneau by one run. In fact, both victories were courtesy of a bases-loaded walk.

Kenai's batting stats don't jump off the page, but that doesn't mean they are easy outs.

They are actually tough as nails. 

The Twins take pitches, work the count and wear down a pitching staff with base on balls. Kenai batters have walked 29 times, more than any team in the state tournament.

Past Legion State Champions

10 – East Post 34 [1974, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1988, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006]

7 – Dimond Post 21 [1986, 1987, 1999, 2000 2002, 2010, 2011]

7 – Chugiak Post 33 [1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2008, 2013]

4 – Fairbanks Post 11 [1970, 1973, 1975, 1978]

3 – Kenai Post 20 [1991, 1995, 2012]

3 – South Post 4 [2007, 2009, 2014]

3 – West Post 1 [1967, 1968, 1977]

2 – Bartlett Post 29 [1972, 1981]

2 - Juneau Post 25 [1983, 1984]

2 – Service Post 28 [1991, 2001]

1 – Kodiak Post 17 [1985]

1 – Wasilla Post 35 [1990]

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Day 4 recap for State Tournament/Matson Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 31, 2015

STATE TOURNAMENT

GM12 Kenai 4, South 3, 11 innings

Jacob Sonnen drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded to plate the winning run as No. 6 Kenai outlasted No. 3 South in 11 innings in an elimination game.

Thomas Bowe homered and picked up the win with three innings of relief pitching.

Josh Darrow and Calvin Hills also drove in runs for Kenai, which avenged a first-round loss to South.

South's Sladen Mohl homered and was one of four players to get two hits; Maximilian Costello, Jonny Homza and Trevor McGinnis were the others.

Costello, Homza and Mohl had RBIs.

Both starters pitched wonferfully but neither factored in the decision. Kenai's Matthew Daugherty and Parker Johnson each went eight innings and allowed three earned runs.

South, the defending state champion, was eliminated and finished fourth in the tournament.

GM13: Kenai 3, Juneau 2

Playing its second straight game - just hours after going extra innings - No. 6 Kenai showed little fatigue and scored the winning run in the eighth inning to knock out No. 2 Juneau.

Josh Darrow walked with the bases loaded and two outs to score Michael Swoboda with the winning run.

Swoboda led off the eighth with a walk and was sacrificed to second with a bunt. Jacob Sonnen, the hero for the Twins in the earlier game, walked to load the bags.

It was Kenai's second win of the day via a bases-loaded walk.

Justice Miller pitched three perfect innings of relief to get the win. Starter Tyler Covey tossed six effective innings.

Nathan Klein and Tod Baseden drove in runs for Juneau, which tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning.

Juneau starter Finn Collins allowed three hits and two runs over six innings.

Juneau was eliminated from the tournament and finished third.

Kenai advanced to Saturday's state championship game against No. Chugiak.

STATE TOURNAMENT

Friday at Mulcahy Stadium

[6] Kenai 5. [3] South 4 - elimination game

[6] Kenai 3, [2] Juneau 2 - elimination game

Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium

3pm [6] Kenai Post 20 vs. [1] Chugiak Post 33 - championship game

6:30pm If-necessary game

MATSON INVITATIONAL

West 5, East 2

Sean Duffy was brilliant on the mound and combined with reliever Declan Dammeyer for a 2-hitter as No. 13 West beat No. 14 East in an elimination game.

Duffy allowed just one hit over seven innings of work. He struck out 11 and walked just three. Only one run he allowed was earned.

West scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to build a 3-0 lead.

East got within 3-1 in the fifth before West responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Joseph Quinn drove in two runs for West. Dillon Oberly doubled, scored a run and collected an RBI.

East was eliminated from tournament action.

Ketchikan 6, West 5

Spencer Erickson scored the winning run and Austin Erickson was the winning pitcher as No. 11 Ketchikan edged No. 13 West in a loser-out game.

Spencer Erickson led off the seventh inning with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Luke Jones's bunt.

Ketchikan's Jacob Shay, Kadin Hallstrom, Casey Hendricks and Trevan Scott all drove in runs for the Kings.

Austin Erickson came in relief in the fourth inning and pitched the final five innings, allowing four hits and just one run.

Dyson Dammeyer went 2-for-2 with a run and RBI  for West. Teammates Declan Dammeyer, Joseph Quinn, Sean Smith and Luis Montilla also had RBIs.

West was eliminated from the tournament.

Ketchikan advanced to Saturday's Matson Invitational championship game against No. 9 Service at 10 a.m. at Bartlett High School.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Friday at Bartlett High School

 [13] West 5, [14] East 2 - elimination game

.[11] Ketchikan 6, [13] West 5 - elimination game

Saturday at Bartlett High School

10am Ketchikan Post 3 vs. [9] Service Post 28 - championship game

1pm If-necessary game

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Day 3 recap for State Tournament, Matson Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 30, 2015

STATE TOURNAMENT

GM9: Kenai 6, Valley 3

Joey Becher tossed six shutout innings and Kenneth Griffin tripled and scored twice as No. 6 Kenai doubled up No. 5 Valley in an elimination game.

Jake Conver went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Griffin and Justice Miller each drove in single runs. Josh Darrow had two hits and two stolen bases.

Becher scattered three hits and seven walks. He struck out six. Thomas Bowe got the final four outs for the save.

The Valley's Buddy Dale collected three of his team's seven hits. Cooper McLaughlin, Dalton McHugill and Joshua Finch drove in runs for the Twins.

The Valley was eliminated and finished sixth in the tournament.

GM10: South 6, Dimond 1

Jonny Homza fired a 2-hitter over seven shutout innings of work to lift No. 3 South over No. 4 Dimond in an elimination game.

Homza was lights out on the bump, issuing no walks and striking out four.

He swung the ball well, too, banging out two hits with a run and RBI.

Tommy Koloski went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.

Dimond's Joe Fitka homered in the ninth off Lian Lincoln.

The Lynx finished with five hits, with Noah Alexander getting two of them.

Dimond was eliminated and finished fifth in the tournament.

GM11: Chugiak 13, Juneau 5

Jake Kindred's two-run double in the fourth inning capped a five-run rally that carried No. 1 Chugiak past No. 2 Juneau in a winner's bracket game.

Trailing 4-0, Chugiak scored five straight runs with two outs to take the lead. Juneau tied it in the sixth but Chugiak again responded with a three spot in the bottom half.

Chugiak put the game away with four runs in the eighth, earning a spot in Saturday's state title game.

The teams came into the game with a 52-4 combined record.

Chugiak's Sam Hanson drove in three RBIs and four other players finished with 1 RBI.

Juneau outhit the Mustangs 10-7, with JR Markovich's 4-for-5 leading the way. He also scored a run and drove in two.

STATE TOURNAMENT

Thursday at Mulcahy Stadium

[6] Kenai 6, [5] Valley 3 - elimination game

[3] South 6, [4] Dimond 1 - elimination game

[1] Chugiak 13, [2] Juneau 5 - winner's bracket

MATSON INVITATIONAL

West 11, Bartlett 3

Sean Smith pitched eight strong innings as No. 13 West beat No. 15 Bartlett to survice in the loser's bracket.

Smith allowed seven hits and three runs while striking out eight. He also collected an RBI with the bat.

LJ Felix, Sean Duffy and Joseph Quinn each had two RBIs.

Eight of nine West starters got a hit.

Bartlett's Halquay Haoli had two hits, two stolen bases and an RBI.

Bartlett was eliminated from tournament play.

East 11, Eagle River 1

Ryan Solberg went 2-for-4 with four RBIs as No. 14 East ran away from No. 12 Eagle River in a loser-out game.

East amassed 10 hits and scored four times in the third inning, twice in the sixth and three more in the eighth.

Starter Balas Buckmaster went the whole way; the game was called after eight innings due to mercy rule.

He allowed just four hits, although he walked six. He struck out five.

Buckmaster also scored three times and finished 1-for-3.

Eagle River's Cody Keith drove in his team's lone run. Pete Kott went 2-for-3 and scored the run.

The loss knocked Eagle River out of the tournament.

Service 10, Ketchikan 6

The top of the lineup collected six of eight hits and drove in all six runs as No. 9 Service beat No. 11 Ketchikan 10-6 in a winner's bracket game.

Hitters Nos. 1-4 Ronan Klancher, Raleigh Pigg, Nick Hall and Derek Scoggins were the hitters that did the most damage.

Pigg and Hall each had two hits and two RBIs. Daltin Johson scored three times.

Service built a 5-0 lead only to see Ketchikan get within 5-4 in the top of the fourth inning.

By the bottom of the fourth ended, though, Service pushed its lead back to a comfortable margin at 9-4.

Ketchikan's Spencer Erickson went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Tony Tocco delivered a pair of RBIs.

Service advance to Saturday's championship game.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Thursday at Bartlett High School

[13] West 11, [15] Bartlett 3 - elimination game

[14] East 11, [12] Eagle River 1 - elimination game

[9] Service 10, [11] Ketchikan 6 - winner's bracket

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

2015 Alaska Legion AA Baseball Team of Excellence

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2015

Starting Pitcher

Nathan Klein - Juneau Post 25

Tommy Koloski - South Post 4

Jimmy Lanier - Chugiak Post 33

Joe Fitka - Dimond Post 21

Dalton McHugill - Valley Post 35/15

Joey Becher - Kenai Post 20

RJ Markovich - Juneau Post 25

Tyler Hill - Fairbanks Post 11

Catcher

Kenny Griffin - Kenai Post 20

Jack Straub - Chugiak Post 33

Jeffrey Forster - Valley Post 35/15

Relief Pitcher

Zachary Brueggemann - Chugiak Post 33

Lucas Thorp - Dimond Post 21

Sam Bennett - Kodiak Post 17

Infield

Jonny Homza - South Post 4

Raleigh Pigg - Service Post 28

Zachary Bohrer - Chugiak Post 33

Jake Kindred - Chugiak Post 33

Nathan Klein - Juneau Post 25

Joe Schactler - Kodiak Post 17

Terrell Ford - Fairbanks Post 30

Ben Hall - Fairbanks Post 30

Preston Micheletto - Dimond Post 21

Outfield

Lian Lincoln - South Post 4

Buddy Dale - Valley Post 35/15

RJ Markovich - Juneau Post 25

Zachary Brueggemann - Chugiak Post 33

Vander Lekites - Chugiak Post 33

Luke Jones - Ketchikan Post 3

Utility

Peter Kott - Eagle River

Michael Fitzpatrick - Fairbanks Post 30

Finn Collins - Juneau Post 25

Coaches of the Year

Andy Macaulay - Juneau Post 25

Doug Henie - Chugiak Post 33

Cliff Butcher - South Post 4

HONORABLE MENTION

Infield - Sam Bennett Kodiak Post 17; Zeb Storie Juneau Post 25; Joe Fitka Dimond Post 21; Lucas Thorp Dimond Post 21; Josh Darrow Kenai Post 20; Tommy Bowe Kenai Post 20; Trent Chiu Fairbanks 11; LJ Felx West Post 1; Ryan Dudley Bartlett Post 28; Ryan Solberg East Post 34.

Outfield - Frank Carlson Kodiak Post 17; Matt Cunningham Juneau Post 25; Tod Baseden Juneau Post 25; Colin King Fairbanks Post 30; Parker Johnson South Post 4; Nick Hall Service Post 28; Noah Alexander Dimond Post 21; Cody Keith Eagle River; Carl Gatter East Post 34.

Catcher - Kyle Bremont Dimond Post 21; Dmitri Torres Bartlett Post 28.

Utility - Spencer Erickson Ketchikan Post 3; Logan Sanders Valley Post 35/15; Ronan Klancher Service Post 28.

Pitcher - Matt Hess Chugiak Post 33; Jake Andresen Dimond Post 21; Alex Schlegel South Post 4; Casey Lewandowski Fairbanks Post 11; Sean Duffy West Post 1.

Day 2 recap for State Tournament, Matson Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2015

STATE TOURNAMENT

GM5: Kenai 4, Fairbanks [11] 2

The No. 6 Twins manufactured two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to escape a close call with No. 7 Fairbanks Post 11 in an elimination game.

Kenneth Griffin scored on a fielder's choice and Thomas Bowe came home on a passed ball. Josh Darrow, Justice Miller and Jake Conver each had RBIs.

Kyle Johnson started and went seven strong innings but did not factor in the decision. Reliever Klayton Justice pitched two innings to get the win.

Fairbanks starter Casey Lewandowski pitched an 8-inning CG but suffered a hard-luck loss. He struck out a half dozen and walked zero.

Fairbanks 11 was eliminated and finished eighth in the tournament.

GM6: Dimond 17, Fairbanks [30] 10

The No. 4 Lynx broke out the bats with 19 hits and three big innings en route to a slugfest victory that knocked No. 8 Fairbanks 30 out of the state tournament.

Lucas Thorp went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored as eight of nine starters found the hit column.

Kyle Bremont and Jack Hoen each had three RBIs, and Joe Fitka and Tony Hillman each had three hits.

Fairbanks showed plenty of fight, scoring in six of nine innings and rallying for three runs in the seventh to stave off the mercy rule.

Terrell Ford went 2-for-6 with three RBIs and Colin King had two RBIs for Fairbanks 30, which finished seventh.

GM7: Juneau 8, South 0

Bryce Swofford threw a 4-hit shutout with seven strikeouts to lead No. 2 Juneau past defending state champion and No. 3 South in a winner's bracket game.

Tod Baseden went 4-for-5. He and JR Markovich had two RBIs and two runs. Alex Muir drove in three runs.

Juneau broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning.

Tommy Koloski's double highlighted South's offense.

GM8: Chugiak 7, Valley 3

Jimmy Lanier continued to pitch beautifully in big games this season, collecting another win as No. 1 Chugiak picked up its state-best 27th victory this season.

Lanier scattered five hits and five walks over 6.2 innings. The right hander won the high school state championship game and beat Castroville [Texas] during the BP Invitational, the team's only loss in 13 games in Alaska.

Zachary Bohrer, Charlie Bucolo and Jack Straub drove in runs. Bohrer also swpited a pair of bags.

The game was 2-2 in the fourth inning when Chugiak plated the next four runs to take control.

The Valley's Matthew Palmer, Blake Marks and Dalton McHugill collected RBIs.

STATE TOURNAMENT

Wednesday At Mulcahy Stadium

[6] Kenai 4, [7] Fairbanks (11) 2 - elimination game

[4] Dimond 16, [8] Fairbanks (30) 5 - elimination game

[2] Juneau 8, [3] South 0 - winner's bracket

[1] Chugiak 7, [5] Valley 3 - winner's bracket

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Eagle River 5, Kodiak 3

Pete Kott pitched four innings of scoreless relief as No. 12 Eagle River rallied past No. 10 Kodiak to avoid elinimation.

The Wolves scored three unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit.

Kott also collected two base hits and scored twice. Brendan Miles drove in his team's lone RBI.

Sam Bennett and Jakob Arnold each went 2-for-5 for Kodiak, which was kocked out of the tournament.

Service 11, East 7

Ronan Klancher tripled and finished with two hits and three RBIs as No. 9 Service defeated No. 14 East in a winner's bracket game.

Cobey Cupp and Luke Giffin each had RBIs while Jake Wasson, Jaren Childs and Daltin Johson also drove in runs.

Service led 6-1 before East roared back to tie the game 7-7 in the seventh inning.

Balas Buckmaster and Yerarmy Valdez-Aristy had had two hits including a double. They each scored twice and stole a base. Buckmaster also had two RBIs.

East's Ryan Solberg pitched 7.2 innings of relief, limiting Service to three earned runs.

Ketchikan 13, West 5

Jack Carson was the man, throwing seven strong innings and getting three hits with an RBI at the plate to lead No. 11 Ketchikan over No. 13 West in the winner's bracket.

Carson worked around six walks to earn the win.

Five Ketchikan players had two or more hits. Luke Jones had two hits, two RBIs and three stolen bases.

West's Sean Smith doubled and drove in two runs.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Wednesday At Bartlett High School

[12] Eagle River 5, [10] Kodiak 3 - elimination game

[9] Service 11, [14] East 7 - winner's bracket

[11] Ketchikan 13, [13] West 5 - winner's bracket

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Day 1 recap of State Tournament, Matson Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 28, 2015

STATE TOURNAMENT

GM1: South 4, Kenai 3

Parker Johnson's RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed No. 3 South to be a walk-off winner over No. 6 Kenai.

Lian Lincoln scored the winning run and starting pitcher Tommy Koloski went the whole way.

Koloski gave up six hits, one walk and one earned run. The big boy struck out 10.

Kenai looked to be in control after building a 3-0 lead and then held a 3-2 advantage going into the ninth inning.

Twins starter Matthew Daugherty allowed just one hit over 6.2 innings of work.

GM2: Juneau 5, Fairbanks [11] 2

Nathan Klein outdueled Tyler Hill in a pitcher's battle as both guys went the distance in No. 2 Juneau's win over No. 7 Fairbanks 11.

Klein finished with a 3-hitter with 11 strikeouts. Only one run was earned, but he did walk a half dozen.

Hill gave up seven hits with six Ks in an eight-inning CG.

JR Markovich, Finn Collins, Alex Swofford Klein all finished with RBIs.

Stanley Skorulski went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Fairbanks.

GM3: Valley 3, Dimond 0

Dalton McHugill pitched a masterful 2-hit shutout as No. 5 Valley silenced No. 4 Dimond.

McHugill walked 5 and struck out 8 en route to a 116-pitch gem.

Buddy Dale went 3-for-5 as seven of nine Valley starters got base knocks. Dale, Blake Marks and McHugill had RBIs in a 10-hit attack.

Dimond's Noah Alexander and Joe Fitka produced Dimond's only hits, both singles.

GM4: Chugiak 6, Fairbanks [30] 0

 Top-seeded Chugiak showcased a little bit of everything en route to beating No. 8 Fairbanks 30 in the final game of the day.

The Mustangs had 15 hits behind Charlie Bucolo's 3-for-4 effort. Matthew Hess and Brady Lindberg each had two hits and two RBIs. Vander Lekites went 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs.

Blake Kutch and Sam Hanson combined on a 7-hit shutout. Kutch started and scattered five hits and three walks over seven innings of work. He fanned 8. Hanson went the final two for the save.

Fairbanks starter Terrell Ford threw seven innings and was the only player on his team with two hits.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

GM1: East 8, Bartlett 3

Stanley Nolberto and Ryan Solberg each finished with 2 RBIs as East's 12-hit attack led the No. 14 T-birds over the No. 15 Bears.

Laauli Tosi and Balas Buckmaster combined on a 2-hitter. Tosi started and went the first 5.1 before Buckmaster came in and collected a rare 3.1-inning save.

Logan Herman and Yerarmy Valdez-Aristy each drove in runs for East and Azzur Neely scored three times.

Bartlett's Alex Franklin had two RBIs, Dimitri Torres drove in a run and scored a run, and Eddy Cordero doubled for his team's only extra-base hit.

GM2: West 13, Kodiak 6

LJ Felix tripled and finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and four runs as the No. 13 Eagles upset No. 10 Kodiak.

Dillon Oberly pitched eight innings to earn the win and he collected a pair of hits with an RBI at the plate.

Sean Duffy, Joseph Quinn and Dyson Dammeyer each added two RBIs for West.

Kodiak's Giovanni Martinez, Louie Rocheleau and Trenton Foxworthy each drove in runs.

GM3: Ketchikan 4, Eagle River 3

Spencer Erickson wiggled out of some ninth inning trouble to save the win for starter Austin Erickson as No. 11 Ketchikan edged No. 12 Eagle River.

Ketchikan threw out a baserunner at home trying to score the tying run. It was the second out of the inning. But there were still runners at second and third when a flyout ended the threat.

Jackson Pool and Luke Jones each had RBIs and Spencer Erickson went 2-for-3 with a double and run.

Quincy Cooper pitched 5.2 innings and banged out two base hits. Lauren Frost scored twice and Christan Fredrick and Aaron Davis each drove in runs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Day 1 State Tournament

Tuesday At Mulcahy Stadium

[3] South 4, [6] Kenai 3

[2] Juneau 5, [7] Fairbanks 11  2

[5] Valley 3, [4] Dimond 0

[1] Chugiak 6, [8] Fairbanks 30 0

Day 1 Matson Invitational

Tuesday At Bartlett High School

[14] East 8, [15] Bartlett 3

[13] West 13, [10] Kodiak 6

[11] Ketchikan 4, [12] Eagle River 3

Legion AA postseason starts Tuesday w/ State, Matson

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 27, 2015

The road to the Northwest Regional begins Tuesday when the Alaska Legion Baseball State Tournament gets started at Mulcahy Stadium.

Day 1 State Tournament schedule:

9 AM [6] Kenai Post 20 vs. [3] South Post 4

12 PM [7] Fairbanks Post 11 vs. [2] Juneau Post 25

3:15 PM [5] Valley Post 35/15 vs. [4] Dimond Post 21

**6:30 PM [8] Fairbanks Post 30 vs. [1] Chugiak Post 33

**radio [93.7-FM]

The double-elimination tournament runs through Saturday’s championship game at 3 p.m., with an if-necessary game at 6:30.

Follow every pitch of the state tournament thanks to our live viewing and scoring links.

Watch live:

https://iframe.dacast.com/b/38132/c/70225

Live scoring:

http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

The ALB state champion will represent Alaska at the Northwest Regional, Aug. 5-9 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The second-place finisher at the ALB state tournament will also travel Outside, qualifying for the NWCART regional event, Aug. 7-11 in Logan, Utah.

State Champions Through the Years

10 – East Post 34 [1974, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1988, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006]

7 – Dimond Post 21 [1986, 1987, 1999, 2000 2002, 2010, 2011]

7 – Chugiak Post 33 [1989, 1994, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2008, 2013]

4 – Fairbanks Post 11 [1970, 1973, 1975, 1978]

3 – Kenai Post 20 [1991, 1995, 2012]

3 – South Post 4 [2007, 2009, 2014]

3 – West Post 1 [1967, 1968, 1977]

2 – Bartlett Post 29 [1972, 1981]

2 - Juneau Post 25 [1983, 1984]

2 – Service Post 28 [1991, 2001]

1 – Kodiak Post 17 [1985]

1 – Wasilla Post 35 [1990]

Matson Invitational

The second annual Matson Invitational begins Tuesday afternoon at Bartlett High School.

Day 1 Matson schedule:

11 a.m. [15] Bartlett Post 28 vs. [14] East Post 34

2:30 p.m. [10] Kodiak Post 17 vs. [13] West Post 1

6 p.m. [12] Eagle River vs. [11] Ketchikan Post 3

[9] Service bye

Follow the action with live scoring:

 http://iscorecentral.com/7FE5D32A05

 The Matson Invitational winner will play the third-place finisher from the state tournament on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. for Alaska’s third regional berth. The winner of that game will also qualify for the NWCART.

Anchorage hosted the NWCART last season at Mulcahy Stadium.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Legion A Invitational starts Thursday, title game Sunday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 26, 2015

Gm 1 Thursday  6pm  9 Eagle River vs 8 Service at Polar

 Gm 2  Friday     4pm   7 Fairbanks 11 v 2 Dimond at K-4

Gm 3  Friday     4pm   6 Fairbanks 30 v 3 Kenai  at  K-3

Gm 4  Friday      7pm   5 Chugiak vs. 4 South-Black at K-3

Gm 5  Friday     7pm   Gm #1 winner vs. 1 South-Gold at K4

 Gm 6  Saturday    11am  winner gm 2 vs winner gm 3 at K-3

Gm 7  Saturday    11am  winner gm 5 vs winner gm 4 at K-4

Gm 8  Saturday    11am    loser of Gm #1 vs loser gm 4 at  K-1 **

Gm 9  Saturday    11am  loser of Gm #2  vs loser gm  3 at K-2  **

** will be made up at 2pm on K-3 and K-4 if rained out. 

 Gm 10  Sunday    12noon   Loser Gm #5 vs winner of gm #9  Polar

Gm  11 Sunday    12noon   3rd place  Loser Game 6 vs Loser Gm 7  Bartlett

Gm 12 Sunday  3pm   Championship Game Bartlett

Way earns 6th save for Bellingham in West Coast action

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 25, 2015

After experiencing his first rough outing of the season, Brian Way of Sitka jumped right back in harm’s way and came away unscathed. 

The 20-year-old relief pitcher tossed a perfect ninth inning and collected his sixth save as the Bellingham Bells beat Victoria 2-0 in West Coast League action.

Way lowered his ERA to 1.42 over 15 appearances.

The 6-foot-7, 270-pound right hander was coming off his worst performance of the season against the same Victoria team. He gave up three runs in 1.1 innings of work.

It was only the second time in 15 games that gave up a run.

Way, of Sitka High fame, has a 4-0 record with 20 strikeouts in 20 innings.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Spink back on track after tough start with Lincoln Saltdogs

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 16, 2015

His season didn’t start well, but Eagle River’s Conor Spink is doing everything he can to get it back on track.

The 27-year-old left-handed relief pitcher with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association professional independent league is currently enjoying one of the best stretches of his four-year career.

Spink will carry a 9-inning scoreless streak into his next appearance.

That might not sound like much, but you have to consider he pitches no more than two innings a game and bounced back from the kind of sorry start that forces an early retirement.

Take a closer look at his turnaround that makes Spink a candidate for the league’s comeback player award.

First 9 games: 6.92 ERA

Next 17 games: 2.63 ERA

Spink, of Chugiak High fame, went from the doghouse to the penthouse in a matter of weeks. He’s back to his eighth inning role and picked up a save in last night’s 5-2 win over the Grand Prairie AirHogs.

Spink is one of only two Alaskans currently playing professional baseball and is one of seven Alaskans to pitch in more than 100 pro games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Castroville [TX] beats Dimond for title in BP Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 12, 2015

Castroville [TX] 10, Dimond 0

They ran the bases like wild horses so it was fitting the Castroville [TX] Post 460 Cannons won the triple crown in this year's Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

The Texas team won tournaments in Wasilla and Kenai before claiming the championship in the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

Castroville ran away from Dimond Post 21 for a 10-0 victory in just five innings, capping a 12-1 trip to The Last Frontier.

Starter Isaac Lugo tossed a 4-hitter with 5 Ks in the title tilt, handing Dimond its first loss in five games during BP.

Castroville benefited from sloppiness early and straight skills late.

In the first inning, the Cannons loaded the bases and then took a 3-0 lead after the Dimond right fielder misplayed a fly ball that cleared the bases.

In the second inning, speedster Wesley Moss practically walked home from third base after a delayed steal with Ethan Valdez at first base in which the Dimond pitcher never looked his way.

Moss and Valdez put pressure on opponents all weekend.

Moss won the BP Big Stick award after hitting .615 [8-for-13] with two doubles and 6 RBIs. He also stole six bases and scored eight times.

Valdez, a dynamic shortstop, earned BP MVP honors after proving to be the biggest game changer. In addition to his glove love, Valdez hit .533 [8-for-15] with a home run, two doubles and 7 RBIs.

Castroville put the game away with a six-run fifth inning, ending on a Moss sacrifice fly.

Dimond was led all tournament by Joe Fitka, who was a finalist for the MVP award.

At the plate he had a homer, two triples and 12 total bases in five games.

But he made the biggest difference on the mound. He was named the BP Top Pitcher after going 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA, beating Napoleon [OH] and Team Avenue Academy [CA].

Dimond shortstop Preston Micheletto won the BP Gold Glove award with a .950 fielding percentage and an unassisted double play.

Dimond 6, Napoleon [OH] 3

Dimond was the last team from Alaska to win the BP Invitational, and Dimond will have another shot tonight at 7:30 p.m at Mulcahy Stadium.

Dimond moved into the title game with a 6-3 victory over Napoleon [OH] in the semifinals. It was the second victory over an Outside team for Post 21 during the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

Joe Fitka's three-run triple triggered a four-run first inning that gave Dimond all the momentum it needed.

Napoleon - the 2013 BP champion - pulled within 5-2 in the fifth inning and 6-3 in the sixth inning.

Castroville [TX] 11, Team Avenue Acaedemy [CA] 4

A six-run sixth inning carried the Cannons into the championship game of the 21st annual BP Invitational.

With the game tied at 3-3, Castroville broke open the game with an offensive outburst.

Trestan Pool, Frank Bosmans and Heath Clary each had two RBIs. Jaren Gamez scores three runs.

Castroville is 11-1 in Alaska entering tonight's 7:30 p.m. title game against the winner of the second semifinal between Dimond and Napoleon [OH].

Team Avenue's Pedro Almaguer drove in two runs and Pierre Martinez and Trevor Wever each had one RBI.

Castroville starter Isaiah Limon went all seven innings.

Chugiak 8, South 3

In the game between No. 3 seeds, Chugiak broke things open with a six-run third inning.

Zach Brueggemann, Brandy Lindberg, Matthew Hess and Brandon Neal each had 2 RBIs.

Vander Lekites scored three times and stole two bases.

Each team managed just five hits.

Jonny Homza and Parker Johnson drove in runs for South.

Chugiak won three of four games at this year's BP Invitational, but was victimized of a tiebreaker that denied them a spot in the semifinals.

Service 10, Eagle River 5

Jaren Childs and Daltin Johnson had two RBIs apience as Service picked up its first win in the BP between No. 4 seeds.

Raleigh Pigg and Nick Hall doubled, and Daren Tatum stole two bases.

Eagle River's Cody Keith had a pair of RBIs, Pete Kott had a pair of hits and Quincy Cooper had a pair of stolen bases.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak hands Castroville first loss on Day 3 on BP Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 11, 2015

Castroville [TX] 10, Napoleon [OH] 3

Ethan Valdez's three-run homer keyed an 11-hit attack as the Cannons remained unbeaten in Alaska.

Valdez, Frank Bosmans, Robert Lopez and Trestan Pool each had two hits. Seven of nine starters got at least one base hit.

The Texas team is 10-0 during the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

Eddie Gomez and Heath Clary combined on a 5-hitter.

Napoleon's Nate Rau, Jimmy Bauer and Brevin Renollet drove in runs for the River Bandits.

Napoleon [OH] 11, Eagle River 1

River Bandits starter Michael Hendricks pitched a 5-inning no-hitter with four walks.

Hendricks allowed an unearned run in the first inning after Quincy Cooper reached on an error and later scored on a passed ball.

He stuck out 6.

Micheal Gilliland went 3-for-3 and Cody Caudill finished with three RBIs.

Napoleon is 7-3 in Alaska this summer.

Dimond 12, Service 7

Joe Fitka blasted a home run to left field with a wood bat and finished with 4 RBIs as Dimond remained undefeated during the tournament.

Fitka finished 2-for-3. Noah Alexander was 3-for-3 and Jake Andresen as 3-for-4. Alexander also drove in three runs.

Nick Hall, Hunter Johnson and Daltin Johnson each had RBIs for Service.

Dimond led 7-0 before Service battled back for six runs in the top of the third. 

Chugiak 8, Castroville [TX] 7

Jakub Kindred's two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed the Mustangs to hand the Texas team its first loss in Alaska.

In a 6-6 game, Kindred delivered a two-out base hit to scored Brandon Neal and Alex Hess.

Jimmy Lanier started and pitched into the fifth inning before Zach Brueggemann replaced him.

Kindred, Brueggemann and Hess each finished two hits.

Rico Trevino, Wesley Moss, Ethan Valdez and Noe Garza had two hits for Castroville.

The loss dropped Texas to 10-1 during this 2015 road trip to The Last Frontier.

Chugiak was the third Alaska team to beat an Outside team this summer, joining Dimond and the Valley.

Team Avenue Academy [CA] 7, South 3

Jose Castruita struck out seven over seven innings and Preston Scott and Jullian Vasquez collected two RBIs as the Aces advanced to the semifinals.

Castruita allowed only one run over the final six innings.

With the team tied at 2-2, Team Avenue exploded for five runs in the fifth inning to put the game away.

South's Lian Lincoln, Jonny Homza and Hunter Johnson drove in runs.

Live scoring

Follow every pitch of the 21st annual BP Invitational:

Link: http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

Get updates and schedules at www.alaskalegion.com.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Martin Ks 11 as Ohio snaps Chugiak 16-game win streak

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 10, 2015

Team Avenue [CA] 6, Service 1

Jonathan Sloan pitched a 5-hitter with his arm and drove in a run with his bat.

Sloan stuck out seven and threw six shutout innings after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning.

Pierre Martinez had two hits and two RBIs, and Trevor Wever had an RBI for Team Avenue Academy.

Service's Nick Hall and Hunter Johnson each colleced two hits, and Johnson drove in his team's lone run.

South 4, Service 3

Austin Weller scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to deliver a walk-off win.

Weller walked, moved to second on a sac bunt and went to third on a single before scoring the winning run.

Tommy Koloski and Max Costello each drove in runs for South.

Service trailed 3-0 all game before tying the run in the top of the seventh, thanks to a three-run triple from Raleigh Pigg.

Napoleon [OH] 7, Chugiak 2

Bailey Martin fanned 11 and was masterful over his seven innings of work on the mound, snapping Chugiak's 16-game winning streak.

He allowed only two hits and a pair of unearned runs in the first inning. He yielded only one hit after the first inning.

Tyler Weaver and Brice Rankin each had two RBIs and Nate Rau and Jimmy Bauer each had one.

Weaver, Rau and Rankin also banged out the games only extra-base hits.

Napoleon is now 7-2 in Alaska this summer.

Castroville [TX] 14, Eagle River 3

Wesley Moss didn't start the game, but he ended up making the biggest difference.

The speedy outfielder went 4-for-4 and had 4 RBIs and scored three times. He headlined a 12-hit attack as the Cannons improved to 9-0 on their Alaska road trip.

Trestan Pool, Robert Lopez, Frank Bosmans, Heath Clary, Ethan Valdez and Noe Garza each drove in a run.

Each team had a player [Valdez, Pete Kott] who stole home outright.

Eagle River's Caleb Garcia tripled and scored.

Dimond 10, Team Avenue Academy [CA] 6

Kyle Bremont and Stephen Jacobs each drove in two runs as Dimond clinched a semifinal spot.

Jacobs doubled, giving him three in two games. Preston Micheletto, Noah Alexander and Jacobs collected two hits apiece.

Dimond pitchers Joe Fitka, Billy Orth and Lucas Thorp limited Team Avenue to six hits. The Aces started slowly but finished fast, scoring four runs in their final at-bat.

Nate mcGill had two hits and two RBIs for Team Avenue. Tyler Sovig drove in a run and Jullian Vasquez scored twice.

Dimond became just the second Alaska team to win a game against Outside competition during the 2015 Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour in Wasilla, Kenai and Anchorage.

Live scoring

Follow every pitch of the 21st annual BP Invitational:

Link: http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak no-hitter highlights Day 1 of BP Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 10, 2015

Chugiak 7, Eagle River 1

Jared Phearson, Brady Lindberg and Jimmy Lanier combined to throw a no-hitter over seven innings.

Phearson started and went the first 5 innings before the other two cleaned up with an inning apiece.

Alex Hess drove in three runs on a base hit and sacrifice fly. Matthew Hess had the other RBI.

Eagle River scored on an error in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead.

Dimond 9, South 1

Stephen Jacobs ripped two doubles and drove in two runs to highlight an 11-hit attack.

Kyle Bremont went 2-for-2 with four runs, two walks and an RBI.

Dimond starter Jake Andresen went the distance, scattering three hits and three walks over seven innings. He struck out 7.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Castroville [TX] tops Valley in extra innings to win Todd Ryan

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 5, 2015

Even though he lives in Texas, Castroville Post 460 Legion team manager Jerome Iltis owns property in the Mat-Su Valley.

It’s fitting because his baseball players treat McManus Field in Wasilla like their backyard.

Castroville has never lost in the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament after beating Valley Post 35/15 by a 3-2 score in extra innings tonight. The Texas team is now 8-0 all-time and has another title to go with its 2012 championship.

The Alaskans had more base hits and got a complete-game gem from starter Sam Loyer but let the game slip away in the top of the eighth inning after Wesley Moss scored the winning run from second base after the Valley failed to turn an inning-ending double play.

“The runner was stealing and never broke stride,” Valley coach Gary Skan told me.

The game was back and forth the whole way. Logan Sanders gave the Valley a 2-0 lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the second inning. Ethan Valdez drove in two to tie it in the top of the fourth inning.

“Today’s game is the best game I've been a part of in years,” Skan said. “Both teams had chances; both teams left the based loaded in back-to-back innings. Defense and pitching won the game for Texas.” 

Isaac Lugo pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win for Castroville.

The Napoleon Post 300 River Bandits of Ohio went 3-1 and finished second in the tournament. They lost 10-5 on Day 3.

Napoleon and manager Randy Bachman were seeking the team’s third Todd Ryan Tournament title since 2011.

The third Outside team up here for the 2015 Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour is Team Avenue Academy of California. 

The Valley team went 2-2 over the holiday weekend, beating Team Avenue and Bartlett Post 29 while losing 7-4 to Ohio.

Overall, the Valley team played strong and represented Alaska well.

“This was a very fun tournament to be part off,” Skan said. “I think our team has definitely earned the respect of all three out of state teams. I can't say enough about all the fans that came out and supported us. What a game; wow, is all I can say and very proud of this team for battling every pitch.”

The third leg of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour begins Tuesday with the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai. After that the tournament series wraps up with the granddaddy of them all, the 21st annual BP Invitational this weekend at Mulcahy Stadium.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Henie, Bonck headline USA Today All-Alaska Team

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 2, 2015

USA Today and American Family Insurance teamed up to come up with all-state high school baseball teams for all 50 states.

In Alaska, Doug Henie of the Chugiak Mustangs won Coach of the Year honors and Player of the Year honors went to Nathan Bonck of the Ketchikan Kings.

Henie led Chugiak to its first high school baseball state championship and a 15-4 record while Bonck led the state with 7 home runs and 39 RBIs in 24 games while going 5-0 with a 1.72 as a pitcher.

For the complete list of all-state teams, go to: http://usatodayhss.com/2015/2014-15-american-family-insurance-all-usa-state-baseball-teams

USA Today/American Family Insurance

All-USA Alaska Baseball Team

COACH OF THE YEAR

Doug Henie, Chugiak

Henie guided Chugiak to a 15-4 record and the school’s first state championship. The Mustangs shut out two of their three opponents in the state tournament, including a 5-0 victory against South Anchorage for the title. Henie has been with the team since 2004.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Nathan Bonck, INF/P, Ketchikan, 6-5/195, Jr.

The slugging first baseman hit .507 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 24 games for the Southeast Conference champions. On the mound, the hard-throwing lefty had a 5-0 record, a 1.72 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. He was also named the Gatorade state player of the year. He has committed to Seattle University.

FIRST TEAM

Nathan Bonck, INF/P, Ketchikan 6-5/195, Jr.

Sam Hanson, P, Chugiak, 6-1/195, Sr.

Nathan Klein, P, Juneau-Douglas, 6-2/190, Sr.

Nolan Monaghan, P, Wasilla, 6-0/160, Jr.

Julito Fazzini, C, South Anchorage, 5-10/205, Jr.

Lucas Thorp, INF, Dimond (Anchorage), 5-11/180, Sr.

Jonny Homza, INF, South Anchorage, 5-11/160, So.

Willy Homza, INF, South Anchorage, 6-0/185, Sr.

Zach Brueggemann, OF, Chugiak, 5-8/165, Sr.

Sam Loyer, OF, Wasilla, 5-9/120, Sr.

Logan Sanders, OF, Colony (Palmer), 5-9/155, Sr.

SECOND TEAM

Jakob Arnold, P, Kodiak, 6-2/180, Sr.

Tyler Christmann, P, West Valley (Fairbanks), 6-0/175, Sr.

Casey Hendricks, P, Ketchikan, 5-11/160, Sr.

Logan Williams, C, Bartlett (Anchorage), 5-9/220, Sr.

Matt Palmer, INF, Colony (Palmer), 6-0/185, Sr.

Raleigh Pigg, INF, Service (Anchorage), 6-2/170, So.

Buddy Dale, INF, Wasilla, 5-9, 180, Sr.

Ben Hall, INF, Lathrop (Fairbanks), 5-7/150, Sr.

Frank Carlson, OF, Kodiak, 6-2/170, Sr.

Chris Carter, OF, Lathrop (Fairbanks), 5-8/200, Sr.

Parker Johnson, OF, South (Anchorage), 6-0/165, So.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Spink surpasses 100 career games, wins twice in 10 days

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 24, 2015

Life is pretty unpredictable as a relief pitcher in baseball.

Take Eagle River’s Conor Spink for example.

The left hander earned six winning decisions in 105 previous professional games stretching four years with the Lincoln Saltdogs.

Then he won two games in 10 days.

The 27-year-old has appeared in 15 games this season and has a 2-3 record and 4.80 ERA.

He has pitched a clean sheet nine times.

Spink, of Eagle River fame, has struck out 107 career batters in the American Association independent league.

He is one of only seven Alaskans to pitch in more than 100 pro games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Life is pretty unpredictable as a relief pitcher in baseball.

Take Eagle River’s Conor Spink for example.

The left hander earned six winning decisions in 105 previous professional games stretching four years with the Lincoln Saltdogs.

Then he won two games in 10 days.

The 27-year-old has appeared in 15 games this season and has a 2-3 record and 4.80 ERA.

He has pitched a clean sheet nine times.

Spink, of Eagle River fame, has struck out 107 career batters in the American Association independent league.

He is one of only seven Alaskans to pitch in more than 100 pro games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Way continues to close the door for Bellingham Bells

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 19, 2015

They say getting the final out is the hardest, but Brian Way of Sitka is making it look easy.

The 19-year-old is 3-for-3 in save situations for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League.

The 6-foot-7 right hander hasn’t allowed an earned run in 5 innings and the Bells are 4-0 on days he pitches.

Including his freshman season at Edmonds CC, Way’s team is 17-2 when he pitches.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Arnold to pitch for NCAA D2 Flagler College in Florida

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 17, 2015

Kodiak baseball player Jakob Arnold had a checklist when it came to finding the perfect college.

He wanted to be near family, but get out of Alaska.

He wanted to play for a competitive program.

And he wanted to pitch in warm weather.

Arnold, 18, got all three wishes at Flagler College, an NCAA D2 school in St. Augustine, Florida.

“It seemed like the perfect fit,” he told me.

The Kodiak pitching ace was one of the top arms in Alaska high school baseball this season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right hander threw a no-hitter against Houston and went all 7 innings in four of six starts.

His only loss of the season came at the state tournament against eventual champion Chugiak.

Arnold, of Kodiak High fame, carved up batters with a 0.92 ERA in 30.2 innings. His 41-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio is lights out.

He was named first team all-conference and second team all-state this year as a senior.

“It’ll be awesome to face some really good hitters at a higher level,” Arnold said. “I think the competition will make me a lot better.”

Arnold found out about Flagler through his older brother and he sent the coach a video with some of his highlights. He sent out probably 15 to 20 videos, he said, and received interest from a handful of schools. A couple even offered him a spot.

“Being in Kodiak, it’s really hard to get out and show people so it’s all do-it-yourself basically,” he said. “If you want play it’s on you to do all the work.”

Flagler invited him to an open tryout, where Arnold did enough to earn a roster spot and partial scholarship.

“I had a ton of adrenaline and it made me throw harder than I’ve ever thrown,” he said. “Being nervous honestly helped a lot.”

He normally throws his fastball in the 83 mph range. In Florida he hit 87 on the radar gun a couple times.

“They liked my size and velocity but said I need to work on secondary pitches,” Arnold said. “As I get there they are going to see if I am ready as a freshman or if I need to redshirt my first year.” 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak baseball bookends state tourney with shutouts, wins title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 6, 2015

Using the oldest recipe in baseball, the Chugiak Mustangs mixed brilliant pitching and perfect defense to create a masterpiece that allowed them to eat up the competition.

Jimmy Lanier pitched his team’s second shutout in three days with a 3-hitter in Saturday’s championship game to highlight a 5-0 victory over South Anchorage in the ASAA state baseball tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Chugiak outscored opponents 26-5 in the tournament and in the title game dominated a South squad that has built a reputation as a perennial powerhouse with three straight appearances in the state championship game. 

“It was our year,” Zach Brueggemann told me. “This is a team of destiny. We’re the hardest-working team out there. It’s so nice to have it pay off in the end.”

Lanier carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before South leadoff hitter Lian Lincoln broke it up with a single. The senior pitcher struck out two and walked three, including the first two batters of the game.

Lanier is a notoriously slow starter and he found immediate trouble in the first inning after issuing base on balls to Lincoln and Jonny Homza. That brought up CIC Co-MVP Willy Homza, who ripped the ball to right field. The laser liner initially gave Brueggemann trouble before he made a diving catch.

“I was just so happy I caught the ball because it was a shot off the bat,” Brueggemann said. “I didn’t want to get burned so I was kind of hesitant and I made that catch look a lot harder than it was.”

Lanier was lights out the rest of the way.

“You gotta let him settle in,” Chugiak head coach Doug Henie told me. “Once he gets through that first inning he goes after people.”

Chugiak [15-4] scored four runs in the third inning with multiple players doing their job, whether it was a base hit, a sacrifice bunt or stolen base.

Charlie Bucolo’s RBI single scored Jake Kindred for the first run. Then Sam Hanson singled and Brueggemann walked to load the bases. A wild pitch scored one run and an overthrow to third base by pitcher Parker Johnson allowed another run to score. A run-scoring double by Matthew Hess made it 4-0.

Two innings later, Zach Bohrer lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Bucolo and make it 5-0. 

Chugiak won all three games against South this year. 

The third victory was the most important, giving the Mustangs their first state championship in high school baseball. They made the finals in 2004 and 2009 – and the Chugiak Post 33 team has won 7 American Legion state titles – but this was the first title for a proud program steeped in tradition.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Henie, who has been on the Chugiak coaching staff since 2004 and was part of the team’s 2008 and 2011 Legion titles. “I don’t know if it’s set in yet.”

Chugiak all week made it clear it was the most complete team. 

The Mustangs pitched two shutouts [Lanier, Hanson], compiled a tournament-high 19 stolen bases, batted .284 as a team and did not commit an error in 21 innings.

“We’re always talking about playing clean baseball, doing what you can do, don’t try to do too much, and we got decent speed throughout the lineup,” Henie said. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year.”

TOURNAMENT NOTES

^ South is now 12-3 in the state tournament since 2011.

^ The Cook Inlet Conference and Southeast Conference have won every state title since 2007, alternating from year to year with the CIC winning in old years and Southeast in even years.

^ Juneau-Douglas assistant coach Chad Bentz is one of only three Alaskans to play Major League Baseball. The left-handed pitcher played for the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins. He played in 40 MLB games, the most by an Alaskan, and has our state’s only base hit.

^ All-tournament team: Nolan Monaghan, Wasilla; Sam Hanson, Chugiak; Grant Ainsworth, Juneau-Douglas; Willy Homza, South; Charlie Bucolo, Chugiak; Zach Brueggemann, Chugiak; Nathan Klein, Juneau Douglas; Sam Loyer, Wasilla; Nathan Bonck, Ketchikan; Frank Carlson, Kodiak; Jonny Homza, South Anchorage; Tyler Christmann, West Valley.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak, South cruise to semifinal wins on Day 2 of state

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 6, 2015

The hitting bug remained highly contagious for the Chugiak Mustangs on Friday night. 

The Cook Inlet Conference champions banged out 11 hits and scored runs in six of seven innings in a 14-5 victory over West Valley in the semifinals of the ASAA state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Mustangs have produced 21 runs, 17 stolen bases and 19 hits in the last two days. 

“Our bats are coming through and it’s been nice,” Chugiak senior Zach Brueggemann told me.

The all-conference outfielder went 4-for-4 and tripled for his second extra-base hit in two games. Sam Hanson got two hits for the second consecutive night. Five others got one hit.

“Every guy on this team can hit,” Zach Bohrer told me. “It’s nice when everyone has their bats going like we did today.”

Chugiak [14-4] advanced to Saturday afternoon’s state title game against 2013 state champion South Anchorage, an 8-3 winner over Juneau-Douglas in Friday’s early semifinal.

South moved into the state championship game for the third straight year. Chugiak hasn’t been this far since 2009.

The Mustangs ran wild on the base paths against West Valley, stealing 11 bags. Vander Lekites [4] and Brueggemann [3] combined for more than half.

“We have a very fast team, so it makes it a lot easier and it puts pressure on the other team’s defense,” Brueggemann said. “We’re definitely stealing more bases than we have all season.”

Brueggemann was a terror all night – 4 hits, 3 stolen bases, 3 RBIs and 3 runs.

“I was just seeing it really well. It was nice,” he said with a laugh. “No extra motivation, we took it like a regular game.”

Chugiak led 3-2 before tacking on runs in five straight innings to bury the shorthanded Wolfpack, which upset Ketchikan on Day 1 and brought only 10 players from Fairbanks.

“We have a lot of depth on our team,” Bohrer said. “A lot of guys are on right now and it’s really nice. I haven’t been hitting the ball well recently but pretty much the whole team has been hitting at state and understanding how big these games are.”

SOUTH 8, JUNEAU 3

The Homza brothers make up the best middle infield in the state. Shortstop Willy and second baseman Jonny are quick on their feet and get rid of the ball quickly.

They also have quick bats.

Jonny and Willy drilled back-to-back triples in the first inning to ignite a quick start that carried the Wolverines.

“We always try to get back-to-back hits,” Willy told me. “Mine was more opposite field, I think; I wasn’t watching. I just was hoping it would drop. I thought the center fielder had a beat on both of them, but luckily they dropped in.”

The Homza Bros. combined to go 5-for-7 with 3 RBIs and 5 runs.

South [15-3] scored three runs in the first, two in the third, two more in the fifth and another in the sixth.

“That early start, that was huge,” Willy said. “We’ve had trouble getting going in the first few innings, but today we got it going right away. That was helpful.”

Starter Alex Schlegel scattered seven hits and three walks over six innings to collect to 2-0 on the season. He carried a shutout into the sixth inning.

South started the state tournament without giving up a run for 12 consecutive innings – seven by Tommy Koloski and five by Schlegel.

“Tommy threw a good game yesterday and Schle just kept it going,” Willy said. “Schle pitches to contact a little more and that was nice getting a lot of good plays in the field, lots of grounders.”

South is solid around the horn, but especially up the middle.

“Anytime there’s a ground ball up the middle, it’s a good thing for us; you have to hit it pretty good to get it by them. They are really quick laterally,” South head coach Taylor Nerland told me. 

They have an unspoken language on the field like they’ve played together their whole loves. Oh yeah, they have.

“This is my last year with him I like being in there,” Willy said. “I always know where he’s going to be and he knows where I’m going to be. It’s pretty sweet.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

West Valley stuns Southeast champ on Day 1 of state tourney

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 4, 2015

Mark Wade has never been so happy to lose a bet.

The West Valley baseball coach from Fairbanks challenged his players before Thursday’s opening round of the ASAA state tournament against Southeast Conference champion Ketchikan.

He bet them they couldn’t win to spark their competitive spirit. Call him crazy, but it worked.

West Valley won 4-0 at Mulcahy Stadium to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2011.

“I kept asking them after every half inning, ‘Can you play with these guys?’” Wade told me. “And their answer was, ‘We can beat them.’”

Tyler Christmann pitched a 7-hit shutout and Connor Soden, Trenton Woods and Blake Swarthout each had RBIs to make sure the Wolfpack dined out on the town Thursday night.

“I promised the kids,” Wade said. “I don’t have to pay up very often, but I’m taking them to the steakhouse tonight.”

Christmann deserved filet mignon.

“A whole cow,” cracked Wade.

The senior pitcher was sensational, striking out six batters and shutting down a Ketchikan team that came into state with a tournament-high 18 victories and Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Nathan Bonck [1-for-3, double].

“When he’s on the mound my team takes on a different persona,” Wade said. “Those kids get out there and believe they can beat anybody.”

SOUTH 1, WASILLA 0

Tommy Koloski fired a 3-hit shutout, Lian Lincoln drove in the game’s only run and the Wolverines marched into the final four for the third consecutive year.

But, really, this game came down to one play.

Nolan Monaghan was thrown out at home after a broken squeeze play in the bottom of the seventh inning. Monaghan had a terrific game, pitching a 5-hitter and leading off the seventh with a double; it was the game’s only extra-base hit.

He was sacrificed to third base after a bunt and then was tagged out at the plate by catcher Julito Fazzini after Koloski threw a high fastball.

“I saw him running, but I had already started my wind up and so I just rushed my second half to just get it down and over the plate,” Koloski told me. “I was just focused on getting it to where the hitter couldn’t touch it, so I just threw it high and it worked out for us.”

Koloski struck out seven and walked none. He threw only fastballs and sliders, he said. His command was spot on.

“I missed a few spots here and there, but mostly I was on point,” he said. “That’s the one thing I’ve been working on with pitching, getting on my target.”

Lincoln’s single in the fifth inning scored Matt Kley from second base.

JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 15, LATHROP 0

Freshman Michael Cesar continued to be big bat for the Crimson Bears, walking twice and driving in three runs, as they cruised past the Mid Alaska champions in the morning game.

Bryce Swofford had a nice day, going 2-for-3 with three runs and a pair of RBIs.

Juneau pitcher Nathan Klein allowed only three base runners over four innings of work. Reliever Jacob Thibodeau cleaned up the fifth and final inning.

The Crimson Bears broke the game open with a 7-run third inning.

For the game they managed 15 runs on five hits and 13 walks.

Lathrop’s James Kardash managed two of his team’s three hits.

CHUGIAK 7, KODIAK 0

After the first three games of the day ended with shutouts, the Cook Inlet Conference champions joined the party too.

Senior Sam Hanson remained undefeated on the season as he tossed a 2-hitter with four walks and four strikeouts in the nightcap. He is now 3-0.

Vander Lekites, Charlie Bucolo and Jake Kindred were the only players to each have at least one hit, one run and one RBI. 

Hanson also swung the ball well, going 2-for-4 with a double.

The Mustangs enjoyed a 4-0 edge in doubles and a 6-2 advantage in stolen bases. They also played error-free baseball.

Kodiak starter Jakob Arnold carried a shutout into the fifth inning.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Follow every pitch of the state tournament from wherever

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 4, 2015

Can't make the ASAA state baseball tournament? 

No worries, we've got you covered.

For live scoring go to: http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

ASAA releases opening round games of state tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 31, 2015

Here are opening round games for the 2015 ASAA State Baseball Tournament, which begins Thursday at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

10 AM MAC #1 Lathrop vs. SEC #2 Juneau-Douglas

1 PM SEC #1 Ketchikan vs. MAC #2 West Valley

4 PM SC #1 Wasilla vs. CIC #2 South Anchorage

7 PM CIC #1 Chugiak vs. SC #2 Kodiak

Looking back to 2014

Last year, Sitka held off South 11-10 in a three-hour slugfest at Moller Park in rainy Sitka in a state championship game that featured 18 hits, a grand slam and five lead changes. There was drama until the last pitch. Sitka reliever Erickson Fish struck out South’s Willy Homza and Spencer Floyd with the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh inning to seal the deal. It was the fourth state title for longtime Sitka coach Ed Conway, who retired after the game.

Past State Champions

2014 Sitka

2013 South Anchorage

2012 Juneau-Douglas

2011 South Anchorage

2010 Juneau-Douglas

2009 Dimond

2008 Juneau-Douglas

2007 Sitka

2006 Sitka

2005 Sitka

2004 Kodiak

2003 Juneau-Douglas

2002 Juneau-Douglas

2001 Service

2000 East Anchorage

Thorp, Homza share Don Rabung CIC MVP Award honors

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 29, 2015

Dimond’s Lucas Thorp and South’s Willy Homza were two-way terrors on the baseball field in the Cook Inlet Conference this season, so it made sense the league’s player-of-the-year award would be split two ways.

Thorp, a power-hitting third baseman and lights-out relief pitcher, and Homza, a clutch-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop, were both selected the 2015 Don Rabung CIC MVP Award in a vote by league coaches.

Thorp was Dimond’s closer and saw action in seven of the team’s 10 games, earning a 1-1 record, two saves and a 2.69 ERA in 13 innings.

He batted .414 with two home runs and nine RBIs. Both of his home runs were game winners, including a two-run shot in the 10th inning in a conference playoff pool game to beat conference champion Chugiak 5-3.

Homza was the best player for a South team going back to the state tournament. The Ivy League-bound infielder hit .518 in 10 games and flashed a .938 fielding percentage.

Half of his 14 hits went for extra bases. He also drove in 10 runs, stole 10 bags and scored 11 times.

Homza is headed to Brown University this fall.

Bartlett’s Logan Williams won the league’s Big Stick award. The senior slugger hit .500 with 12 RBIs and seven extra-base hits in nine games.

The league’s Gold Glove award was given to South catcher Julito Fazzini, who did not commit an error and threw out nine base runners and picked off four more.

Coaches could not vote for their own players and the number of team nominations was based on league wins during the 10-game regular season. All stats were provided by teams.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cook Inlet Conference

All-League Baseball Team

Don Rabung MVP Award

Co-winners

Lucas Thorp, Dimond, Sr., 1B/RP, .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG, 1-1, 2 saves, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP

Willy Homza, South, Sr., SS, .518 BA, 10 RBI, 7 XBH, .556 OBP, .938 FLD 

Big Stick

Logan Williams, Bartlett, Sr., C, .500 BA, 12 RBI, 7 XBH, .765 SLG

Gold Glove

Julito Fazzini, South, Jr., C, 1.000 FLD, 9 CS, 4 PO

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher

Zach Brueggemann, Chugiak, 2-0, 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 19 K

Joe Fitka, Dimond, 2-1, 2.25 ERA, 13.2 IP, 16 K

Sam Hanson, Chugiak, 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 15 IP 

Jonny Homza, South, 2-1, 1.88 ERA, 13 IP, 14 K

Relief Pitcher 

Alex Schlegel, South, 1-0, 5 GM, 12 IP, 16 K

Lucas Thorp, Dimond, 1-1, 2 saves, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP

Catcher

Julito Fazzini, South, .360 BA, 7 RBI, 1.000 FLD

First Baseman

Joe Fitka, Dimond, .310 BA, 2 HR, 4 RBI, .552 SLG

Second Baseman

Jonny Homza, South, .419 BA, 5 XBH, 8 RBI, 9 SB

Shortstop

Willy Homza, South, .518 BA, 10 RBI, 7 XBH, .556 OBP

Third Baseman

Lucas Thorp, Dimond, , .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG

Outfielder

Zach Brueggemann, Chugiak, .320 BA, 6 R, 4 RBI, .379 OBP

Lian Lincoln, South, .413 BA, 9 RBI, 10 SB, 0 K in 37 PA

Parker Johnson, South, .300, 7 RBI, 8 R

Designated Hitter

Matt Kley, South, .368 BA, 9 R, 6 RBI, .520 OBP

Tristen Woods, Service, .346 BA, 8 RBI, .500 OBP

Utility

Brendon Hayhurst, South, .400 BA, 6 RBI, 6 R, 4 SB

Kyle Henrickson, Dimond, .269, 1 3B, 5 RBI, .713 OPS

SECOND TEAM

Starting Pitcher

James Lanier, Chugiak

Josh Fetko, Service

Cody Curfman, Chugiak

Tommy Koloski, South

Jake Andresen, Dimond

Relief Pitcher

Billy Orth, Dimond

Matt Hess, Chugiak

Catcher

Logan Williams, Bartlett

First Baseman

Sam Hanson, Chugiak

Derek Scoggins, Service

Second Baseman

Charlie Bucolo, Chugiak

Shortstop

Raleigh Pigg, Service

Preston Micheletto, Dimond

Third Baseman

Zach Bohrer, Chugiak

Outfielder

Carl Gatter, East

Vander Lekites, Chugiak

Stephen Jacobs, Dimond

Utility

Jake Kindred, Chugiak

HONORABLE MENTION

Catcher

Josh Linn, Eagle River

Kyle Bremont, Dimond

Dyson Dammeyer, West

Jack Straub, Chugiak

First Baseman

Ryan Solberg, East

Ryan Dudley, Bartlett

Sean Duffy, West

Second Baseman

Cobey Cupp, Service

Shortstop

Alex Franklin, Bartlett

Third Baseman

Bryce Schwarz, South

Outfield

Quincy Cooper, Bartlett

Tony Hillman, Dimond

Utility

Matt Jarvis, East

Kody Keith, Eagle River

Ibesate caps big week, helps Jamestown extend win streak

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 25, 2015

Juneau’s Lance Ibesate had quite the week for the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.

The junior second baseman batted .476 [10-for-21] in six games and hit first college home run as the Jimmies pushed their win streak to 13 games.

Ibesate drove in 6 runs this week and now has 22 RBIs for the season.

He is hitting .383 in 40 games and is one of only four Jamestown players to hit for the cycle on the season.

Ibesate leads the team with 44 hits, 3 triples and 18 stolen bases. He is second with 36 runs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South-Gold secures No. 1 seed for CIC JV Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 24, 2015

The South-Gold junior varsity scored a perfect 10-0 record in the regular season to secure the No. 1 seed for the Cook Inlet Conference JV Invitational, which runs Wednesday through Saturday.

Dimond is the No. 2 seed at 9-1.

Chugiak and South-Black round out the top four, which all earned the right to be home team for Thursday's games.

The tournament will conclude Saturday at noon at Taylar Young Memorial Field.

JV Invitational Schedule

[Better seed is HOME TEAM]

GAME#    Field    Time     Teams

WEDNESDAY, MAY 27

GM1      BA       6:30 PM  [9] Bartlett vs. [8] East

THURSDAY, MAY 28

GM2      MS       6:30 PM  WG1 vs. [1] South-Gold

GM3      BA       6:30 PM  [7] West vs. [2] Dimond

GM4      OB       6:30 PM  [6] Eagle River vs. [3] Chugiak

GM5     TY        6:30 PM  [5] Service vs. [4] South-Black

FRIDAY, MAY 29

GM6      MS       6:30 PM  WG5 vs. WG2

GM7      K4       6:30 PM  WG4 vs. WG3

GM8      K3       6:30 PM  LG5 vs. LG2

GM9      K1       6:30 PM  LG4 vs. LG3

SATURDAY, MAY 30

TITLE    TY       12 PM    WG6 vs. WG7

BA [Bartlett High School] MS [Mulcahy Stadium] OB [Oberg Field] TY [Taylar Young] K [Kosinski Fields]

Thompson drives in 4 as Pacific Lutheran moves to 2-0 in NCAAs

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 14, 2015

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson stayed hot in the NCAA playoffs today as he banged out a double and 4 RBIs to lead Pacific Lutheran University to a 7-2 victory over Birmingham Southern on Day 2 of the NCAA D3 Tournament’s South Regional in Georgia.

One day after clubbing a solo home run, the former Dimond High star delivered a three-run double in the fifth inning to make it 6-0 and basically cement the team’s second postseason win in two days.

This one came over a 35-win Birmingham Southern team and kept the second-seeded Lutes undefeated in the double-elimination regional.

Thompson now has 39 RBIs in 41 games this season.

The all-league third baseman drove in his first run in the third inning on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-0 PLU. Then in the fifth he cleared the bases with a double.

PLU [32-12] will play again Friday at 3 p.m. ADT.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Brown, Thompson spark PLU to dramatic NCAA playoff win

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 13, 2015

The Pacific Lutheran University baseball team out of Washington won a huge playoff game today and Alaska’s fingerprints were all over it.

Anchorage’s Garrett Brown earned the win and Tyler Thompson hit a home run in a 9-6 win over Emory on opening day of the NCAA D3 Tournament South Regional in Georgia.

Brown, of Service High fame, threw 5.1 innings of one-run relief to keep his team in the game after the Lutes fell behind 5-3 in the third inning. He allowed just four hits and two walks. He struck out five and the run he allowed wasn’t even earned.

“He gave us a chance to win,” Thompson told me.

After Brown got the final out in the top of the third inning, Thompson came up in the bottom half and hit a home run that pulled PLU within 5-4.

“When Tyler hit his home run it pumped me up especially since I was pitching at the time,” Brown told me. “He’s been clutch all year.”

It was Thompson’s fifth homer of the season, which is the most among college players from Alaska this season.

But Brown was the story here.

The junior right-hander was a starter much of the season before getting moved to the bullpen for the NCAA playoffs. Rather than pout, he pounced on his opportunity, and shined bright when his team needed him most.

He pitched 5 scoreless innings before Emory – last year’s NCAA D3 runnerup –plated an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning.

“I just threw strikes and worked the ball to the outside of the plate. I threw majority all fastballs and was commanding both sides of the plate,” said Brown, who improved to 5-1 and lowered his ERA to 3.72 in 14 games.

“It felt amazing. I knew if I kept us close then we were gonna get some runs because we always come through late in games.”

And that’s exactly what happened. PLU rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eight to pull away, improving to 31-12 on the season and remain undefeated in the double-elimination tournament.

PLU plays again Thursday. First pitch is 3 p.m. ADT.

“We need to take care of business tomorrow then we will be sitting in great position into the weekend,” Brown said.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson, Brown, Miller to participate at Nationals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 12, 2015

This week is the start of the college baseball playoffs and we have three Alaskans taking part in national tournaments at NCAA D3 and NAIA.

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson and Garrett Brown helped Pacific Lutheran University of Washington earn its first postseason berth since 2007.

Meanwhile, Aaron Miller of Anchorage has Mayville State University of North Dakota back in the playoffs.

PLU earned the No. 2 seed in the South Region of the NCAA tournament and will travel to Georgia to begin play Wednesday in the six-team double-elimination tournament.

“This is huge for our program,” Thompson told me. “There’s been years in the past before I was here where the team thought they did enough to get in and didn’t, so it feels really good to finally get a shot at a regional tournament.”

There was no denying the Lutes, who have posted a 30-12 record and won the Northwest Conference regular-season championship.

But they had to wait for the NCAA to make the official announcement late Sunday night.

That’s not the case with Mayville State, which has known for a week it was bound for the NAIA tournament after winning the North Star Athletic Association tournament title. 

The Comets [39-20] are the No. 5 seed in the Bellevue bracket in Nebraska and will face Madonna University on Tuesday in the opening round.

“My first two years we made nationals by an at-large bid from rankings, but this year we made it by winning our conference and it is a sweeter feeling getting in by winning the conference tourney,” Miller told me.

Miller, of Service High fame, is batting .341 in 53 games this season. He leads Mayville State with 50 RBIs to go with 4 home runs, 13 doubles and 15 stolen bases.

“It feels great being a contributing part of this team’s success,” he said.

The junior outfielder is a major cog in an offensive hitting .319 as a team.

“I like our chances this year,” Miller said. “We have a senior-dominated team and a close group of guys that all believe we are going win this and make it to the World Series in Lewiston.”

At PLU, Thompson and Brown have also played a key role in helping the Lutes get back to the national stage.

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, is batting .305 in 39 games and ranks second on the team with 4 home runs, 34 RBIs and 29 runs.

“My mindset will be the same it’s been all year,” the junior third baseman said. “Don’t add any pressure. Just be myself and play my game.

“To me, I try to not make it any different than the regular season, but I know it won’t always be that way.”

Brown, of Service High fame, has started 8 of 13 games and is 4-1 with a 4.10 ERA. The junior right-hander has 56 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.

Look for all three Alaskans to continue playing well, even though the circumstances are much different. Now every play, every pitch and every at-bat matter more than ever.

“It’s do–or-die baseball,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be really fun to get out there and compete with my teammates.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chapman earns first college win as Alaskans duel in NWAC

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 10, 2015

Anchorage’s Dalton Chapman earned his first college at the expense of another Alaskan.

The freshman righty pitched two scoreless innings of relief as Everett Community College won 7-2 over first-place Edmonds Community College and previously unbeaten starter Brian Way of Sitka.

Chapman [1-2] lowered his ERA to 4.09 in 11 games, although he has pitched better than his numbers suggest.

The 6-foot-5 pitcher has a 2.45 ERA in the nine games he didn’t suffer a losing decision. He also has 22 strikeouts in 22 innings on the year.

Way has been sensational this year and Edmonds had been unbeatable in the 12 previous days he pitched before today.

The 6-foot-7 righty didn’t pitch poorly but suffered his first college loss after allowing 4 runs [two earned] over 5 innings.

Way is now 6-1 with a 1.43 ERA in 13 games. He’s only issued seven walks in 37.2 innings.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Rosenberg to play baseball, serve at Coast Guard Academy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 9, 2015

Just because his father was a Marine and his sisters are active duty Air Force didn’t mean Michael Rosenberg of Eagle River was destined for a military life.

Then again, that’s exactly what it means.

Rosenberg continued a family tradition after the 18-year-old signed his letter of acceptance of appointment and commitment to play baseball for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.

“I never felt any pressure as far as them wanting me to join. It’s just the way I was raised,” Rosenberg told me. “The honor of serving in the military, that’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.”

The senior all-star first baseman for the Eagle River Wolves won the Gold Glove defensive award in the Cook Inlet Conference last year when he led Eagle River to the ASAA state tournament for the first time in school history.

During the Legion season he was selected to the All-State Team of Excellence for the second straight year. Then he participated with the Alaska Baseball Academy in the Arizona Fall Classic, where he turned heads and held his own to validate his desire to play at the next level.

“It’s a dream come true to serve in military and get to play baseball,” he said. “I’ve been in contact with the baseball coach. Guys from all over the country are coming to this academy and it’s going to be tough because we have to go through Coast Guard basic training. We’re going to build that brotherhood I hear a lot of people talk about.”

Rosenberg is also a star in the classroom, where he carries a 4.12 GPA.

“My dad always told me to give 100 percent,” he said “Not only do I take that advice to school but I take it to the baseball field too. If I’m diving for a ball, if I give it 100 percent, I’m happy with myself. In terms of grades, coaches want players that are going to be responsible to be able keep playing. It shows responsibility."

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South-Gold takes early lead in Cook Inlet Conference JV

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 6, 2015

Cook Inlet Conference

JV Standings [through May 4]

Points  Team  Record

16 - South-Gold [4-0]

13 - Dimond [3-1]

11 - Service [2-1-1]

10 - Chugiak [2-2]

10 - Eagle River [2-2]

10 - East [2-2]

10 - South-Black [2-2]

05 - West [0-3-1]

04 - Bartlett [0-4]

Points - 4 Win, 2 Tie, 1 Loss, 0 Forfeit

Undefeated Way continues to be lucky charm for Edmonds

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 4, 2015

Sitka’s Brian Way was 4-0 as a reliever and now he’s undefeated after two starts.

And Edmonds Community College is 12-0 when he pitches.

There’s no doubt the 6-foot-7, 270-pound freshman has been a lucky charm, but there’s nothing lucky about what he’s done on the mound.

The right hander is 6-0 with a pair of saves and a 1.10 ERA in 12 games.

His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 23-6 in 32.2 innings.

“I just go out there and try to best the guy at the plate by any means, whether that’s coming out of the pen or starting,” Way told me. “I just do all I can to win us games.”

From the start, he showed no fear. He recorded a save in his second college appearance.

“Being raised playing Juneau and Ketchikan in very intense games since I was 11, I think it made me be able to handle the pressure that college baseball has brought to the game,” Way said. 

Edmonds has won 31 of 38 games in the NWAC and have captured the North Region pennant and secured a playoff berth.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Anderson wins, pitches into eighth inning for first time

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 3, 2015

Centralia College left-hander Austin Anderson of Anchorage picked up his third win in a 6-2 win over Green River during NWAC play in Washington.

The freshman pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in eight starts this season.

He threw 7.1 innings and allowed just three hits and a pair of walks. He struck out three.

Anderson, of East High fame, is 3-4 with a 5.51 ERA. Take away his last start, though, and his ERA is 3.53 since April 10.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Manzer collects career-high 3 RBIs with just one swing

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 3, 2015

Anchorage's Adam Manzer hit his third home run of the season and set a career-high with 3 RBIs for Sonoma State University in California.

He collected all his RBIs on one swing, a three-run shot in the third inning against Cal State Monterey Bay in NCAA D2 action.

The junior outfielder finished 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .289 in 24 games. This is his first season with Sonoma State.

Manzer, of West High fame, has driven in 11 runs this season, which ranks second among players with fewer than 100 at-bats.

He missed nearly half the season after suffering two hamstring injuries.

Manzer's 3 home runs is second Alaska college sluggers. Tyler Thompson of NCAA D3 Pacific Lutheran University and Aaron Miller of NAIA Mayville State each have hit 4 bombs this year.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Miller has career highs in power numbers across the board

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 2, 2015

Anchorage’s Aaron Miller was good in high school, but he’s become an even better player in college.

The junior left fielder has put it all together for Mayville State University in North Dakota, where he has a .353 batting average in 119 career games with the NAIA school.

“In high school I was a good player but never had the consistency that I have achieved in college,” he told me. “I’ve worked a lot on my mental game to get to that next level in my game, which is why I believe I have had the success I’ve had recently.”

Miller is hardly a one-hit wonder. This guy has been tearing the cover off the ball since he arrived at Mayville State.

But this year has been extra special for the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder as he has career highs in his power numbers across the board – home runs [4], doubles [11], RBIs [37] and slugging percentage [.500].

“The home runs just started coming,” he said. “I’ve always had the power. It just now is starting to translate to games.”

Miller, of Service High fame, is batting .342 in 48 games this year and has hit safely in 23 of the last 25 games. 

“My swing feels great right now I’ve been able to spray the ball to whole field,” he said.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bynum ties college career-high with 4 RBIs, now w/ 37 in 52G

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 1, 2015

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks hit his second career home run and finished with two hits and tied his career high with 4 RBIs as Arizona Western College beat South Mountain College 9-4.

The freshman outfielder lifted his batting average to .302 in 52 games. He played eight games as highs school senior.

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic fame, leads his team with 8 stolen bases while ranking second with 24 walks, 27 runs and 3 triples, and third with 37 RBIs.

Defensively, he told me he has improved his arm strength to make him a better all-around player.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Another outing, another money performance from Karnos

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 24, 2015

Western Nevada College again turned to Max Karnos of Anchorage out of the bullpen and again he delivered shutout relief.

The sophomore right-handed tossed four goose eggs and earned the winning decision as WNC beat College of Eastern Utah 3-0 in Nevada.

Karnos has been straight money this year.

The 6-foot-4 Alaskan improved to 5-4 and lowered his ERA to 1.81 in 74.1 innings.

Karnos, of South High fame, allowed just two hits and one walk while pitching to contact and trusting his defense to make the plays behind him. He struck out just one batter.

Whatever he’s doing it is working.

Karnos hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 12.1 innings over three appearances. 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Boyer flirts with no-no, settles for 1-hitter for Blue Mountain

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 23, 2015

A blooper was the only thing that denied Wasilla’s Jonathan Boyer a place among baseball royalty.

The freshman pitcher for Blue Mountain Community College in Washington flirted with a no-no before settling for a 1-hitter in a 13-0 win over Wenatchee Valley during NWAC action.

Boyer carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before he gave up a soft base hit with one out. The 6-foot-t right-hander faced only 24 batters en route to throwing his first college complete game.

“I got a lot of first-pitch outs that they were swinging at, putting into play and getting out,” Boyer told the East Oregonian.

Boyer started the season in the bullpen and this was just his second appearance where he pitched more than one inning.

He was on a pitch count due to an elbow injury, but that didn’t hold him back.

“The last couple of weeks it’s started to feel pretty good and I’ve just let coach put me to work.”

Boyer, of Colony High fame, improved to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.50 in 18 innings. He has allowed one run in the last month.

He hopes his pitching can make the difference down the stretch as Blue Mountain contends for NWAC playoff berth.

“It’s now or never and I think that’s how everyone is feeling about it,” he said. “If we want to have a chance, it’s time to start tightening up and going for it.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Games moved from Mulcahy to Kosinski fields; check schedule

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 22, 2015

The outfield grass at Mulcahy Stadium could use a couple extra days to dry, so high school baseball games have been moved next door to the Kosinski fields.

Here is revised field assignments:

Thursday at K4

4:30 PM Service vs. West NL

7 PM East vs. Chugiak NL

Thursday at K3

No games – field closed for maintenance

Friday at K4

4:30 PM Wasilla vs. East NL

7 PM Wasilla vs. Eagle River NL

Friday at K3

3 PM Lathrop vs. South [scrimmage]

6:30 PM Chugiak vs. Service JV

Saturday at K4

10 AM Dimond vs. Chugiak NL

1 PM Colony vs. South NL

4 PM Lathrop vs. Bartlett NL

7 PM Lathrop vs. Service NL

Saturday at K3

10 AM South-Black vs Eagle River JV

1 PM Bartlett vs Dim JV [game moved from Friday]

4 PM West vs South-Gold JV

7:15 PM East vs South-Combo JV

Anderson gets it done for Centralia as No. 2 starter

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 21, 2015

Austin Anderson of Anchorage didn't have his A-game, but the A-man still found a way to get Centralia College a win.

The freshman pitcher scattered 10 hits and 5 walks over 7 innings in an 11-2 win over Gray's Harbor in NWAC action in Washington.

Anderson, of East High fame, improved to 2-3 in seven appearances. He lowered his ERA to 4.71 in 34.1 innings.

Earlier this year the left-hander threw a 1-hit shutout to beat second-place Lane, 1-0.

Anderson is the No. 2 starter on the Centralia staff. He leads the team in innings and ranks second in wins, ERA and strikeouts.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Summoned from bullpen, Karnos throws 5 scoreless innings

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 19, 2015

A new wrinkle got Western Nevada College pitcher Max Karnos of Anchorage back in the win column.

Used as a reliever for the first time this season, the right-hander pitched five scoreless innings to earn his first winning decision in almost a month as the Wildcats beat Colorado Northwestern 6-1.

"Max did a nice job and was designated to come in in the third inning," WNC coach D.J. Whittemore told the school's website. "I was going to let him finish a game and not overuse him. He had his sinker going today and threw some groundballs."

Karnos improved to 4-4 and lowered his ERA to 1.91 in 12 games. He had pitched well enough to win over the last four weeks but fell victim of poor run support.

Not today, though. He entered a 1-1 game and almost immediately his team responded with a crooked number, scoring four runs in the fourth to take control.

Karnos, of South High fame, has been lights out all year.

He has allowed only 15 earned runs and 51 hits in 70.2 innings while sporting a 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson has 5 hits, 5 RBIs in big win for Pacific Lutheran

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 18, 2015

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson of Pacific Lutheran University had the game of his life in what has been the best season of his college baseball career.

The junior third baseman went 5-for-6 with 5 RBIs and 3 runs scores during a 22-2 victory over Lewis & Clark in the second game of today’s NCAA D3 doubleheader in Washington.

Thompson finished 6-for-11 and scored 6 times on the day.

He bumped his batting average to .339 and now has 31 RBIs in 31 games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Homza, Koloski hold their own against Outside competition

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 15, 2015

Each spring select local players travel with the Alaska Baseball Academy to Arizona to play exhibition games against minor league teams with the Langley Blaze out of Canada.

Anchorage’s Willy Homza and Tommy Koloski made the trip this year and both South Wolverines held their own, ABA manager Tony Wylie told me.

Homza, a senior who is headed to Brown University in the Ivy League, played nine games at shortstop. 

“Willy was able to collect a few hits against pitchers clocking between 91-95 mph on radar guns,” Wylie said.

Koloski, a junior, pitched in four games and faced hitters in pro organizations like the Reds, Padres and Royals. In his last appearance he threw two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts.

The exhibition games are viewed by dozens of college and professional scouts, Wylie said.

In years past certain Alaska players used the opportunity to catapult them to the next level. 

Two years ago it was Anchorage’s Max Karnos, who is now pitching for Western Nevada College and headed to NCAA D1 Sacramento State.

Last year Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks exploded on the scene and was picked in the 18th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by Cincinnati.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Miller extends 13-game hit streak, batting .515 in April

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 13, 2015

After a slow start, Aaron Miller of Anchorage has heated up for Mayville State in North Dakota.

The junior outfielder has a 13-game hitting streak going while bumping his batting average to .339 in 36 games for the NAIA school.

He’s hitting .515 [17-for-33] in April.

Miller, of Service High fame, hit his first home run Friday during the spring season and his second since Sept. 28.

The next game he went 4-for-6 and drove in two runs.

He has 13 RBIs in his last 10 games.

Miller is a.351 career hitter at Mayville State in 105 games.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Minimal run support continues to cost Karnos at WNC

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 11, 2015

Western Nevada College sophomore Max Karnos of Anchorage is pitching well enough to win.

But he’s getting no love from his offense.

Karnos suffered his second straight hard-luck loss in a 3-2 defeat to Salt Lake Community and it was the third consecutive one-run loss for the Wildcats when he starts.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander allowed just 3 hits and struck out 5 over 6 innings of work, an effort good enough to win on most days. 

WNC lost 2-1 in his previous two starts, a cruel fate for a guy with a 2.19 ERA in 11 starts this year.

Karnos, of South High fame, has a 3-4 record and a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He has given up 50 hits in 65.2 innings.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Short memory a tall order in baseball, but Thompson adapts

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 9, 2015

Don’t think, just hit.

Hitting a baseball is never that simple, but Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson is making it look easy.

The junior third baseman at Pacific Lutheran University is batting .317 in 26 games and ranks among the Northwest Conference leaders in extra-base hits and RBIs.

“It’s cool that everything is clicking this year,” he told me.

Compared to last year he added 106 points to his batting average and increased his slugging 63 percent. He has twice as many doubles and surpassed totals for hits, runs and RBIs.

Thompson is like a different player this year – so much so he should win newcomer of the year instead of comeback player.

He credits a short memory for his success. He doesn’t dwell on the good or the bad, choosing instead to focus on the present to combat complacency.

“I learned to relax, I guess,” he said. “This year I kind of just let myself go. I just go up there and hit. I’m not thinking too much. I’m not putting pressure on myself. I’m just playing my game.”

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, is a big reason PLU has won 20 of 28 games and has been nationally ranked among NCAA D3 teams. The Lutes are currently listed in the category of also receiving votes.

“It’s been an awesome year so far,” he said. “It’s coming down to the wire. It’ll be a fun time.”

Adding to the excitement is that PLU features another Alaskan in pitcher Garrett Brown of Anchorage. Brown, like Thompson, is having a career year with a 3-1 record and 3.72 ERA over nine appearances, six starts.

Thompson leads PLU with 23 RBIs and is tied for the lead in home runs [3] and doubles [10]. He is slugging .505.

He credits his success to a more refined mental approach, using tools as easy as positive re-enforcement, visualizing success and not overthinking.

He doesn’t dwell on failure or obsess on success.

“I want to have that what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mindset,” Thompson said.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bynum crushes first college HR, bumps season average to .329

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 8, 2015

Hitting the long ball isn’t really his game, but Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks can knock it out of the park.

The freshman center fielder hit his first home run for Arizona Western College during a 14-3 win over Scottsdale Community College in Arizona.

“It felt great to get my first home run as a college player but that’s not what I swing for,” Bynum told me. “I swing for the team and the situation we are in.”

The former Alaska player of the year out of Monroe Catholic High hit a two-run shot over the center field fence for his only hit in three at-bats. The game lasted only five innings.

Bynum raised his batting average to .329 in 41 games.

He ranks No. 1 on the team with 8 stolen bases, second with 22 walks and 31 runs and third with 29 RBIs and a .451 on-base percentage.

Bynum is batting .500 since March 7 [28-for-56].

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Mayo tapped to take over Wasilla Post 35 program

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 7, 2015

Mat-Su Valley coaching staple Jamie Mayo today has been named manager of the Wasilla Post 35 baseball program for the 2015 season by Alaska American Legion Baseball Department Chair Russ Baker. 

His high school age coaching resume in baseball and football is extensive.

Mayo served as one of the founding coaches for the Colony High baseball program along with Bill and Delores Forrester and Doug Bean in 1995. He was the head coach from 1995 to 2010 and an assistant from 2011 to 2013.

During that time Colony claimed the conference championship eight times from 2000 to 2013. 

In addition, Mayo served on the Colony football staff from 1995 to 2010. Five of those years were as head coach. Colony made the playoffs every year during Mayo's tenure.

Three times he was named the Assistant Coach of the Year in the state and conference. He was also named conference and Alaska Coach of the Year.

Mayo also coached football as a defensive coordinator at Chugiak High from 2011 to 2013.

At Wasilla Post 35, Mayo replaced Boone Thompson.

After a stellar high school sports career at Service High in the late 1970's, Mayo played college football and baseball at Linfield College in Oregon. He also played in the Alaska Baseball League with the Mat Su Miners and Anchorage Bucs.

Three of Mayo's grown sons played baseball for Post 35 in past years.

Baker indicated that Mayo's credentials and reputation were just what the Legion program was looking for in the leadership of Post 35. Mayo will assemble a complete coaching staff to assist with the AA [Varsity] and A [JV] teams. 

“Jamie Mayo identifies with the core values of American Legion baseball of Americanism, sportsmanship and team development,” Baker said. “I am confident that he and his team will represent themselves and American Legion Baseball very well on and off the field.”

All Alaska Legion Post manager position appointments are for one year, and the Post manager selects their own coaching staff. 

Baker said people in those positions should represent the core values of American Legion organization and of American Legion Baseball. 

“Yes there are issues of throwing strikes and hitting the ball, but most importantly managers are asked to teach the young baseball players lessons about Americanism, sportsmanship, winning with class and losing with grace,” Baker said.

At many Legion games that have PA announcers, the Legion Code of Sportsmanship is recited by players and coaches to remind them that they not only represent themselves, but their Post, their team and the American Legion patch on their uniform. 

American Legion Baseball is the largest high school age baseball program in the United States with thousands of college and MLB players having participated. 

In Anchorage, Legion Baseball has operated the Anchorage School District’s Cook Inlet Conference for 23 years in an agreement with ASD.

Delta Junction/Ft. Greely boosts Legion AA count to 17 teams

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 2, 2015

Alaska Legion Baseball Dept. Chair Russ Baker on Thursday announced that Delta Junction/Ft. Greely will participate in the Alaska Legion Baseball league this year. 

The Delta team is sponsored by Post 22 and will compete as a charter member, meaning all of their games will be nonleague in the AA [Varsity] division and they will not be eligible for postseason play. The team will also play some games in the A [JV] division.

Post 22 will be managed by Harold ‘Sonny’ Zarecki.

The Delta D'backs will begin play in June with travel to Anchorage and Fairbanks. Some games will also be played in Delta Junction. Support for the team will come from the Delta Junction/Ft Greely community. 

The Delta Huskies high school team currently competes in the Mid Alaska Conference with the six Fairbanks area schools.

Delta Post 22 will draw from one of the smallest high school enrollments of any of the Alaska teams, but has had some success competing in the Mid Alaska Conference in past years. 

With the addition of the two new Delta Post 22 teams, Alaska now has had the largest percentage growth of American Legion baseball teams in the country of any state in the last two years under Baker's direction. 

Juneau Post 25 joined the league in 2013 while Fairbanks 30, Palmer Post 15, Kodiak Post 17 and Ketchikan Post 3 joined in 2014 along with an additional Post 30 A team in Fairbanks. 

Currently, 17 ALB Post teams from around the state compete in Legion AA competition, and it is anticipated that 10 to 12 teams will compete in the Legion A division in 2015 when play starts at start of June.

Bynum heats up, sparks fire in Arizona Western middle lineup

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 31, 2015

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks has settled into a nice groove for the Arizona Western College baseball team after moving to the middle of the lineup.

The speedy outfielder is hitting .429 with 16 RBIs over his last 13 games to help his team go 12-1 during that stretch.

With eight multi-hit games this month, Bynum lifted his season batting average to .325 in 36 games.

He had a career-high 4 RBIs in an 8-3 win over Mesa Community College last week.

The freshman sports a .448 on-base percentage, which is the third highest on Arizona Western.

Last year's Alaska player of the year has 23 RBIs, 26 runs and a team-high 8 stolen bases this season.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Way picks up third win coming out of Edmonds CC bullpen

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 29, 2015

Brian Way of Sitka keeps finding himself in critical situations for the Edmonds Community College baseball team.

And he keeps coming through with flying colors.

The freshman right-handed relief pitcher picked up his third win with 3.1 innings of work in an 11-7 victory over Bellevue College in NWAC action in Washington.

Way improved to 3-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.50 in seven appearances this season. He also has a pair of saves.

Edmonds is 7-0 on days Way pitches.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Brown revitalizes college career as pitcher, 3-0 as PLU starter

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 25, 2015

When he was younger, Garrett Brown of Anchorage was one of the most promising pitchers in Alaska. Then he hurt his right arm and became a catcher.

He was good enough to land at spot at Pacific Lutheran University, but he never really ever settled in behind the plate. 

He belonged on the bump.

Brown is back on the mound and pitching better than ever. The junior starter has a 3-0 record and a tidy 2.53 ERA in 32 innings for the NCAA D3 school Washington.

“Honestly, I’m not extremely surprised about how I’ve pitched,” he told me. “I was always itching to get back on the mound and I thought I was never going to after my injury my senior year [of high school].

“My surgeon did an amazing job a year and half ago and he’s made it so I can pitch again. Obviously I miss catching, but I see myself as more of a pitcher.”

Brown, of Service High fame, is a big part of a 17-7 PLU team that is ranked No. 23 nationally.

The Lutes also feature Anchorage third baseman Tyler Thompson, who is hitting .333 in 22 games and leads the team with 3 home runs, 10 doubles and 48 total bases.

Brown and Thompson have played baseball together since they were 9 years old.

“It seems that every one of my starts he gets a couple big hits to help me out,” Brown said. “He’s having a huge year and it’s awesome to continue playing with him.”

Brown’s super season is even more impressive if you consider he hadn’t thrown a pitch in college before this year. Yet he has averaged a strikeout per inning, including 19 over his last two starts.

He had 10 Ks against Whitworth and fanned 9 against Whitman.

“The strikeouts come with locating pitches and getting ahead of batters,” he said. “I trust my defense so it makes me have confidence throwing any pitch.

“My pitching coach [Sean Taunt] is incredible and has helped me get to where I am. Without him, I would not be pitching like I am recently.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Blue Mountain Alaskans come up clutch in 15-inning win in NWAC

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 24, 2015

Three Mat-Su Valley locals had their fingerprints all over the biggest win of the season for the Blue Mountain Community College baseball team.

The Timberwolves beat visiting Skagit Valley 7-6 in 15 innings thanks to clutch plays by Ben Ross and Jonathan Boyer of Wasilla, and Jacob Butcher of Palmer.

All three came up huge with the pressure cooker on full blast.

Ross delivered a pinch-hit, walk-off single; Butcher scored the winning run; and Boyer plated the tying run in the ninth inning to force extra innings. 

Boyer started in left field and finished 1-for-5 with two RBIs. With one out in the ninth, he drew a five-pitch walk with the bases loaded to tie the game at 5-5.

Butcher started in right field and also went 1-for-5. He scored twice, including in the 15th when he ripped a one-out single to give Blue Mountain runners at first and second.

With two down and the game tied at 6-6, the T-wolves called on a pinch hitter. Ross took ball one, strike one, ball two and then smacked the game-winning single to score his former Legion teammate for the walk-off victory.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bashing backstop: Ferntheil breaks the mold for catchers

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 22, 2015

Most catchers don’t run fast enough or hit well enough to bat at the top of the order, but Stephen Ferntheil of Anchorage is different.

He is a bashing backstop.

The 23-year-old sophomore catcher at East Georgia State College is hitting leadoff and batting .371 in 20 games this year. He’s even got three stolen bases.

“I’m not blazing on the base paths, but I’m not slow either,” he told me.

Hitting leadoff has advantages, he said, like seeing more fastballs early in the count.

“It allows me to be more aggressive rather than having to wait for the perfect pitch,” he said. “Pitchers aren’t going to attack a leadoff hitter like they would the three, four hitter in the lineup.”

Ferntheil, of Service High fame, is hitting so well it wouldn’t matter where you put him. Dating back to last season, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder is hitting .402 in the last 36 games in junior college.

The wear and tear of logging nine innings at the catcher position is so rigorous, so rugged, that most coaches don’t expect much offense. They’d rather a catcher focus on building defensive fundamentals, working with pitchers and learning a hitter’s tendencies.

“My dad said I could be a good defensive catcher, hit .100 and they’d be happy, just because it’s so difficult,” he said.

Ferntheil just makes it look easy. But he’s got here because of hard work.

“You gotta work hard on the field if you want to be a good hitter,” he said. “I spent hours and hours in the cage, hitting off the tee, off my brother. You have to put in work on the field.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chapman embracing new reliever role at Everett College

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 19, 2015

Everett Community College pitcher Dalton Chapman of Anchorage recently picked up his first save and later admitted he is growing accustomed to his new reliever role.

“Everybody wants to be a starter, that’s always the dream,” he told me. “But coming in as a closer is nice; it’s like, ‘Hey, you’re our dude. We need you.’ I like being that guy.”

The 6-foot-5 freshman right-hander has made four relief appearances this month. He has a 3.55 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 12.2 innings.

His outings have ranged from an inning to 5.1 innings. The day he got his save he pitched scoreless frames in the seventh, eighth and ninth to preserve a 4-2 win over Vancouver Island.

“Everything was just working. My fielders were making perfect plays,” he said. “I was getting those hitters to roll over or pop out.”

Chapman, of West High fame, has embraced his reliever role because he understands he might have to work his way out of the bullpen to be a starter.

“I want to work for it,” he said. “Growing up I always wanted to play baseball at the next level. This is what I live for. I’m having a blast. It’s awesome. I love it here.

“I’m learning more every day how to throw a ball better and what I can do to fix my mechanics. It’s honestly a lot of maturity, living on my own now. It’s a lot different. I’m learning how to be a grown up, basically.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Ridley’s road back from torn ACL comes full circle at Dawson

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 16, 2015

Two years ago, Jake Ridley of Anchorage had his high school baseball career end after tearing his ACL in a freak knee injury during a post-game dog pile at home plate. 

It’s been a long road to reach home plate again, but the all-star shortstop is back on the field.

The freshman starter at Dawson Community College in Montana enjoyed a 15-for-30 hitting clip last week during a 9-game road trip through Kansas and Nebraska.

Six of his hits went for extra-bases, including his first college home run to right field. He also had five doubles.

“The home run felt great,” he told me. “I didn’t think I got all of it, but I had some help from the wind. It was a fastball, belt high and a little outside.”

Ridley, of Service High fame, missed the college season last year. He learned about Dawson College from high school teammate Conner Melton, a catcher on this year’s team.

The coach took a chance on Ridley and the Alaska infielder is paying off.

“I’d say I’m back to being 100 percent. It took a lot of work to get where I’m at right now as far as health,” he said. “I honestly try to find the good in my injury. By tearing my ACL, it made me work that much harder and it made me want it more.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Scorching-hot Bynum raises average 62 points in 5 games

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 14, 2015

He was so-so for most of the Western Arizona College baseball season, and then Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks heated up to remind everybody why he was so coveted.

The freshman outfielder doubled his batting average with a 12-for-24 clip over a five-game stretch that saw his team go unbeaten. 

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic High fame, is now hitting .319 in 27 games and showing off the talent that saw last year’s Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year get drafted in the 18th round by the Cincinnati Reds.

He was only the second Alaska non-pitcher to be a top-20 draft pick. The first was Trajan Langdon in 1994.

Bynum started slowly by his standards, hitting just .257 after his first 21 games at Western Arizona. He definitely picked it up, though.

The 6-foot left-handed hitter collected at least two hits in the next five games to raise his batting average 62 points in less than a week.

In one game against Gateway College, he entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning with his team down 6-1. He singled and later scored as part of a three-run inning. Then in the eighth he singled, stole second and scored the tying run in an eventual 7-6 win.

The next day during a doubleheader against Phoenix College he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in Game 1 and 3-for-6 with a double, run and RBI in Game 2.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Brown pitching like the PLU comeback player of the year

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 14, 2015

He didn’t throw a single pitch in each of his first two seasons with the Pacific Lutheran University baseball team.

But now Garrett Brown of Anchorage is pitching like an ace.

Brown continued his tremendous throwing with a 6-inning shutout stint in yesterday’s 2-0 win over Whitworth during NCAA D3 action in Washington.

Brown scattered two hits and three walks while striking out a career-high 10 batters.

The 6-foot-1 right-hander picked up the win to improve to 2-0 this year and lowered his ERA to 3.00 in 24 innings over six games.

Brown, of Service High fame, has allowed only two earned runs over his last 16.1 innings – easily the best stretch of his college career.

His ERA is 1.25 in his last four appearances since Feb. 21.

Brown was a versatile player growing up in Alaska, capable of playing multiple positions. He arrived at PLU as a catcher and infielder but struggled at the plate, hitting just .140 [13-for-93] in his first two years.

The decision was made for him to pitch this year and he's responded like the comeback player of the year.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thompson’s bat, Brown’s arm highlight Pacific Lutheran rout

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 8, 2015

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson continues to tear the cover off the baseball for Pacific Lutheran University.

The junior third baseman banged out three more hits in a 14-2 victory over Willamette in NCAA D3 action.

Thompson is now hitting .351 with six doubles and a home run in 14 games.

Starting pitcher Garrett Brown of Anchorage picked up his first win of the season for PLU. 

The right-hander threw six strong innings, scattering seven hits and a walk. He fanned five.

Brown, of Service High fame, had come out of the bullpen in his last two outings. This was his third start.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bynum gets back on track, keys Arizona Western College win

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 8, 2015

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks had two hits, two RBIs and a stolen base for the Western Arizona College baseball team in a 6-4 win over Gateway Community College.

The former Alaska player of the year is hitting .257 in 22 games.

The freshman outfielder has been a table setter most of the season, leading the team with 18 runs and ranking third with a .442 on-base percentage.

This time he supplied the muscle with his first two-RBI college game. He has 9 RBIs overall.

Bynum, of Monroe-Catholic High fame, leads Western Arizona with 7 stolen bases. He’s been caught only once.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Osborne delivers walk-off base hit to beat team with 3 Alaskans

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 1, 2015

Anchorage’s Sagan Osborne today had his best baseball moment in two years, and he got to enjoy it with three other Alaskans on the field.

Osborne’s one-out single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning ended Treasure Valley’s 6-5 win over Dawson in JC action in Oregon.

He entered the game as a defensive substitute at third base in the top of the seventh as Treasure Valley looked to close out a three-run lead. 

“I wasn’t even going to hit,” Osborne told me.

But Dawson rallied for three runs to force the bottom half of the inning. Then Treasure Valley loaded the bases with one out to bring Osborne to the plate.

“We are a stacked team and I hadn’t got much playing time over the weekend,” he said.

He came in cold and walked off red hot.

Osborne, of Dimond High fame, drove a soft line drive to right field to plate the winning run and beat a Dawson team with three Alaskans in the lineup.

“That made it extra special,” Osborne said.

Dawson [Mont.] had three Service High alums in the field when Osborne got his hit – Jake Ridley at shortstop, Conner Melton at catcher and Ryan Caron in right field.

“It’s definitely awesome to see another Alaskan being successful,” Ridley told me, “but a loss still hurts either way.”

Caron finished 2-for-4 with a run and RBI. Ridley hit third in the order but went 0-for-4. Melton entered as a defensive replacement.

For Osborne, the game-winning base hit was his first hit in college. It’s a long time coming for a promising high school player that started his journey two years ago at Utah Valley State before coming to Treasure Valley.

“It was a huge weight off to come through and help this team win,” he said. “I’m just thankful to be in this great program and I really see it as my second chance to prove myself.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Manzer homers to continue super start at Sonoma State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 1, 2015

Adam Manzer of Anchorage has returned to college baseball with a bang.

The junior outfielder at NCAA D2 Sonoma State in California is hitting .333 in his first six games after sitting out last season as a transfer from College of Marin.

He slugged his first home run for Sonoma State in a 4-3 loss to Chico State and owns a .411 on-base percentage.

Manzer, of West High fame, was an all-star catcher in high school but now is a versatile outfielder for the Seawolves; he has already played defense in left, center and right field.

Two years ago, Manzer hit a career-high .279 in 32 games for College of Marin. He was one of the league’s hottest hitters in the final 12 games when he hit .373.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Karnos no-hits Southern Idaho for 6 innings, settles for 3rd win

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 21, 2015

He wasn’t perfect, but Western Nevada College pitcher Max Karnos of Anchorage might as well have been for six innings against Southern Idaho.

The sophomore right-hander faced the minimum 18 batters as he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, a walk in the third inning erased by a double play.

Karnos lost the no-no but won his third decision, highlighting Western Nevada’s 12-0 win. The 6-foot-4 ace improved to 3-1 and lowered his ERA to 0.87 and extended his shutout streak to 15.1 innings.

“Honestly I wasn’t nervous because I just wanted our team to get the win. It would have just been a bonus for the no-hitter,” he told me.  

“Throughout the whole game I gave a little peak up at the scoreboard to see how hard I was throwing, so yeah I was well aware I was throwing a no-hitter.”

The win snapped Western Nevada’s five-game losing streak, the team’s longest since 2007.

Karnos was determined to end the skid.

He retired the first six batters before walking the leadoff hitter in the third, but he was removed after the next guy grounded into a double play. Karnos maintained a clean sheet through six innings, throwing just 76 pitches.

He allowed back-to-back singles to open the seventh, breaking up his no-hitter.

No worries, though.

Karnos, of South High fame, struck out the next batter before getting the next guy to ground into a double play to preserve his clean sheet.

Karnos hasn’t given up a run since his first start Feb. 1.

“The seven shutout innings was a great consolation,” he said. “I was really happy that all my pitches were working well.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Two days, two game-winning hits for PLU’s Thompson

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 16, 2015

It seems like these days all Tyler Thompson of Anchorage does is win games with base hits.

The Pacific Lutheran University baseball player doubled in the game-winning runs to beat Corban University in each of the last two days in Oregon.

“In big situations it’s been nice to come through,” he told me. “I’ve been trying to figure out my swing at the plate lately and it’s finally starting to come around.”

The junior infielder started both games at third base against Corban. He hit near the bottom of the lineup but stepped up when it mattered most.

On the first day he went 1-for-3 with a two-run double in the fourth inning that served as the game-winner in a 4-1 win.

The following day he delivered a two-out, two-run double to provide a 3-2 lead in an eventual 4-2 win. It was his only hit of the game.

“It’s a big spot. You relax and let it all go,” Thompson said. “I just try to do what I always do and try not to get my emotions running too high and just go up there and act like it’s the first inning, no pressure.”

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, is hitting .292 in six games this year for the NCAA D3 school in Tacoma, Wash.

It’s a stark contrast to last year when he hit .211 in 38 games.

“I was barreling up balls and hitting them hard. They just weren’t falling for base hits,” he said. “Maybe I guess hitting later in the order I will get fastballs, so I’ve been trying to take advantage of those pitches.”

It may have not always looked pretty, but Thompson ranked second on the team with 3 HRs and 16 RBIs. So he’s got a knack for coming through in tight situations.

Today’s win against Corban was especially sweet for Thompson because Anchorage’s Garrett Brown pitched well for PLU in his second start of the young season.

Brown, of Service High fame, allowed just two runs over 5.2 innings.

Thompson’s game-winning hit saved his buddy from taking a loss on his pitching record.

“I play third base so to be right there next to Garrett, it’s awesome,” Thompson said. “He’s been throwing pretty well for us. He’ll be a big part of the team this year. It’s nice to get a win for him.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Fitka signs with Iowa Lakes during early signing period

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 3, 2015

The Iowa Lakes Community College baseball team got a big commitment from a big kid from Alaska.

Anchorage’s Joe Fitka – all 6-foot-6, 200 pounds of him –was one of 11 players to sign during the early signing period as part of the biggest recruiting class in school history. He will be eligible to play this fall.

“Joe is a key part of our recruiting class,” Iowa Lakes coach Joey Pavlovich told the Dickinson County News. “We needed frontline pitching due to us losing so many of them this year and he could be an absolute monster here.”

Fitka, of Dimond High fame, was an all-league first baseman last spring in the Cook Inlet Conference. He has a quick swing with some pop.

In the fall he participated in the Arizona Fall Classic with the Alaska Baseball Academy. He pitched pretty well in front of dozens of college scouts, allowing 3 runs in 5 innings. 

“Joe is a good kid and I see him being a very successful JC ballplayer,” ABA coach Tony Wylie told me. “He throws a mid-80s fastball now, but that will improve quickly once he’s in a full-time throwing program.”

Iowa Lakes coach Pavlovich believes Fitka has all the tools to help Iowa Lakes compete on a national level.

“Joe has an outstanding changeup and curveball, and a good feel for the strike zone,” he said. “In our system, I don’t see why he can’t be at 90 [mph] next year.”

The coach also thinks Fitka has what it takes off the field to handle the transition from high school to college, Alaska to Iowa.

“We really enjoyed being around his family and have been in great communication with them, especially with a guy coming from that far away,” Pavlovich said. “We are more than excited to see how he progresses once he comes to campus.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Brains, brawn and Brown: Homza headed to Ivy League

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jan 3, 2015

Hands down the coolest thing to happen to teenage Anchorage baseball player Willy Homza was being invited to participate in an academic all-star game at the Arizona Fall Classic.

“That’s where all the good schools are watching and you only get in if you have good grades,” he told me.

This kid values good grades as much as base hits and it shows. Homza carries a 4.1 GPA into his senior year and he hit .400 in high school last year and was named all-conference at shortstop.

The switch-hitting, smooth-fielding 17-year-old played well in Arizona and immediately caught the interest of college coaches. He stands 6 feet and weighs 185 pounds.

“I expected D2 schools from the Northwest,” he said. “Then I started getting calls from the Ivy League. I don’t know how to describe it. It just felt so good to get offers from such awesome schools.”

Homza, of South High fame, picked Brown University over Dartmouth College and has already signed his National Letter of Intent to make him eligible to play NCAA D1 baseball in the fall of 2015.

“Willy is a great kid, a hard worker and his improvement over the last 18 months makes his future look bright,” Alaska Baseball Academy director Tony Wylie told me. “I believe he will be successful at Brown based on his work ethic and skill.”

Homza played for Wylie’s ABA that took a trip to the Arizona Fall Classic. It was there that Homza made his name, especially in the academic all-star game that was open only to high school players with a 3.5 GPA and 1,700 SAT score.

“I hope the message it sends is how work ethic in the classroom is equally important as work ethic on the field,” said Wylie, a member of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau.

Homza visited the Brown campus located in Providence, Rhode Island, where he met the coaches and the players, and toured the college facilities. He’s already familiar with the East Coast as he has family in Connecticut and spends a month there every summer.

He said the Brown coaches told him that he would get an opportunity to earn a starting infield job as a freshman. It was an open competition.

“I like the sound of that,” Homza said. “I think I work pretty hard. I wouldn’t say I work hard at it because it’s my goal to keep advancing. I do it because I love it. I don’t even call it work. I think it’s so much fun to go to the cage and hit and take groundballs. I’m super happy I can keep playing.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Blue Mountain baseball taps into Mat-Su Valley player pipeline

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Dec 17, 2014

Brad Baker came to Alaska for a coaching job, but he left with three baseball players from Colony High.

Baker was on the coaching staff for the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League when local kid Jacob Butcher walked into his office and pitched himself like an episode of ‘Shark Tank.’

After that the coach watched Butcher play in an American Legion game and liked what he saw. He also liked a couple of his Wasilla Post 35 teammates, Jonathon Boyer and Ben Ross.

Now all three Alaskans are playing for Baker at Blue Mountain Community College in Oregon.

“We recruit a wide variety of players, but one thing I always look for is passion in baseball,” Baker told me. “Playing baseball in college is a grind and not always fun. Players can experience more failure in college than in high school because is more talent. It is important to have passionate players who will persevere through the tough times.”

All three Alaskans played well during fall ball and Baker said they should continue to contribute in the spring when it counts most.

Butcher, a sophomore, can pitch and play outfield. He hit .317 during the fall and had one of his team’s best strikeout-to-walk ratios on the mound. 

“Butcher is one of the hardest working kids I've ever coached. He is a great competitor and works hard at it,” Baker said. “He throws strikes and competes out there. In the outfield he covers a lot of ground and has a plus arm.

“Jacob had the potential to move on when he is done playing here.  He continued to get better every day.”

Boyer, a sophomore, can play outfield and pitch. The tall, lean right-hander throws in the upper 80s with great command and is expected to compete for a starting job.

“He has a lot of talent and should help us a lot,” Baker said. “As a hitter he has great power and can hit to all fields. He is a good athlete with a plus arm in the outfield.”

Boyer hit .300 in the fall and posted one of the team’s top slugging and on-base percentages.

Ross, a freshman, is a versatile player who can pitch, play first base and the outfield. He is part slugger, part speedster.

“Ben has great power from the plate,” Baker said. “He has the fasted exit speed of anyone in the program.”

He showed off that plus power in the fall with a tape-measure bomb.

“The longest home run I've seen at BMCC's field,” Baker said. “Ben has tremendous potential.  He could develop into an all-conference type of player.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Karnos signs with defending WAC champ Sacramento State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Nov 18, 2014

With his college choice behind him, Max Karnos of Anchorage can relax and just throw the baseball.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander earned that luxury after signing with Sacramento State during the NCAA early signing period.

He will still pitch his sophomore season at Western Nevada College, where he enjoyed a fabulous freshman campaign and was one of the JC team’s top pitchers.

“All the pressure is off,” Karnos told me. “I can just pitch like I always have and not really worry about which school I will sign with in the spring.”

The Alaska pitcher picked Sacramento State over Nevada, Central Florida, Oral Roberts and San Francisco.

Sacramento State won its first Western Athletic Conference championship last season, He will major in anthropology.

“I always hoped to make it to D1. Hopefully I’ll play one year and get drafted,” he said. “They have a good winning tradition. I want to go there and help them win another conference title and get them to the College World Series.”

Karnos, of South High fame, posted a 5-2 record and 3.91 ERA as a freshman at Western Nevada. He led the team with three complete games and 78.1 innings while ranking third with 61 strikeouts.

He credited WNC coach DJ Whittemore and staff for molding him into a more polished pitcher.

He was pretty good when he got to college. 

But he’s way better now.

“They changed my mindset. I’m thinking of the game way different and I think it helped my game a lot,” Karnos said. “I’m throwing harder and I think my breaking stuff is better. I’m excited for this season.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Astros pitching coach Brent Strom headlines upcoming clinic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 28, 2014

Brent Strom has been a winner at every level, winning a College World Series title as a player with Southern Cal in 1970 and a World Series title as a coach with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.

He also pitched five years in the bigs, throwing a complete game at old Yankee Stadium. This guy tossed 16 CGs in 75 career starts.

If he did that today they’d call him Adam Wainwright.

Strom is now the pitching coach for the Houston Astros, one of the youngest and most promising teams in the game.

And now Strom will be in Anchorage along with Houston Astros hitting instructor Jeff Albert for the fifth annual Professional Baseball Clinic, Nov. 7-8-9 at The Dome. The camp costs just $25 per kid.

The clinic is sponsored by the Alliance for Support of American Legion in Alaska and Alaska Airlines.

This is Alaska’s only opportunity to get one-on-one training from MLB coaches – Strom brings 40 years of experience while Albert was also with the St. Louis Cardinals organization when they won the World Series.

“Jeff is among the best hitting coaches in professional baseball,” Strom told me. “Both of us are solid mechanically in our concept and solid communications. Both of us are learners, continually looking for ways to help pitchers and hitters stay healthy and perform.” 

The Professional Baseball Clinic is sponsored by Alaska Airlines and the Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska.

Don’t strike out on this opportunity.

HITTING with Jeff Albert

Albert brings eight years of professional coaching experience. He believes the basic hitting principles are to learn the strike zone and develop an efficient swing.

“I’ll cover all aspects of hitting – plate discipline, swing mechanics, pitch recognition, practice drills,” he said. “My professional background helps because I see players of different ages and levels. Players learn and develop at different rates so working with a wide range of players requires flexibility and creativity in order to communicate effectively.”

No matter the level, confidence is vital.

“It’s good if young kids think they can hit,” he said. “Confidence is important, but so is the ability to listen and learn. We are in the business of player development and the best players are constantly growing and improving their skills.

PITCHING with Brent Strom

If you were going to teach your kid how to pitch, what is more important: velocity or control?

Most people say control.

That’s the wrong way to go,” Strom said.

He would know. He has made a living in professional baseball since 1972.

Strom is in town this weekend to talk about the grip-it-and-rip-it theory, among other things.

He also urges coaches to promote versatility over specialization.

“At a young age it is important to have a well-rounded teaching and playing model,” he said. “We don't know how a player’s ability will move forward, at what pace and in what direction. Much like we advocated playing other sports, young players should not specialize ... being able to compete at whatever you play or do will help one in ways not only on but off the field.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Western Nevada coach likes what he sees in Alaska pitchers

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 18, 2014

D.J. Whittemore isn’t involved with the oil business, but the Western Nevada College baseball coach has tapped into the Alaska pipeline to strike it rich.

First it was Juneau’s Dylan Baker, who has graduated to pro ball in 2012.

Then it was Anchorage’s Max Karnos, who anchored the pitching staff last season as a freshman.

Now newcomer Johny Meszaros of Anchorage has joined the team.

Karnos, of South High fame, is a valuable and versatile piece of the puzzle that developed into the team’s workhorse. He led Western Nevada with 75.1 innings pitched and three complete games to go along with a 5-2 record and 3.58 ERA.

“Max came to us a confident and polished pitcher that experienced a great deal of success at all levels of youth baseball,” Whittemore told me. “He was a strike thrower when he arrived on campus and we set off to work to improve the quality of his stuff. He worked hard and improved his velocity 3 to 5 mph, and also developed a breaking ball that was college average from almost non-existent at the start of the year.”

Karnos started 12 of his first 13 games before he was moved to the bullpen for the playoffs. When Western Nevada beat Salt Lake 5-0 to reach the Scenic West Athletic Conference finals, it was Karnos that closed it out with two shutout innings.

“Max is capable of pitching in any role – as is almost every pitcher,” Whittemore said. “Throwing quality pitches is the art of starting or relieving. The role of 'closer' doesn’t really exist in our program. We have relievers that generally pitch when the game is the most tense and at the most crucial moments.”

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander has a strong sinking fastball that helped him average nearly seven strikeouts per game.

“The chief difference between a starter versus a reliever is the ability of a reliever to erase inherited runners via the strikeout,” Whittemore said. “Starters need to be strike throwers that can keep their pitch count down and get outs without velocity.”

Meszaros, 19, did not play college baseball in 2014, although it was only a year ago that he was picked in the 39th round of the MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder righty is ripe with potential.

“Johny is a hard worker that has a clear goal in mind. He is educated in the art of pitching and has confidence as well,” Whittmore said. “His maturity as a student, person, and pitcher is growing each day and it will be fun to continue to watch his development.”

Meszaros, of Service High fame, has been limited since his arrival to Western Nevada because of some inflammation in his elbow.

“He needs to throw strikes to be successful. His fastball is good to great and comes out of his hand very easily and with some life. The key for him to be successful is command of the baseball,” Whittmore said. “He certainly has the breaking ball and the body of a professional pitcher.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bynum of Fairbanks draws college, pro interest in Arizona

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 14, 2014

The spotlight was glaring, with dozens of professional scouts and college coaches in the stands, but it didn’t wilt Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks.

In fact, he shined brighter.

The 18-year-old centerfielder with the Alaska Baseball Academy batted .444 with four extra-base hits in 18 at-bats at the Arizona Fall Classic over the weekend in Peoria.

“I try to rise to the occasion,” Bynum said. “I thought I saw the ball really well. It was huge to me.”

Bynum’s performance left a lingering impression with scouts and coaches, making the 6-footer seem ten feet tall.

“Scooter drew as much or more attention than any player in the 67-team tournament,” said ABA coach Tony Wylie, who also is part of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau.

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic High fame, showed off his speed with an inside-the-park home run and standup triple. He added a pair of doubles.

“I wanted to do better than I did last year. Last year I had a couple strikeouts and made a couple mental mistakes,” he said. “I wanted to clean that up and just show everybody that I had become a better player.”

Oh, they paid attention alright.

Bynum was approached by professional scouts with the Cubs, Brewers and White Sox in addition to numerous college coaches.

“This was the second time in the tournament and that extra year definitely helped with the pressure,” he said. “I just kept calm and got the job done. You only get to come to this tournament once a year. I had to take advantage of it.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media DIrector.

Alaska Baseball Academy goes 3-2 at Arizona Fall Classic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 13, 2014

The Alaska Baseball Academy closed out the annual Arizona Fall Classic in style, winning a pair of games to finish the showcase tournament with a 3-2 record.

The Alaska all-stars beat Mountain West Baseball Academy out of Utah 5-4 and then let the bats rip in a 7-3 win over a highly touted Colorado Rockies scout team.

In the win over Utah, pitchers Nathan Klein of Juneau and Nolan Monaghan of Wasilla each threw four innings while Bartlett’s Logan Williams pitched the final inning for the save.

Ketchikan's Nathan Bonck delivered at the plate with three of his team’s 11 hits, including a double. South’s Willy Homza and Eagle River’s Mike Rosenberg each had two hits.

In the nightcap, the Alaskans clubbed 16 hits to beat Colorado. Williams, Rosenberg and both Homza boys [Willy and Jonny] all collected a pair of hits.

Eagle River’s RJ Derscherl picked up the win on the mound with an assist from his relievers Palmer’s Elias Stratton and Williams.

The Alaska Baseball Academy split a two-game series the day before, beating Baseball Northwest of Oregon 2-1 before losing a 5-4 decision to Team California in 10 innings.

The ABA team is made of some of the best high school baseball players in the 907.

The team won three of five games and posted a team ERA of 2.40. Here is a breakdown:

Tommy Koloski 5IP 5Ks 1ER South

Nolan Monaghan 5IP 3Ks 2ER Wasilla

Joe Fitka 5IP 4Ks 3ER Dimond

Nathan Klein 5IP 4Ks 2ER Juneau-Douglas

Elias Stratton 3IP 1K 1ER Palmer

Josh Fetko 2IP 1K 3ER Service

RJ Dirscherl 4IP 3Ks 2ER Eagle River

Julito Fazzini 2IP 2Ks 2 ER South

Logan Williams 2IP 4Ks 0R Bartlett

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

All-stars Bonck, Homza turning heads at Arizona Fall Classic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 10, 2014

A smooth-hitting first baseman from Ketchikan and a slick-fielding shortstop from Anchorage are gaining the most attention among a group of Alaska Baseball Academy players participating in this week’s Arizona Fall Classic.

Ketchikan’s Nathan Bonck has hit and pitched well while Anchorage’s Willy Homza has fielded beautifully and held his own at the plate, each drawing interest from professional and college scouts.

Bonck shined against the Diamondbacks of British Columbia, pitching two innings of scoreless relief in last night’s 1-0 loss. 

“He wasn’t throwing super hard, mid-80s, but he’s a big 6-5 lefty up there throwing free and easy,” ABA director Tony Wylie told me.

Bonck has the same relaxed look at the plate. He crushed a triple to provide Alaska with its best scoring opportunity. 

“He’s got a really pretty left-handed swing with bat speed,” Wylie said.

Pro scouts are keen on Bonck while the college guys like Homza.

“He’s getting a lot of looks, especially from Ivy League schools,” Wylie said. “He’s a switch hitter, a smooth fielding shortstop.”

Homza and Eagle River’s Mike Rosenberg were selected to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall Classic Academic game, which is open only to players with a 3.5 GPA and SAT score of 1,700 or better.

“I gave the kids a speech about the importance of grades and how that helps create leverage because if schools are competing for you, it’s going to provide a better opportunity and there’s a higher probability of getting your college paid for,” Wylie said.

“We stress the importance of the classroom. That’s why we’re here, to help kids get into school. But they can help themselves. Our job is between the lines. Their job is in the classroom.”

Both Bonck and Homza banged out base hits in today’s 2-1 win in seven innings over Baseball Northwest of Oregon. South’s Jonny Homza, Juneau’s Nathan Klein and Wasilla’s Nolan Monaghan also collected hits for Alaska.

ABA manufactured runs after Bartlett’s Logan Williams was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and South’s Julito Frazzini plated the winning run thanks to an RBI groundout.

On the mound, South’s Tommy Koloski started and pitched five innings before giving way to relievers Josh Fetko of Service and Monaghan.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Frost pitches, misses cut at Women’s National Team Trials

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 23, 2014

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but the only jewelry Lauren Frost of Eagle River is interested is championship rings.

Frost is Alaska’s greatest women’s baseball player and among the best in the country.

The 17-year-old this week participated at the USA Baseball Women’s National Team Trials in Malibu, Calif., where she among the top 40 players to play in a three-game series that determined final roster spots.

Frost started Game 1 and pitched well, but unfortunately she didn’t make the final cut. That shouldn’t take the shine away from her accomplishment of being invited to the national team trials for the second straight year, though.

She is our Mo’ne Davis.

Frost, of Eagle River High fame, is an all-star infielder and No. 2 hitter who was voted to the all-state team during the American Legion season and was selected to the USA Today’s All-Alaska baseball team for the high school season.

The 5-foot-8 right-hander has a pony tail and can play both middle infield positions. She can bunt and is as fundamentally sound as most Alaska boys baseball players.

Frost has already committed to play NCAA D1 softball at powerhouse Stanford University in 2015. But until then, her focus is baseball.

At the National Team Trials, she played for the Blue team and started Game 1. She didn’t allow a run until the fourth inning and then wiggled out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam. Her team eventually won 2-1, but she earned a no decision.

Frost is entering her senior season of high school.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Baker becomes 8th Alaska pro pitcher to reach double digits

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 20, 2014

Juneau right-hander Dylan Baker has moved into elite company among Alaska’s best professional pitchers by picking his 10th career win.

It may not seem a lot but only eight Alaskans have reached double figures in minor league baseball. We’ve never had anybody win a game in the major leagues among the three pitchers that made it.

Baker improved to 3-2 on the season after the Carolina Mudcats beat Myrtle Beach 6-5 in Class A Advanced action. He didn’t have his best stuff but still got the win, scattering five hits and three walks across 5.1 innings.

Baker is now 10-9 with a 3.86 ERA in 42 career starts in the minors.

All-time wins by Alaska pitchers in minor pro leagues:

62 - Marshall Boze, Soldotna

30 - Chris Mabeus, Soldotna

30 - Matt Way, Sitka

27 - Ryan Shaver, Fairbanks

24 - Joey Newby, Soldotna

19 - Corey Madden, Anchorage

11 - Chad Bentz, Juneau

10 - Dylan Baker, Juneau

Pocatello caps amazing 57-1 season with NWCART title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 12, 2014

The Cody Cubs never stood a chance. The Pocatello Razorbacks has had destiny riding shotgun all year long.

Pocatello capped an epic season with a runaway victory in the championship game of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament, winning 20-1 at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Idaho state champs went 5-0 in the NWCART and finished the season with an incredible 57-1 record. They played American Legion Baseball for three months and lost one game. That’s just awesome.

There was no beating Pocatello Tuesday night.

The Razorbacks banged out 19 hits and scored four runs in the first inning, three in the second, two in the fifth and 11 in the sixth. 

Cleanup hitter Kam Farnsworth earned player-of-the game honors after going 4-for-5 with three doubles and five RBIs. Spencer Bray and Trevor Bowers also had four hits. Kaden Sweat went 2-for-5 to bump his tournament average to .450.

Bowers also pitched, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The right-hander finished with a two-hitter across seven innings of work.

Bowers was named the tournament’s top pitcher after racking up a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings with 21 strikeouts.

The tournament MVP was Mason Foltz.

This guy did it all, a dual threat who beat you on the mound and in the box.

Foltz pitched 13 innings over three appearances, earning two wins and a save. He had a tidy 1.38 ERA with 12 strikeouts.

At the plate, Foltz hit .450 with nine hits in 20-bats. He drew five walks, scored eight runs and hit a double and a triple.

In five NWCART games, Pocatello outscored their opponents 50-11 and batted .324 as a team.

In other tournament awards, Cody Cubs right fielder Shad Moir won the Gold Glove award and the Big Stick award went to Whitefish Glacier Twins first baseman Vincent Smith. The Montana slugger led the tournament in batting average [.500], slugging percentage [.875] and extra-base hits [5].

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Idaho, Wyoming win on Day 4, will square off for NWCART title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 11, 2014

Runs were at a premium Monday at Mulcahy Stadium with championship game berths on the line.

The Pocatello Razorbacks of Idaho and Cody Cubs of Wyoming each picked up pivotal wins, moving into the title game of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament.

Tuesday’s championship game is at 2 p.m. There is an if-necessary game at 6 p.m. if Wyoming beats the undefeated Idaho in the first game.

Catch every pitch with live scoring: http://iscorecast.com/954B47E74E

Or watch the games: www.nfhsnetwork.com/channels/alaska

Here is a breakdown of Day 4:

Game 13: Pocatello Razorbacks [ID] 4, Juneau Midnight Suns [AK] 2

Pocatello got a combined four-hitter from starting pitcher Breadeon Boyer [win] and reliever Mason Foltz [save]. Boyer went the first six, with Foltz coming in with three innings of one-hit relief. The Idaho state champs improved to 56-1 on the year. Kaden Sweat drove in two runs for the Razorbacks, with Ethan Hunt and CC Burrup each knocking in one. Kam Farnsworth and Foltz each had two hits. Juneau led 1-0 and got within 3-2. Matthew Cunningham and Nathan Klein drove in the runs and Tod Baseden scored both runs. It was the second time Idaho beat Juneau, including an epic 3-2 13-inning victory in the first game of the tournament. Juneau ended the season 21-13.

Game 12: Cody Cubs [WY] 3, Whitefish Glacier Twins [MT] 1

Cubs starter John Beaudrie and Glacier Twins starter AJ Wetsch each went the distance in this old-fashioned pitcher’s duel. Beaudrie picked up the win, scattering seven hits across nine innings. Wetsch took the hard-luck loss, allowing just four hits, one earned run and zero walks over eight innings. With the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth, the Wyoming state champions plated a pair of runs. Cameron Wright and Cap McClure each had RBIs, and Wright, Brock Goodwin and Kevin Page each scored runs. Vincent Smith went 2-for-4 with the team’s lone RBI. Whitefish finished the season 39-22.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Idaho still unbeaten, Utah withdraws on Day 3 of NWCART

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 10, 2014

The Idaho state champion Pocatello Razorbacks continued its winning ways Sunday, beating the Cody Cubs of Wyoming 8-2 in a winner’s bracket game at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Meanwhile, after recognizing that the Northern Utah Eagles had used ineligible players in both victories during the NWCART the Utah state director removed his team from the American Legion tournament.

Utah Legion Department Chair Jeff Nakaishi made the decision to withdraw the Eagles from competition in a move that was accepted by NWCART director Clayton Burtsfield.

Each state's American Legion Department Chair as the authority over all teams playing American Legion Baseball in their state. Nakaishi cited multiple violations on official documents.

Going into Monday’s action, only four states remain alive in the hunt for the title – Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. All four play Monday.

Monday’s NWCART schedule

2 PM Cody Cubs [WY] vs. Whitefish Glacier Twins [MT]

6 PM Juneau Midnight Suns [AK] vs. Pocatello Razorbacks [ID]

Catch every pitch with live scoring: http://iscorecast.com/954B47E74E

Or watch the games: www.nfhsnetwork.com/channels/alaska

Here is a breakdown of Day3:

Game 9: Whitefish Glacier Twins 13, North Medford Mavericks 11

Up and then down, the Glacier Twins plated six unanswered runs in the seventh inning and ninth inning to survive this slugfest and avoid elimination in this loser bracket game. Colton Gove, Jayce Fagerland, Vincent Smith and Kyler Howke each had two RBIs for the Montana state champs [39-21]. Gove tripled twice. Colten Parker picked up the win with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. It was Parker’s RBI double in the top of the ninth inning that proved to score the game winner. The Mavericks trailed 7-5 before exploding for six runs in the sixth inning. Tate Cowden homered and scored three times. Kasey Buchanan and Greyson Wolff each had two RBIs for the Oregon state champions, which were knocked out to end the season 28-22.

Game 11: Pocatello Razorbacks 8, Cody Cubs 2

Kaden Sweat had three hits and two RBIs, and starting pitcher Saben Rodriguez scattered seven hits and four walks over a nine-inning, complete-game effort. Spencer Bray, Cory Meyer and Trevor Bowers each had two hits and an RBI. The Razorbacks outhit the Cubs 12-7. Nursing a 4-2 lead, they scored in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Pocatello is the only unbeaten team in the tournament, improving to 3-0. The Idaho State champs have won 56 of 57 games this season. Shade Noir and Walker Williams had two hits apiece for the Wyoming state champs. The Cubs bullpen did its job, allowing just one hit over the final four innings. 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Idaho, Utah stay undefeated after Day 2 of NWCART

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 9, 2014

The Pocatello Razorbacks of Idaho and the Northern Utah Eagles each won games Saturday to remain undefeated at Day 2 of the NWCART, setting up a Sunday showdown at Mulcahy Stadium.

Pocatello will face Northern Utah at 5:30 p.m. ADT, with the winner putting itself in prime position to win the five-day regional tournament.

Meanwhile, the Juneau Midnight Suns – the lone Alaska team still alive – and North Medford Mavericks each survived to play another day while the Whitefish Glacier Twins and Cody Cubs dropped into the loser’s bracket.

Sunday’s schedule features three games at Mulcahy Stadium, the premier field in Alaska. If it’s a big game, it’s played at Mulcahy.

Catch every pitch with live scoring: http://iscorecast.com/954B47E74E

Or watch the games: www.nfhsnetwork.com/channels/alaska

Here is a breakdown of Day 2:

Game 5: Juneau Midnight Suns 14, Fairbanks Wild 0

Nathan Klein was nearly unhittable for seven innings, giving up just two base knocks and two walks while striking out nine. Klein and Augustus Swanton each finished with two RBIs as Juneau avoid elimination by winning the loser’s bracket game. Robert Markovich had two hits, including a double, as Juneau improved to 21-12 on the year. The game was shortened to seven innings because of the mercy rule. The Wild’s Benjamin Hall and Camron Walker had their team’s only hits. Fairbanks was an expansion team that won the Horizon Lines Invitational last month and finished the season 17-14.

Game 6: North Medford Mavericks 8, Dimond Lynx 5

The Mavericks erupted for four runs in the top of the ninth inning to win the loser's bracket game and stay alive in the double-elimination tournament. That rally made a winner out of starting pitcher Larsen Kindreich, who went all nine innings for North Medford [28-21]. Dimond's Mahlon Cleveland drove in two runs and pitched 8.2 innings. Kyle Henrickson, Payton Lauwers and Kyle Bremont all had RBIs for the Lynx. Only three of the seven runs surrendered by the Alaska team were earned. Dimon won the Midnight Sun Tournament champions in June and finished the season 21-14.

Game 7: Pocatello Razorbacks 15, Whitefish Glacier Twins 4

One day after playing 13 innings, the Razorbacks scored early and often to put this game out of reach. They scored once in the first inning, five in the second and four more in the third. Kam Farnsworth tripled and drove in five RBIs, and Trevor Bowers had three RBIs. Connor Lamont smacked a home run and Mason Foltz pitched another five innings. The Idaho state champs improved to 55-1 on the year, 2-0 in the tournament. Whitefish mounted a comeback and pulled within 10-4 after the sixth inning. Colton Gove went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Vincent Smith banged out two hits, including a double, and didn’t give up an earned run in 5.2 innings on the mound. The Montana state champs [38-21] are now in the loser’s bracket. 

Game 8: Northern Utah Eagles 5, Cody Cubs 0

Precise pitching and slugger Zach Hansen's bat powered Northern Utah once again, keeping the Eagles undefeated in Alaska, 17-5 on the season. Tonight’s pitching hero was Hunter Porritt, who threw a five-hitter with one walk and eight strikeouts across nine innings. Hansen rapped out two hits which brought home two runs; other RBIs were collected by Porritt and Hayden Smoot. The game featured just two walks between the two teams. Cameron Wright and Jordan Wasia pitched for the Wyoming state champs. Cody’s Cap McClure sure came to play, going 3-for-5 while the rest of his team managed only two hits. The Cubs don’t lose often, slipping to 45-15 on the season and falling into the loser’s bracket.

Sunday’s Schedule

11 AM North Medford Mavericks vs. Whitefish Glacier Twins

2 PM Juneau Midnight Suns vs. Cody Cubs  

5:30 PM Pocatello Razorbacks vs. Northern Utah Eagles

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah win on Day 1 of NWCART

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 8, 2014

Pitching was the theme for the four winning teams Friday on the first day of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Pocatello Razorbacks of Idaho, the Cody Cubs of Wyoming, the Whitefish Glacier Twins of Montana and the Northern Utah Eagles all picked up victories to advance to the winner’s bracket final four.

Saturday's showdowns will see Idaho face Montana at 3:15 p.m. ADT and Wyoming play Utah at 6:30 p.m. ADT.

Here is a breakdown of Day 1:

Game 1: Pocatello Razorbacks 3, Juneau Midnight Suns 2, 13 innings

CC Burrup doubled home Mason Foltz with the winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning to provide a walkoff win. A batter earlier, Juneau right fielder Matthew Cunningham threw out the would-be winning run at the plate. Foltz scored the winning run and earned the win on the mound after pitching five innings of scoreless relief of starter Trevor Bowers [8 IP]. The game looked long [13 innings] but played fast [3 hours]. Burrup, Foltz, Connor LaMont and Kaden Sweat all had two hits for the Idaho state champions, which improved to 53-1 on the season. Grant Ainsworth had two hits for Juneau [20-12] and Nathan Klein and Jacob Thibodeau each had RBIs. Juneau starter Tanner Petrie pitched nine innings.

Game 2: Cody Cubs 12, North Medford Mavericks 1

Big game John Beaudrie came through again for the Cody Cubs, striking out 11 batters over eight innings, hitting a triple and driving in three runs. It was just another day at the office for the two-time Wyoming state tournament MVP. Cameron Wright went 3-for-4 with a double, two walks and three runs for the Cubs [45-14]. Brent Bray drove in two runs and was hit by pitch twice. Cody cemented the game with a seven-run ninth inning. North Medford’s Justin Geyer scored his team’s lone run in the second inning when he singled, stole second and later stole home. The Oregon state champions managed only three hits and fell to 27-21. Medford pitchers allowed just eight hits but were hurt by eight walks and five errors.

Game 3: Whitefish Glacier Twins 8, Fairbanks Wild 4

The Montana state champions scored four runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back, doubling up the expansion team from the Golden Heart City. Jesse Walburn had two hits and three RBIs, and Vincent Smith doubled, tripled and drove in two runs for the Glacier Twins [38-20]. Tristin Steinwand had two RBIs and two runs. Colton Gove was hit by pitch three times. Starter AJ Wetsch picked up the win with five innings and Jonny Sapa earned the save with four innings of shutout relief. Down 4-0 and 6-2, Fairbanks battled back to get within 6-4. Jose Sanchez rapped out three hits and an RBI. Terrell Ford and Carmon Teel each had two hits for the Wild [17-13].

Game 4: Northern Utah Eagles 9, Dimond Lynx 1

Zach Hansen twirled a thing of beauty, striking out 17 batters and allowing just three hits and one walk en route to a nine-inning complete-game effort. He allowed a run in the first and then it was nothing but goose eggs, retiring 17 straight Lynx from the second inning to the seventh inning. Oh yeah, and he drove in three runs with his bat. Hansen finished 2-for-5 at the plate. Spenser Triplett and Spencer Gleave had two hits for the Eagles [16-5]. The game started well for Dimond after Preston Micheletto led off with a single, took second on an error, moved to third on a sac bunt by Kyle Hendrickson and scored on a wild pitch. Micheletto [2-for-4] and Hendrickson [1-for-3] got the only hits off Hansen. The Lynx fell to 21-13.

Saturday’s Schedule

9 AM Juneau Midnight Suns vs. Fairbanks Wild

12 PM North Medford Mavericks vs. Dimond Lynx

3:15 PM Pocatello Razorbacks vs. Whitefish Glacier Twins

6:30 PM Cody Cubs vs. Northern Utah Eagles

Catch every pitch with live scoring: http://iscorecast.com/954B47E74E

Or watch the games: www.nfhsnetwork.com/channels/alaska

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South rallies late but can’t avoid elimination in Oregon regional

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 8, 2014

Just when the South Post 4 Wolverines got their footing on the diamond, their number was called and they were eliminated from the Northwest Regional in Eugene, Ore.

South fell 18-8 to the Boise Gems of Idaho in a Friday morning consolation game, ending the Alaska Legion state champion’s season at 19-14-1.

The Wolverines joined a long list of Alaska teams to go 0-2 at the regional, but they should hold their heads high in the way they finished strong.

South pitchers tossed a goose egg in the top of the seventh inning, ending a streak of 12 innings of giving up at least one run, and then the bats came alive with a five-run sixth inning and three-run seventh inning.

Losing is never easy, but manager Cliff Butcher’s boys battled all the way to the end.

State tournament MVP Alec Valdez went 2-for-3 and collected two RBIs and Parker Johnson and Tyler Kile each had two hits as well. Johnson scored twice and Kile had an RBI.

Valdez, Kile, Sage Dudick, Brendon Hayhurst were the only South players to get hits in both games. Bryce Schwartz and Valdez were the only ones to score in both games. Kile was the only Wolverine to have an RBI in each game.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Northwest Regional Tournament begins Friday at Mulcahy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 7, 2014

The NWCART will be held in Anchorage for the first time in years and the three Alaska teams are hoping to cash in on that home-field advantage.

Dimond, Juneau and Fairbanks are vying to become the first Alaska team to win the regional tournament.

The NWCART opens Friday at Mulcahy Stadium and features state champions from Pocatello, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming; North Medford, Oregon; Whitefish, Montana; and Hyrum, Utah.

Follow every pitch at live scoring: http://iscorecast.com/954B47E74E

Or watch the games live: www.nfhsnetwork.com/channels/alaska

2014 NWCART FIELD OF TEAMS

Team: Pocatello Razorbacks [Idaho]

Manager: Dan McCaskill

Record: 52-1

Notes: Pitching ace Trevor Bowers started two of the team’s final three games at the state tournament, including a seven-inning shutout over Nampa. Mason Foltz got the win in relief in the championship game, a 6-5 win over Moscow. Conner LaMont drove in the would-be winning with an RBI base hit in the fifth inning. The team has won 52 games. Fifty-two!

First game: Friday vs. Juneau [AK] 9 a.m. ADT

Team: Juneau Midnight Suns [Alaska]

Manager: Andy Macaulay

Record: 20-11

Notes: Power pitcher Tanner Petrie is 13-1 with 140 strikeouts over the last two Legion seasons and will probably have the ball in his hands for Juneau’s first game. The two-time all-state pick is also a pretty good hitter, batting .457 during the regular season. American Legion Baseball in the capital city goes back 55 years, with Juneau hosting the first state games in 1958.

First game: Friday vs. Pocatello [ID] 9 a.m. ADT

Team: Cody Cubs [Wyoming]

Manager: Bart Grenz

Record: 44-14

Notes: You know you’re team is a big deal at home when the radio announcer travels 2,800 miles to cover the team. But it’s not every year Cody wins a state title. In fact, it hadn’t happened since 1989 before the Cubs pulled it off this year. Cody beat Powell 15-1 in the title game and pitcher/shortstop John Beaudrie was named tournament MVP for the second straight year.

First game: Friday vs. North Medford [OR] 12 p.m. ADT

Team: North Medford Mavericks [Oregon]

Manager: Brett Wolfe

Record: 27-20

Notes: Medford is one of the true baseball hotbeds in the Pacific Northwest. The Mavericks beat La Grande 5-4 in the state championship game, thanks to a two-run rally in the sixth inning that produced the go-ahead run and a game-ending diving catch by center fielder Preston Johnson.

First game: Friday vs. Cody [WY] 12 p.m. ADT

Team: Whitefish Glacier Twins [Montana]

Manager: Bob Rupp

Record: 37-20

Notes: It was 1986. Top Gun was the top movie, The Cosby Show was No. 1 on TV and it was the last time the Glacier Twins won the state championship. They beat the Lauren Dodgers 8-4 in the title game with pitcher A.J. Wetsch earning tournament MVP honors.

First game: Friday vs. Fairbanks [AK] 3:15 p.m. ADT

Team: Fairbanks Wild [Alaska]

Manager: Tyler Hollister

Record: 17-12

Notes: Fairbanks won the inaugural Horizon Lines Invitational to qualify for the NWCART, beating the Fairbanks 49ers 11-4 in the championship game to cap a 4-0 showing. Tyler Christmann came up huge by pitching seven strong innings and driving in three RBIs. Benjamin Hall also had three RBIs.

First game: Friday vs. Whitefish [MT] 3:15 p.m. ADT

Team: Northern Utah Eagles [Utah]

Manager: Stephen Hansen

Record: 15-5

Notes: After losing four straight games a month ago, the Eagles turned to its pitching staff and held five of the next six opponents to one run. The team ERA is 2.01. Slugger Hunter Porritt is hitting .514 and has nine extra-base hits in 37 at-bats.

First game: Friday vs. Dimond [Alaska] 6:30 p.m. ADT

Team: Dimond Lynx [Alaska]

Manager: Telon Bremont

Record: 21-12

Notes: Armed with arguably the deepest pitching staff in the state, Dimond’s Big Three of Grant Remmer, Jordan Clevenger and Mahlon Cleveland can make the Lynx a threat to win any tournament. The offense’s best player is Payton Lauwers, an all-state outfielder who hit .410 with 32 RBIs in 18 league games. Dimond has already won a tournament this year, claiming the Midnight Sun Invitational.

First game: Friday vs. Hyrum [UT] 6:30 p.m. ADT

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Marvelous Medford rolls in regional win over South Post 4

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 7, 2014

The Medford Mustangs of Oregon beat the South Post 4 Wolverines 24-3 Thursday on the first day of the Legion Northwest Regional in Eugene, Ore.

Medford rapped out 22 hits and scored in each of the six innings, including an eight-run second inning and seven-run fifth inning.

The loss snapped South’s seven-game winning streak.

The state champion Wolverines scored their first run in the fourth inning on Nick Lopetrone’s RBI groundout before adding two more in the fifth inning. 

The rally started when South loaded the bases after Sage Dudick singled, Bryce Schwartz walked and Jonah Costello singled. The following batter, Tyler Kile, drove in a run with an infield single and Schwartz scored on a wild pitch.

But then Medford [33-13] escaped the jam by striking out the side. The Mustangs staff finished with 13 Ks.

South [19-13-1] is still alive in the double-elimination tournament and will face the Boise Gems of Idaho at 9 a.m. ADT Friday in a must-win situation.

To follow the Northwest Regional, use this link: http://www.legion.org/baseball/tournaments/regional 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South to face Medford in Northwest Regional

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 6, 2014

Cinderella in Alaska, South Post 4 hopes the clock doesn’t strike midnight at the Northwest Regional in Eugene, Ore.

After a storybook run to win the title at the Alaska State Tournament, South earned the right to represent The Last Frontier at the Legion World Series qualifier.

The 19-win Wolverines will face the Medford Mustangs [32-13] in the first round of the Northwest Regional on Thursday at 3 p.m. ADT.

South has won seven straight entering tomorrow’s game.

“I think our pitching gives us a chance,” Wolverines manager Cliff Butcher said. “We rely on pitching and defense. We have a good team. I think we have a very good chance to win a game.”

The offense is led by Alec Valdez, who hit .588 at the state tournament. Other key hitters are Jake Crapps, Sage Dudick and Tommy Koloski.

“We’re patient at the plate,” Butcher said.

They will have to be against a marvelous Medford staff that is anchored by Colton Westfall, who went 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA and struck out 47 batters in 47 innings this year.

The Mustangs sport a sparkling 2.25 team ERA.

Medford beat Northwest Regional host 6-1 in the Oregon state championship game.

“I think they’re comfortable with playoff settings,” Mustangs manager Nate Mayben said. “They understand what your approach needs to be and making sure you’re not too big in the moment or let it overcome yourself. They’ve been in big situations.”

Only the host Eugene Challengers and defending Northwest Regional champion Waipahu of Hawaii are back this year.

To follow the Northwest Regional, use this link: http://www.legion.org/baseball/tournaments/regional 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Déjà vu: South beats Dimond, this time for Legion A title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 3, 2014

Max Costello spun a beauty on the mound and the offense enjoyed a 10-4 advantage in hits Sunday as South beat Dimond 7-1 in the Legion A Tournament championship game at Mulcahy Stadium.

Anthony Maldonado had two hits and two RBIs, Korey Perry tripled and scored, and Costello had a nice day at the plate with two hits, two walks, two runs and an RBI.

Costello also picked up the win as the starting pitcher. He went all seven innings and scattered four hits and three walks. He had just one strikeout, playing to contact and trusting his defense.

If it felt like déjà vu you weren’t alone –South beat Dimond by a six-run margin in the Legion AA state championship game three days ago.

In this game, South seized control early with two runs in the first inning and three more in the second.

Dimond plated its lone run in the third inning after Jake Anderson led off with a walk and later scored on Noah Alexander’s RBI single.

Here are Sunday's other Legion A Tournament scores:

Chugiak 5, Service 5

Eagle River 2, Reds/Royals 1

Fairbanks Wild 3, Fairbanks 49ers 2

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South, Dimond to play in title game of Legion A Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 2, 2014

Legion A Tournament

Final Pool Play Standings

Group A

1. Dimond 3-0

2. Service 2-1

3. Eagle River 1-2

4. Fairbanks 11 0-4

Group B

1. South 3-0

2. Chugiak 2-1

3. Reds/Royals 1-2

4. Fairbanks 30 0-4

Sunday's Schedule

AT BARTLETT HIGH SCHOOL

11 AM Fourth-place game Fairbanks 11 vs. Fairbanks 30

2 PM Third-place game Eagle River vs. Reds/Royals

AT MULCAHY STADIUM

11 AM Second-place game Chugiak vs. Service

2 PM Championship game Dimond vs. South

South wins State Tournament title game, bound for Oregon

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 31, 2014

Jake Crapps and Nick Jensen combined on a four-hit shutout Thursday as South Post 4 blanked Dimond Post 21 by a 6-0 score in the championship game of the Alaska Legion State Baseball Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Crapps started and pitched seven innings before Jensen closed it out with two innings of one-hit relief, giving South its third state title in school history. The other two came in 2007 and 2009.

Crapps and Jensen also made history by helping to produce the first shutout in the state title game since 1982.

Pitching may have been a two-headed monster, but the South lineup had multiple tentacles. Six of nine batters banged out hits, five different players scored and four knocked in runs.

Alec Valdez and Jensen each had two hits and two stolen bases. Nick Lopetrone had two RBIs and Spencer Floyd scored two runs.

Valdez was named tournament MVP after hitting .588 for the week and Jensen was named the top pitcher.

Don’t forget, the Wolverines were the eighth seed and needed to win the final game of the regular season just to qualify for the state tournament. Then they had to knock off the No. 1 seed in the first round.

Now they’ve won seven straight to stay hot at the right time.

South [19-12] will represent Alaska at the Northwest Regional next week in Eugene, Oregon. The team did well against Lower 48 talent at the BP Invitational, beating Colchester of Vermont and playing to a tie with Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee.

The Wolverines started strong in Thursday’s state championship game right off the bat, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. After that Crapps and Dimond starter Grant Remmer exchanged goose eggs on the scoreboard to keep it 1-0 after five innings.

Then in the sixth, South took advantage of some walks to clog the base paths and plate three runs to make it 4-0. Jordan Clevenger relieved Remmer and held South in check until the ninth inning.

Dimond’s Mahlon Cleveland had two of his team’s four hits.

It was South’s third win over Dimond on the season, including a 14-1 victory in a semifinal game two days ago.

Dimond’s season isn’t over. The Lynx [21-12] qualified for the NWCART Championships next week at Mulcahy Stadium. This is also a regional tournament that includes teams from Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana plus three Alaska teams [Fairbanks Post 30 and Juneau Post 25].

The NWCART is held in Alaska every seven years.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Fairbanks Post 30 Wild claim Horizon Lines Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 30, 2014

Tyler Christmann was the man Wednesday for his Alaska Legion baseball team.

The two-way wonder pitched seven strong innings and drove in three runs with the bat to lead the Fairbanks Post 30 Wild to an 11-4 victory over the Fairbanks Post 11 49ers in the championship game of the inaugural Horizon Lines Invitational.

Christmann scattered seven hits and five walks while striking out six and leading the Wild to their biggest win under manager Tyler Hollister. 

Benjamin Hall also had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs.

Michael Fitzpatrick stole four bases and scored twice, and Terrell Ford pitched the final two innings of shutout relief for the Wild.

With the win, the Fairbanks Wild qualified for the NWCART Championships, a regional tournament held this year at Mulcahy Stadium featuring teams from Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana plus three Alaska teams – two from the state tournament and the winner of the Horizon Lines Invitational. The NWCART runs Aug. 8-12.

This is a Fairbanks team that was created this year when Alaska Legion expanded to 16 teams.

Hollister’s crew finished 9-9 in the regular season and then went 4-0 in the Horizon Lines Invitational, which was created by the Alliance this year so the eight teams that didn’t qualify for the state tournament would still have something to play for. The team is 17-10 overall.

This year’s champion got a bonus with the NWCART being held in Alaska. It won’t be here for another seven years.

Down 4-1 heading in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Wild scored twice and then added four in the sixth, three in the seventh and another run in the eighth.

The Fairbanks 49ers had three players with two hits [Casey Lewandowski, Jacob Kriebel, Derrick Overby]. Overby doubled twice and drove in one of the runs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Dimond wins, moves into State Tournament title game vs. South

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 30, 2014

Starting pitcher Jordan Clevenger twirled a two-hit gem Wednesday afternoon as Dimond Post 21 beat up Juneau Post 25 11-1 in the second semifinal of the Alaska Legion State Baseball Tournament.

Dimond battled back through the consolation bracket to reach the state championship game against unbeaten South Post 4. The teams will play at 2 p.m., with the if-necessary game at 6 p.m. It all goes down at Mulcahy Stadium.

Dimond must win the first game to force the second game.

Clevenger pitched all six innings, striking out six and walking two. He proved to handle a bat too, driving in two runs with a base hit.

Mahlon Cleveland finished with three RBIs and Kyle Bremont and Tony Hillman added two RBIs apiece. 

The Lynx benefited from 11 walks, eight hits and five stolen bases.

Grant Ainsworth and Jacob Thibodeau had Juneau’s hits.

Dimond and South have played twice this season, with South winning 7-1 on June 29 and Dimond winning 1-0 on July 6.

The state champion will represent Alaska at the Northwest Regional in Eugene, Oregon. The runner-up will play in the NWCART Championsips, a different regional tournament that features teams from Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana plus three Alaska teams [including Juneau Post 25 and Fairbanks Post 30]. The NWCART is held in Alaska every seven years.

Legion State Tournament, Mulcahy Stadium

Thursday’s Games

2 PM #8 South [18-12] vs. #6 Dimond [21-11]

6 PM If-Necessary Game 

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bats come alive for South, Juneau on Day 5 of State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2014

The South Post 4 baseball factory keeps spitting out players and the Wolverines keep winning.

South jumped all over Dimond Post 21 Tuesday afternoon, winning 14-1 in five innings in the first semifinal of the Alaska Legion State Baseball Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

South [18-12] advanced to the Legion state championship game for the second consecutive season and the fifth time since 2007.

Max Micks went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs to lead a Wolverines attack that banged out nine base hits and drew 11 walks.

Parker Johnson had two hits, two walks and two stolen bases. He also scored three runs. Alec Valdez also had two hits and scored three times. 

South’s Sage Dudick had two RBIs and pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Dimond’s Payton Lauwers and Jordan Clevenger had their team’s lone hits. 

The Lynx fell to 20-11 and will play Juneau Post 25 in an elimination game Wednesday morning.

Juneau beat Chugiak Post 33 by a 14-9 score in a consolation game earlier in the day to advance in the state tournament. The Midnight Suns collected 15 hits and 13 walks and got a strong start from Robert Markovich.

Markovich struck out seven batters over seven innings before Jacob Thibodeau and Nathan Klein finished things up out of the bullpen.

Steven Baseden had quite the day, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs and four runs. Teammate Michael Dale was 2-for-5 with three RBIs.

Chugiak’s Sam Hansen went 3-for-4 with a triple, RBI and a pair of runs. Jimmy Lanier pitched five innings of one-run relief.

Legion State Tournament, Mulcahy Stadium

Wednesday’s Game

11 AM #7 Juneau [20-10] vs. #6 Dimond [20-11]

Thursday Games

2 PM Championship Game: #8 South [18-12] vs. TBD

6 PM If-Necessary Game

Golden Heart City rivals to meet for Horizon Lines title

A Fairbanks team is guaranteed to win the inaugural Horizon Lines Invitational.

That’s because two teams from the Golden Heart City are in the championship game.

The Fairbanks Post 11 49ers won back-to-back games Tuesday at Bartlett High School, beating Bartlett Post 29 15-0 in the first game and Ketchikan Post 3 7-4 in the second game.

The 49ers needed both wins to advance to the title game against the Fairbanks Post 30 Wild.

In the first game, Taylor Geil tossed a three-hitter and the 49ers put the game away with an eight-run second inning and four-run fifth inning.

Derrick Overbay’s four RBIs led an offense that rapped out 11 base hits. Casey Lewandowski, Trent Chiu and Eric Grove all finished with two RBIs. Ryan Perdue had two hits, three runs and three stolen bases.

In the second game, Travis Wicken homered and finished with two RBIs for the winners. Jacob Kriebel and Lewandowski combined to pitch nine strong innings. Chui continued his hot bat with two more RBIs.

Ketchikan’s Austin Erickson went the distance on the mound and Shawn Sande went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Horizon Lines Invitational, Bartlett High School

Wednesday’s Games

2 PM #6 Fbx 11 49ers vs. #2 Fbx 30 Wild

6 PM If-Necessary Game

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Fairbanks 30 rolls into Horizon Lines championship game

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2014

The Fairbanks Post 30 Wild banged out 12 hits and got hitless relief from Terrell Ford en route to an 8-3 victory Monday night over Ketchikan Post 3 in the Horizon Lines Invitational at Bartlett High School.

Ford entered the game in the fifth inning with his team down 3-2. He didn’t allow a hit while walking three and striking out eight.

Seven of nine starters had base hits, including three apiece from Tyler Christmann and Camron Walker. Christmann drove in two runs and Michael Fitzpatrick scored twice and swiped two bags. Fairbanks took over with a six-run seventh inning.

Ketchikan’s Shawn Sande, Austin Erickson and Jackson Pool collected RBIs.

Earlier on Monday, Fairbanks Post 11 upset No. 1 seed Kodiak Post 15 by an 8-4 score and Bartlett Post 29 outlasted East Post 34 in 11 innings, 7-6.

Casey Lewandowski twirled a complete-game gem with 13 strikeouts for Fairbanks 11. He allowed only four hits and two walks in nine innings.

Jacob Kriebel and Derrick Overby each had two RBIs for the 49ers.

Kodiak’s Sam Bennett drove in two runs for the Islanders.

Bartlett’s victory was highlighted by a two-run 11th inning and a remarkable relief appearance by Dustin Mueller. 

The Golden Bears scored two runs after East had taken a 6-5 lead in the top of the 11th. 

Muller pitched 9.2 innings, scattering four hits and six walks. He allowed only one run, and it was unearned. He struck out five.

East starter Matthew Schnellbaecher had 10 Ks for the T-birds. Teammate Scott Campos had a heckuva day, stealing four bases, scoring three runs and throwing six innings of relief in which he gave up only one earned run.

Horizon Lines Invitational, Bartlett High School

Tuesday’s Games

12 PM Fairbanks 11 vs. Bartlett

3 PM Ketchikan vs. Fbx 11/Bartlett winner

Wednesday’s Games

2 PM Championship Game: Fairbanks 30 vs. TBD

6 PM If-Necessary Game

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Wasilla disqualified from State Tournament for ineligible player

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 28, 2014

Wasilla Post 35 has been disqualified from the Alaska Legion State Baseball Tournament, Legion officials announced tonight, after it was discovered that the Wasilla team used an ineligible player.

This player violated Alaska's dual participation rule which precludes players from other baseball activities when it causes a player to miss scheduled American Legion games in the process. The Legion season runs for approximately eight weeks from about early June through early August.

The information about the ineligible player was provided to members of the Alaska American Legion Baseball Committee on Sunday night and verified on Monday afternoon with calls to the other baseball organization that revealed the player did in fact attend the event outside of Alaska. The player in question missed American Legion scheduled games in that time period with his Wasilla team. 

This Alaska Legion Baseball policy has been in place for many years in the state and penalties are outlined in the Alaska American Legion rules. The 2014 Alaska Legion rules have been posted for several months at the state’s official Legion website.

The penalty forced Wasilla to forfeit today's 2-1 victory over Juneau during state tournament consolation play at Mulcahy Stadium and eliminated Wasilla from the tournament.

As a result, Juneau Post 25 will advance to play Chugiak Post 33 – an 11-8 winner over Kenai earlier Monday - on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The Alaska Department of American Legion Baseball Committee issued a statement:

“American Legion Baseball in Alaska believes that team loyalty is a key ingredient for any team sport. Some high school sports in Alaska have similar dictates limiting team participation during the high school season. The Alaska rule essentially applies only eight weeks out of the calendar year when the American Legion season takes place. The other 44 weeks of the year are open for players to attend other baseball activities in and out of the state of Alaska.”

Legion State Tournament, Mulcahy Stadium

Tuesday’s Games

10 AM #7 Juneau vs. #3 Chugiak – elimination game

1 PM #8 South vs. #6 Dimond – winner’s bracket

Dimond, South advance to semifinals at State Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 27, 2014

Pitching and defense defined Day 3 of the Alaska Legion State Tournament on Sunday, with both winning teams prevailing with shutouts.

Dimond blanked Juneau 10-0 in five innings in the early game at Mulcahy Stadium, with Jordan Clevenger tossing a five-hitter.

Clevenger struck out five and walked one. He also delivered a two-run double and scored for the sixth-seeded Lynx [20-10].

Preston Micheletto, Mason Anderson and Mahlon Cleveland also finished with two RBIs. Grant Remmer walked three times and scored twice.

Two of Juneau’s four hits went for extra bases, with Steven Basaden hitting a double and Kellen Johansen stroking a triple.

South went the distance in a 4-0 win over Kenai as starter Nick Jensen and reliever Sage Dudick combined on a six-hitter for the eighth-seeded Wolverines.

Jensen pitched the first seven innings, allowing four singles and a double but no walks. He fanned three. Dudick closed out the final two innings.

Dudick also got it done at the plate with two hits and two RBIs. 

South’s Jake Crapps had a single, a sac bunt and two RBIs.

Kenai’s Dallas Pierren tripled and Joshua Darrow had a pair of hits. Tyler Covey threw three innings of shutout relief of starter Klayton Justice.

Dimond and South will face in the state tournament’s first semifinal Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

Here is a look at the schedule for the next two days:

Legion State Tournament, Mulcahy Stadium

Monday

10 AM #5 Kenai vs. #3 Chugiak – elimination game

1 PM #7 Juneau vs. #1 Wasilla – elimination game

Tuesday

10 AM Consolation game [Monday’s winners]

1 PM #8 South vs. #6 Dimond – state semifinal 

Fairbanks 30, Ketchikan stay alive in Horizon Lines Invitational

One team rallied and another held on, but either way Fairbanks 30 and Ketchikan avoided elimination Sunday in the Horizon Lines Invitational at Bartlett High School.

Fairbanks 30 scored seven unanswered runs and got solid pitching from Tyler Christmann and Terrell Ford to highlight an 8-3 victory over Bartlett in a winner’s bracket game.

Adam Norton went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs. Benjamin Hall and Christmann each had an RBI for the Wild.

Bartlett’s Zach Schmidt had three hits and an RBI. Only two of the seven runs given by up starter Sean Breslin were earned. Alec and Ryan Dudley each doubled, the only extra-base hits of the game.

Ketchikan upset top seed Kodiak 7-4 after scoring in each of the first four innings to build a lead it never relinquished.

Starter Colton Paulsen was magnificent with a tournament record 15 strikeouts in eight innings. He allowed seven hits and two walks. Austin Erickson pitched the ninth for the save.

Jackson Pool drove in two runs for the Salmon and Paulsen joined Spencer Erickson in the two-hit club.

Frank Carlson and Jake Arnold each went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs for Kodiak.

Fairbanks 30 will face Ketchikan in the tournament’s first semifinal game, with the winner advancing to the title game.

Here is a look at Monday’s schedule:

Horizon Lines Invitational, Bartlett High School

Monday

11 AM Fairbanks 11 vs. Kodiak – elimination game

2:30 PM East vs. Bartlett – elimination game

6 PM Ketchikan vs. Fairbanks 30 - semifinal

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Chugiak, Wasilla survive on Day 2 of Legion State Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 26, 2014

A couple of division winners in the regular season got back on the winning track Saturday at the Alaska Legion State Tournament.

Defending state champion Chugiak and No. 1 Wasilla each picked up consolation victories at Mulcahy Stadium to avoid elimination on Day 2 of the tournament.

No. 3 Chugiak scored three runs over the final three innings in a 9-7 win over No. 2 Service.

Deven Ferriss, the team’s lone 19-year-old, recorded three hits, scored three runs, stole a base and picked up a save with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Chugiak’s Sam Hanson, Jimmy Lanier and Jared Phearson all drove in two runs apiece. John Ives scored twice.

Chugiak [19-12] plays again Monday.

Service’s Ryan Caron tripled, walked three times, stole two bases and scored twice. Brandon Sakamoto went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.

Service ended the season 20-8.

Wasilla jumped all over Eagle River for an 10-3 victory, scoring in each of the first five innings including four in the first.

Matt Palmer’s 4-for-4 performance led an 11-hit attack. Palmer also roped a double, swiped three bags and scored three times. 

Ben Ross went 2-for-3 with two walks and four RBIs, and Jacob Butcher was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

Ross is an all-state slugger who has delivered seven RBIs in two state tournament games.

Wasilla pitcher Dalton McHugill earned the win after tossing seven innings, scattering seven hits and two walks. He struck out seven.

Wasilla [24-6] has won more games than any other Alaska team. The Road Warriors will play again Monday.

Eagle River finished the season 18-10.

Here is Sunday’s schedule:

Legion State Tournament, Mulcahy Stadium

1 PM #7 Juneau [18-9] vs. #6 Dimond [19-10]

4 PM #8 South [16-12] vs. #5 Kenai [17-10]

Kodiak, Ketchikan advance in Horizon Lines Invitational

They got started a day late after getting rained out, so Kodiak and Ketchikan made up for lost time Saturday in the Horizon Lines Invitational at Bartlett High School.

Both teams secured first round wins in the consolation tournament, moving into the winner’s bracket with Bartlett and Fairbanks 30.

Top-seeded Kodiak beat West 15-4 in seven innings behind Jacob Arnold’s two-hitter. He struck out nine and walked five.

Austin Frick had two hits and five RBIs, and Jon Levan and Brandon Pickett combined to score seven times.

Ketchikan scored three runs over the final two innings, including two in the bottom of the ninth inning, to beat East 4-3.

Shawn Sande drove in three runs and Alec Simmons plated another run for the Salmons.

East’s Yerarmy Aristy-Valdez went 4-for-4 in the loss.

In loser’s bracket action, Fairbanks 11 beat Palmer 16-2 and East knocked off West 9-4.

Here is Sunday’s schedule:

Horizon Lines Invitational, Bartlett High School

1 PM #3 Bartlett vs. #2 Fairbanks 30

4 PM #4 Ketchikan vs. #1 Kodiak

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

State Tournament, Horizon Lines Invitational kick off postseason

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 25, 2014

The postseason is bigger and better than ever in American Legion Baseball in Alaska. All 16 Legion AA teams are alive for regional competition as playoff games begin today at three different fields in Anchorage.

The Legion State Tournament is at Mulcahy Stadium, where the top eight teams from the regular season advanced for the right to represent Alaska at the Northwest Regional in Eugene, Ore.

This is the first time Legion teams have had to qualify for the state tournament. In years past everybody was invited.

Wasilla clinched the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive year under manager Boone Thompson and leads all Alaska Legion AA teams with 47 league wins over the last three years.

Service earned the No. 2 in a tiebreaker over No. 3 Chugiak and Eagle River. Kenai is No. 5, Dimond No. 6, Juneau No. 7 and South No. 8. 

South had to beat Kodiak 3-1 on the final day of the regular season to clinch a berth to the state tournament.

The second-place and third-place teams at the state tournament will play in the NWCART, a regional tournament held in Anchorage this year for the first time in seven years. The tournament will also feature teams from Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana.

Kodiak will be the No. 1 seed at the inaugural Horizon Lines Invitational, a consolation tournament for the bottom eight teams in the state.

The Horizon Lines will take place at Bartlett High School and Taylar Young Memorial Field at South High School.

The Horizon Lines tournament also features Fairbanks 30, Bartlett, Ketchikan, East, Fairbanks 11, Palmer and West.

The winner of the Horizon Lines will be the third Alaska team to play in the NWCART, which will be held the second week of August at Mulcahy Stadium.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Upsets rule Day 1 of Legion State Tournament at Mulcahy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 25, 2014

It was a tough day to be a top seed Friday at the Alaska Legion State Baseball Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

All four top seeds lost first-round games, dropping into the consolation bracket.

Now the bottom four seeds dominate the winner’s bracket.

Here were the scores:

No. 6 Dimond 6, No. 3 Chugiak 3

No. 7 Juneau 13, No. 2 Service 8

No. 5 Kenai 9, No. 4 Eagle River 5

No. 8 South 11, No. 1 Wasilla 6

All four winners earned a day off Saturday. The losing teams will face off in elimination games Saturday afternoon.

At the Horizon Lines Invitational at Bartlett High School, Fairbanks 30 and Bartlett advanced.

Here is a look at Saturday’s schedule:

State Tournament, Mulcahy Stadium

1 PM Chugiak vs. Service

4 PM Eagle River vs. Wasilla

Horizon Lines Invitational, Bartlett High

9 AM East vs. Ketchikan

12 PM West vs. Kodiak

3 PM Palmer vs. Fairbanks 11

6 PM East/Ketchikan loser vs. West/Kodiak loser

2014 Team of Excellence All-State Alaska Legion Team

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 25, 2014

2014 Alaska Legion Baseball Team of Excellence All-State Team

[Legion coaches voted, stats from 18-game league season]

OUTFIELD 

Ryan Caron Service .396 AVG .568 OBP 18 RBI 24 Runs 0 HR 4 3B 7 2B 10 SB 

Cameron Fabacher Eagle River .393 AVG .493 OBP 15 RBI 23 Runs 0 HR 0 3B 5 2B

Spencer Floyd South .380 AVG .492 OBP 13 RBI 7 Runs 0 HR 1 3B 5 2B 9 SB

Payton Lauwers Dimond .410 AVG .551 OBP 32 RBI 32 Runs 3 HR 15 BB 24 SB

Jon Levan Kodiak .432 AVG .632 OBP 16 RBI 1 HR 5 3B 5 2B 22 BB

Brandon Neal Chugiak .400 AVG .565 OBP 15 RBI 19 Runs 0 HR 1 3B 2 2B 10 BB

INFIELD 

L.J. Felix West .444 AVG 1.065 OPS 16 RBI 14 Runs 1 HR 1 3B 3 2B 20 SB

Deven Ferriss Chugiak .346 AVG .562 OBP 12 RBI 27 Runs 0 HR 1 3B 2 2B 19 BB 1 E

Austin Frick Kodiak .427 AVG .446 OBP 18 RBI 1 HR 1 3B 7 2B 2 BB

Lauren Frost Eagle River .287 AVG .548 OBP 14 RBI 17 Runs 0 HR 0 3B 2 2B 6 SAC 23 BB

Tanner Petrie Juneau .457 AVG .552 OBP 9 RBI 14 Runs 0 HR 0 3B 3 2B 9 BB

Matt Schnellbecher East .405 AVG .450 OBP 7 RBI 9 Runs 0 HR 1 3B 3 2B

Hector A. Rivera Kenai .404 AVG .488 OBP 13 RBI 27 Runs 1 HR 1 3B 52B 16 SB 

Ben Ross Wasilla .482 AVG .625 OBP 22 RBI 15 Runs 4 HR 4 3B 4 2B 8 BB

Mike Rosenberg Eagle River .450 AVG .571 OBP 22 RBI 18 Runs 2 HR 3 3B 5 2B 0 E

UTILITY 

Tommy Bowe Kenai .377 AVG .436 OBP 15 RBI 14 Runs 1 HR 1 3B 3 2B

Gus Swanton Juneau .383 AVG .596 SLG 13 RBI 13 Runs 1 HR 0 3B 7 2B 9 BB 

Tristen Woods Service .452 AVG .500 OBP 13 RBI 6 Runs 0 HR 3 2B 1 3B 2 BB

CATCHER

Kenneth Griffin Kenai .420 AVG .510 OBP 15 RBI 21 Runs 0 HR 0 3B 4 2B 

Brandan Pickett Kodiak .385 AVG.540 OBP 15 RBI 0 HR 1 3B 5 2B 13 A

South Alec Valdez South .540 AVG .646 OBP 24 RBU 19 Runs 2 HR 3 3B 5 2B 14 SB

RELIEF PITCHER

Tyler Boensch Wasilla 2-1 W-L 2 Saves 2.13 ERA 12.2 IP 14 K  

Jacob Butcher Wasilla 1-0 W-L 2 Saves 2.81 ERA 16 IP 16 K 

RJ Dirscherl Eagle River 1-0 W-L 3 Saves 1.20 ERA 11.2 IP 15 K

Mike Shuler Service 4-1 W-L 2 Saves 1.22 ERA 19 IP 23 K

STARTING PITCHER 

Jake Arnold Kodiak 3-0 W-L 2.52 ERA 39.2 IP 36 K 1 NH

Scott Campos East 5-2 W-L 2.27 ERA 34 IP 56 K

Cameron Fabacher Eagle River 4-1 W-L 1.07 ERA 32 IP 28 K 7 PO

Josh Fetko Service 3-1 W-L 2.81 ERA 31 IP 28 K 

Nick Jensen South 2-4 W-L 2.50 ERA 36 IP 17 K

Nolan Monaghan Wasilla 3-1 W-L 1.33 ERA 27 IP 32 K

Tanner Petrie Juneau 5-1 W-L 1.71 ERA 45 IP 66 K

Dallas Pierren Kenai 3-1 W-L 3.37 ERA 32 IP 30 K 1 NH

COACHES OF THE YEAR 

Gregg Frost   Eagle River

Boone Thompson  Wasilla

Willie Paul    Service

Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament heats up heading into weekend

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 18, 2014

The annual Legion A Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament is getting down to business after the field was trimmed down to four teams Friday night.

South and Service are the only two teams remaining in the winner's backet and will face off in the tournament's first semifinal game Saturday at 11 .m. at Oberg Field.

In the loser's bracket, Chugiak and Eagle River will play an elimination game Saturday at 1:45 p.m. at Oberg. The winner will advance to the second semifinal against the South-Service loser at 4:30 p.m.

The tournament's title game is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, with the if-necessary game at 1:30. Both games at Oberg.

Legion A Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament Scores

Chugiak 11, Fairbanks 11 6

Eagle River 12, Fairbanks 30 8

Service 6, Fairbanks 11 5

South 18, Eagle River 8

Chugiak 4, Dimond 2

Eagle River 10, Fairbanks 30 3

South 14, Dimond 4

Service 4, Chugiak 0

Columbia [TN] beats South 5-0 for BP Invitational championship

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 13, 2014

After playing to a tie in their first meeting, Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee and South Post 4 had unfinished business in Sunday’s championship game.

The rematch was one sided

Charter Helton threw a five-hit shutout and tournament MVP Carter Bair drove in two runs as Columbia beat South 5-0 at Mulcahy Stadium in the 20th annual BP Invitational.

It was the second BP championship for Columbia since 2012, improving Mickey McKeel’s team to 9-1-1 in Anchorage.

Helton was lights out for seven innings, walking just one and striking out five. He was really never in any danger.

Bair and Taylor Gilbert each had 2 RBIs. Jake Usher also drove in a run. Five different players scored for Post 19.

South’s Parker Johnson had two hits for the Wolverines, who were looking to become the first Alaska team to win the BP championship since Dimond in 2010.

South and Columbia played to a 4-4 tie on Saturday, playing 10 innings before the 2-hour, 15-minute time limit. Tonight’s game was played in fewer than 90 minutes. 

“I’m really proud of the way they pulled together and hung in there against a very good team from the Lower 48,” South manager Cliff Butcher told me. “We had a blast.”

Bair was named tournament MVP after batting .375 in five tournament games, including .428 in two games against South. He drove in four runs, including two of the first three runs in the title tilt.

Columbia shortstop Peyton Sockwell won the Gold Glove award with a 1.000 fielding percentage – zero errors on 21 fielding attempts [13 putouts, 8 assists]. He also helped turn three double plays.

The top pitcher was Chris Crosby of Team Avenue. Crosby threw a no-hitter against South and didn’t allow a hit or a walk in 9.2 innings. He struck out 13.

The Big Stick award went to Canadian Jared Kennedy from the Strathmore Reds of Alberta. He went 8-for-14 for a .571 batting average. He also had four RBIs in four games.

Earlier in the day, Team Avenue beat Dimond 9-7 and Chugiak knocked off Eagle River 12-2. In the semifinals, Columbia beat Strathmore 2-0 and South beat Colchester, Vermont, 8-2 behind the trio of Nick Lopetrone, Max Micks and Spencer Floyd, who combined for seven RBIs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

After playing to a tie in their first meeting, Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee and South Post 4 had unfinished business in Sunday’s championship game.

The rematch was one sided

Charter Helton threw a five-hit shutout and tournament MVP Carter Bair drove in two runs as Columbia beat South 5-0 at Mulcahy Stadium in the 20th annual BP Invitational.

It was the second BP championship for Columbia since 2012, improving Mickey McKeel’s team to 9-0-1 in Anchorage.

Helton was lights out for seven innings, walking just one and striking out five. He was really never in any danger.

Bair and Taylor Gilbert each had 2 RBIs. Jake Usher also drove in a run. Five different players scored for Post 19.

South’s Parker Johnson had two hits for the Wolverines, who were looking to become the first Alaska team to win the BP championship since Dimond in 2010.

South and Columbia played to a 4-4 tie on Saturday, playing 10 innings before the 2-hour, 15-minute time limit. Tonight’s game was played in fewer than 90 minutes. 

“I’m really proud of the way they pulled together and hung in there against a very good team from the Lower 48,” South manager Cliff Butcher told me. “We had a blast.”

Bair was named tournament MVP after batting .375 in five tournament games, including .428 in two games against South. He drove in four runs, including two of the first three runs in the title tilt.

Columbia shortstop Peyton Sockwell won the Gold Glove award with a 1.000 fielding percentage – zero errors on 21 fielding attempts [13 putouts, 8 assists]. He also helped turn three double plays.

The top pitcher was Chris Crosby of Team Avenue. Crosby threw a no-hitter against South and didn’t allow a hit or a walk in 9.2 innings. He struck out 13.

The Big Stick award went to Canadian Jared Kennedy from the Strathmore Reds of Alberta. He went 8-for-14 for a .571 batting average. He also had four RBIs in four games.

Earlier in the day, Team Avenue beat Dimond 9-7 and Chugiak knocked off Eagle River 12-2. In the semifinals, Columbia beat Strathmore 2-0 and South beat Colchester, Vermont, 8-2 behind the trio of Nick Lopetrone, Max Micks and Spencer Floyd, who combined for seven RBIs.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South to represent Alaska in final four at BP Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 12, 2014

It was the longest game in 20 years of the BP Invitational, and one of the greatest too.

South Post 4 and Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee played to a 4-4 tie Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium, packing 10 innings into the 2-hour, 15-minute time limit. Tournament games are seven innings, except the championship game.

South led 1-0. Columbia led 2-1. South led 3-2. Tennessee tied it with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and in the tenth had a player thrown out at the plate trying to score from third on a wild pitch.

Columbia’s Will Norwood went 3-for-5 and clubbed a solo home run. Teammate Taylor Gilbert also was 3-for-5. Starter Ben Wright pitched nine innings with seven Ks.

Five of South’s 13 hits went for extra bases and four players had two hits apiece [Nick Jensen, Spencer Floyd, Jake Crapps and Max Micks.]

South’s victory – coupled with Chugiak Post 33’s 9-0 victory over Team Avenue Academy – vaulted the Wolverines into Sunday’s semifinals of the BP Invitational, the marquee event of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

South will face the Colchester Cannons of Vermont in the second semifinal at 2:15 p.m. Columbia will face the Strathmore Reds of Alberta, Canada, in the first semifinal at 11:45 a.m.

Sunday’s championship game is at 7:30 p.m.

Colchester was the lone team to win all three games in pool play, culminating with an 8-2 win over Eagle River in the morning game.

Nick Lamphere went 3-for-4, Jared Rylant tripled and had two RBIs, and Brett McAllister drove in three runs.

Eagle River’s runs were batted in by Mike Rosenberg and Cameron Fabacher. RJ Dirscherl swiped three bags.

Columbia played twice Saturday; Post 19 also beat Team Avenue 6-1 after its game against South.

The team from Tennessee scored three runs in each of the fourth and sixth innings to secure a spot in the semifinals and run its unbeaten streak at the BP Invitational to eight games [7-0-1].

Columbia won the 2012 BP trophy under manager Mickey McKeel.

In Chugiak’s win, starting pitching Jimmy Lanier tossed a four-hit shutout against the team that won last week’s Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla as part of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

Lanier walked one and struck out four. His teammates managed five hits, with three of them being doubles. Deven Ferriss and Matthew Hess each had 2 RBIs.

In the nightcap, the Strathmore Reds hung on to beat a hard-charging Dimond Post 21 squad by a 5-4 score. The Lynx scored all four runs over the sixth and seventh innings and ended the game with the tying run at third base.

Dustin Caplett collected three RBIs for the winners. Starter Quentin Kopjar got the win and Aaron McCarty earned a four-out save.

Here is Sunday's BP Invitational schedule at Mulcahy Stadium:

9:15 AM Dimond Post 21 vs. Team Avenue [CA]

11:45 AM Strathmore [CAN] vs. Columbia Post 19 [TN]

2:15 PM Colchester [VT] vs. South Post 4

5 PM Eagle River vs. Chugiak Post 33

**7:30 PM Championship game [winners of 11:45 a.m. & 2:15 p.m. semifinals]

 **93.7-FM radio

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Outside teams dominate Day 2 of BP Invitational; no-no thrown

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 11, 2014

All four visiting teams flexed their muscles on Day 2 of the 20th annual BP Invitational, with Team Avenue pitcher Chris Crosby throwing a no-hitter to highlight Friday’s five-game schedule at Mulcahy Stadium.

Crosby flirted with a perfect game had it not been for errors before settling for a no-no [no hits, no walks] in a 4-0 win over South Post 4. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound right hander from Mississippi struck out eight.

Team Avenue, which is based out of California but features players from several different states, banged out nine hits, including two apiece from Zach Fernandez and Skyler Waltrip. Four different players collected RBIs.

South starter Bryce Schwartz pitched six innings.

The annual American Legion baseball tournament also features Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee, the Colchester Cannons of Vermont and the Strathmore Reds from Alberta, Canada.

Columbia – the champions of the 2012 BP Invitational – also blanked an Alaska team, with a 6-0 win over Chugiak Post 33 behind Dylan Stewart’s complete-game effort.

Stewart struck out nine and walked two.

Columbia outhit Chugiak 9-4 and took command with a five-spot in the second inning. William Pilkinton and Jake Usher had two hits apiece, and Peyton Sockwell drove in two runs.

Chugiak’s Devin Ferriss reached base all three hits with two singles and a walk. Sam Hanson pitched six innings.

The Colchester Cannons of Vermont won both games, beating Dimond Post 21 6-4 and the Strathmore Reds of Alberta 7-4.

In the first game, Colchester rallied from an early 4-1 deficit with a five-run third inning keyed by patience at the plate [six walks] and eagerness on the base paths [eight stolen bases].

Dimond starter Grant Remmer struck out 11 and settled down nicely with three shutout innings in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

In the second game, Colchester scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie. Jared Rylant delivered four RBIs.

Strathmore’s loss overshadowed Jared Kennedy’s 4-for-4 performance.

The Canadians also beat Eagle River 7-6 on the day, but the scoring system on the iPad crashed so we don’t have stats.

Here is Saturday's BP Invitational schedule at Mulcahy Stadium:

9:15 AM Colchester [VT] vs. Eagle River

11:45 AM Columbia [TN] vs. South 

2:15 PM Columbia [TN] vs. Team Avenue [CA]

**5 PM Chugiak vs. Team Avenue [CA]

**7:30 PM Dimond vs. Strathmore [CAN]

**93.7-FM radio

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Eagle River, South win on Day 1 of 20th annual BP Invitational

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 10, 2014

Eagle River and South Post 4 both picked up comfortable wins today on the first day of the 20th annual BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium. 

Eagle River beat Dimond 6-3 and South defeated Chugiak Post 33 14-5.

The American Legion baseball tournament continues Friday with five games, starting at 9:15 a.m.

Eagle River scored five runs in the bottom of the second inning to pave the way to victory in pool play. All tournament games are seven innings.

RJ Dirscherl went 3-for-3 and Lauren Frost had two hits to lead an 8-hit attack. Both players drove in runs as six different Eagle River batters had an RBI. Dirscherl also scored three runs.

Cameron Fabacher started and pitched well, holding Dimond to four hits and a run over four innings. Guido Gerali and Dirscherl combined for three shutout innings out of the pen.

Dimond, which won the Midnight Sun Tournament in Fairbanks last month in the first stop of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour, managed its only run in the first inning.

Preston Micheletto had two hits and scored the lone run.

South benefitted from nine hits and 12 walks to reach double figures in the run column.

Jonah Costello went 3-for-4 and Max Micks was 2-for-4, with both players picking up a pair of RBIs.

The Wolverines also had seven stolen bases, including two apiece from Alec Valdez and Parker Johnson.

South starter Brendon Hayhurst picked up the win. He gave up five hits and three runs, although none were earned. He also didn’t walk anybody.

The BP Invitational continues Friday with action involving the four Outside teams – Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee; Team Avenue Baseball Academy of California, the Colchester Cannons from Vermont and the Strathmore Reds of Alberta, Canada.

Here is Friday’s BP Invitational schedule at Mulcahy Stadium:

9:15 AM Dimond vs. Colchester [VT]

11:45 AM Strathmore [CAN] vs. Colchester [VT]

**2:15 PM Strathmore [CAN] vs. Eagle River

**5 PM South vs. Team Avenue [CA]

7:30 PM Columbia [TN] vs. Chugiak

**93.7-FM radio

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Rain washes away games in Kenai, but BP begins at Mulcahy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 10, 2014

Bad news, rain washed away today's games at the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai.

The good news? The 20th annual BP Invitational begins today with a pair of early games - 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

The marquee event of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour continues through the weekend, with five games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Bad news, rain washed away today's games at the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai.

The good news? The 20th annual BP Invitational begins today with a pair of early games - 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

The marquee event of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour continues through the weekend, with five games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Service reaches title game of wood bat tourney, opponent TBD

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 9, 2014

The Service Post 28 baseball team today reached the championship game of the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai with a 6-3 victory over host Post 20 at Oiler Park.

Then it started to rain and the second semifinal was pushed back a day.

Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee and the Strathmore Reds of Alberta, Canada, will square off at 9 a.m. Thursday morning at Oiler Park.

The winner will face Service in the title game at noon.

Service, Columbia [TN] win pool play at Bill Miller Wood Bat

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 8, 2014

Both Alaska teams more than held their own during the first day of the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai.

Service Post 28 won a game and tied another while Kenai Post 20 won a game during American Legion action.

Service beat the Strathmore Reds of Alberta, Canada, 2-1 after tying Team Avenue of California 4-4 earlier in the day. Service won the tiebreaker to be awarded the victory in the tournament standings.

Kenai beat Colchester, Vermont, 8-0.

Columbia Post 19 from Tennessee swept both of its games today, beating Vermont 3-2 and Kenai 11-2.

The Canadians opened the day with a 6-1 win over Team Avenue.

The Bill Miller Wood Bat Tournament continues Wednesday with three games:

9 AM Colchester [VT] vs. Team Avenue [CA]

12 PM Service vs. Kenai

3 PM Strathmore [CAN] vs. Columbia [TN]

The tournament concludes Thursday with three games, including a noon championship game between the winners of tomorrow's 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. semifinals.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Team Avenue of California happy to be part of Alaska Airlines Tour

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 8, 2014

Drawing interest from players all over the country, the Team Avenue Baseball Academy didn’t have trouble filling its roster for a trip to The Last Frontier.

“You really don’t have to sell Alaska,” manager Thomari Story-Harden told me. “Our players were excited about the opportunity. They knew if it wasn’t for baseball they probably would never come.”

The same could be said about Alaska Airlines.

The title sponsor for the annual Alaska American Legion tournament series provided teams with discounted tickets to make the long journey north more cost effective. The Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour makes stops in Fairbanks, Wasilla, Kenai and Anchorage.

Team Avenue, which is stationed in California but features players from multiple states, won the tour’s second stop at the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla, beating the host team 4-2 in Sunday’s championship game.

That made the team 4-0 in Alaska.

“We feel blessed to have this opportunity to come to Alaska and experience such hospitable players and coaches,” Story-Harden said. “Our players left it all on the field and we ended up winning every game. The other teams really made us work for what we accomplished.”

The players from Team Avenue met for the first time in Los Angeles to catch an Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage. They are from California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Mississippi and Massachusetts.

“We have to gel in a short amount of time,” Story-Harden said. “It’s always seems as if it was meant to be. The players play as if they have been playing together since they were 5 years old. Very impressive to watch.”

Team Avenue is one of four Outside teams participating in the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament, which starts today in Kenai. The other visiting teams are the Strathmore Reds out of Alberta, Canada; Colchester, Vermont; and Columbia, Tennessee.

Columbia Post 19 was here two years ago.

Team Avenue already wants to come back.

“Alaska is the most beautiful place I have ever seen,” Story-Harden said. “We went out on a tour boat [Monday]. The glaciers and wildlife are breathtaking. I see why there are a lot of transplants from other states that move here. Our players have had a blast thus far. We hope to continue to experience Alaska’s greatness.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Wasilla, Team Avenue in Todd Ryan title game Sunday

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 5, 2014

The Wasilla Post 35 baseball team has made it to the title game of its own tournament.

The Road Warriors punched their ticket with a 2-1 victory over Bartlett Post 29 in the semifinal of the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament at McManus Field.

Wasilla will face the Team Avenue Baseball Academy of California. Team Avenue edged Colchester, Vermont, in a 1-0 thriller in the other semifinal.

Team Avenue is 3-0 in Alaska.

The Todd Ryan Tournament wraps up Sunday with three games:

12 PM Palmer vs. Bartlett

3 PM Colchester [VT] vs. East

6 PM Team Avenue [CA] vs. Wasilla [title game]

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Bartlett, Team Avenue on top after pool play at Todd Ryan

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 5, 2014

The rebirth of the Bartlett Post 29 baseball team continued today at the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla.

The Bears beat Colchester, Vermont, 8-6 at McManus Field to win Pool B and improve to 11-8-1 on the American Legion season. Bartlett won the pool with three points; Vermont was second with two points and Palmer third with one point.

In Pool A, the Team Avenue Baseball Academy of California swept two Alaska teams today to finish with four points. Team Avenue beat East Post 34 11-5 and Wasilla Post 35 12-9.

It was only Wasilla’s third loss in 13 games this season. The Road Warriors – the tournament host – finished second after pool play with two points; East was third.

The tournament continues Saturday with three games:

12 PM East vs. Palmer

3 PM Wasilla vs. Bartlett

6 PM Colchester [VT]  vs. Team Avenue [CA]

The winners from the 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. games will meet for the championship Sunday night.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage the the ALB Media Director.

Dimond Post 21 wins Midnight Sun tourney title in Fairbanks

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 23, 2014

Backed by solid pitching and timely hitting, Dimond Post 21 recorded a 4-0 mark in Fairbanks over the weekend to win the annual Midnight Sun Tournament.

Dimond swept both Fairbanks teams in four consecutive close games, winning twice by one run and once by two runs.

Dimond has won eight of nine games to begin the season.

Payton Lauwers earned MVP honors after hitting .357 in the tournament with two singles, two doubles and a three-run home run. He finished with six RBIs and a .438 on-base percentage.

In the team’s first game, Lauwers hit a game-tying home run and then eventually scored the winning game. In the final game his RBI base hit solidified a 6-2 win.

He was hardly the only all-star. Dimond was full of them during the tournament title run.

“Every single game could have gone either way so it made for exciting baseball coming down to the final couple innings,” Dimond assistant manager Cherie Remmer told me. “We had some very good pitching from a variety of players. We walked very few batters, which reduced the opportunity for cheap runs. We were able to take advantage of a few errors to manufacture runs and our bats woke up at key times to give us the win.”

The Midnight Sun Tournament is part of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour, which also includes stops in Wasilla, Kenai and Anchorage. The next tournament is the Todd Ryan Memorial at McManus Field, which runs July 3-6 in Wasilla.

Fairbanks Post 30 took second in the tournament and Fairbanks Post 11 placed third.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Spink hits reset button, starts new scoreless streak

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 20, 2014

They say relievers must have a short memory in baseball because they pitch so often.

Conor Spink of Eagle River can relate.

Three days after having his career-high 26.2-inning consecutive scoreless streak snapped, the southpaw setup man with the Lincoln Saltdogs got to work on a new streak.

The 26-year-old threw goose eggs in back-to-back appearances this week, including a four-out hold in a 6-5 win over St. Paul in the American Association, an independent pro league in the Midwest.

Spink, of Chugiak High fame, lowered his ERA to 0.57 in 15.2 innings over 11 games this season. Opposing batters are hitting just .172 against the lefty. 

The last time he gave up an earned run was Aug. 6, 2013.

He didn’t give up another one until June 18, 2014.

For his pro career Spink has a 2.99 ERA in 76 relief appearances.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

They don’t call Juneau the bears for nothing

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 17, 2014

An Alaska Legion Baseball game made national news this week after video footage showed a black bear visiting this weekend’s game featuring the West Post 1 and Juneau Post 25 in Juneau.

The bear showed up in left field in the fifth inning.

Here is the link: http://archipelagowebcasting.com, courtesy of Larry Johansen.

“Only in Alaska,” Johansen told me.

The clip has gone viral.

“I’m getting calls from ABC News, CNN, AP,” Johansen said. “It’s gone worldwide. ESPN wants to show it. Do the West kids know they are stars and might be on SportsCenter tonight?”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Have arm, will travel; Nading now pitching in Japan

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 15, 2014

Chad Nading’s love for baseball has taken the Anchorage right-handed pitcher all over the country and now all the way to Japan, where he is playing for the Ishikawa Million Stars.

The 26-year-old has been with the team since March, used as a reliever in late-game situations. He’s happy he made the move and believes it was the right decision to extend his career.

“Before coming to Japan I was very nervous to make such a big decision at this point of my career, but once I landed I was greeted with open arms and became very comfortable,” he told me. “New country, new culture and new opportunities to succeed in the game I love, it’s more than I could ask for.” 

Nading, of East High fame, had pitched professionally in the minor leagues for a last few years, including a stint last year at extended spring training with the Boston Red Sox.

Last November he attended a two-day tryout for Japanese scouts in Fresno, Calif., where he threw well enough to get drafted by the Ishikawa Million Stars. Nading is probably the only Alaska baseball player to be drafted by the MLB and BCL in Japan. 

The 6-foot-5 Alaskan has changed his delivery, throwing more side arm as opposed to over the top like he used to.

“I have become comfortable and committed to it,” he said. “I have been doing well. I am as good as I can be to show the major leagues I can compete with the best here in Japan.”

The game is the same, but different.

The pitching mounds feature soft sand, rather than hard dirt. There is more small-ball strategy, with a bunt, hit and run or stolen base attempt each inning. They practice six hours, not two.

The hitters have a different approach.

“Japanese hitters aren’t trying to hit home runs every swing like American players,” he said. “They just look to make contact and force the defense to make plays.”

Japanese pitchers also throw a ton on the side.

“I have witnesses teammates throw up to 160-pitch bullpens back-to-back days, something you would never see in America,” he said. 

And the fans don’t boo or leave early.

“Every game sounds like the World Cup with cheering sections of trumpets and drums and people chanting every single pitch,” Nading said. “The Japanese live for baseball. Fans here don’t worry about beating traffic; they stick around to the last pitch and then for another hour afterwards to greet us with gifts and food and just to say ‘Good job.’”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Spink extends scoreless streak to 26 innings with Saltdogs

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 9, 2014

Left-handed pitching is so exclusive in baseball that players can stick around the game longer than most.

But Conor Spink of Eagle River is proving he isn’t some token southpaw.

The 26-year-old relief pitcher hasn’t allowed an earned run since August of last year.

That’s 26 consecutive scoreless innings over 16 appearances with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association, an independent pro league that has featured other Alaskans such as Matt Way, Corey Madden, Joey Newby and Jamar Hill over the years.

Spink, of Chugiak High fame, is a setup guy that continued his scoreless streak in a 3-2 loss to Amarillo. He entered a 2-2 game in the eighth inning, allowing a two-out base hit before getting out of the inning with a groundout to third base.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound lefty is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 12.1 innings this year.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Scooter Bynum drafted in 18th round by Cincinnati Reds

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 7, 2014

The first time the Cincinnati Reds called Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks they were feeling him out.

Then they called back five minutes later.

“They told me they were going to draft me in the 18th round,” Bynum told me.

The Reds made it official moments later when they selected the 18-year-old centerfield from Monroe Catholic on the third day of the Major League Baseball Draft.

“It’s an honor, man,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

Bynum is only the second non-pitcher from Alaska to be drafted in the top 20, joining Anchorage third baseman Trajan Langdon, a sixth-round pick in 1994.

The reigning Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year said he turned down the contract offer by the Reds and will instead attend Arizona Western College this fall.

“I’m going to school,” he said. “It was real hard to turn down, but I need to work for the future. I’ll just try to get better and see where I go next year.”

Bynum plans to play this summer for the Fairbanks Goldpanners of the Alaska Baseball League.

Tony Wylie, of Anchorage, is a part of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau and has experience with players in the draft. He believes the Reds will come back with a better offer.

“I think there will probably be some follow up discussions within the organization,” Wylie told me. “I don’t know what their offer was, but no matter what they offer it has to include his education or he shouldn’t even consider it.”

Regardless what Bynum does in the next year, Wylie sees the 6-foot-1, left-handed hitter has the tools to be a professional.

“I would think if he goes down to Western Arizona and performs and improves like I believe he will, in about 364 days from now we should see his name again,” Wylie said.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Notable MLB Draft picks from Alaska

  • 2000 Brian Montalbo P Anchorage 4 Atlanta
  • 2009 Matt Way P Sitka 5 Philadelphia  
  • 2012 Dylan Baker P Juneau 5 Cleveland  
  • 1994 Trajan Langdon 3B Anchorage 6 San Diego  
  • 2001 Chad Bentz P Juneau 7 Montreal  
  • 1990 Marshall Boze P Soldotna 12 Milwaukee  
  • 2001 Chris Mabeus P Soldotna 13 Oakland  
  • 2008 Chris Aure P North Pole 15 Pittsburgh  
  • 2014 Scooter Bynum OF  Fairbanks 18 Cincinnati  
  • 2006 Corey Madden P Anchorage 21 Florida  

**Boze, Bentz and Mabeus are only 3 Alaskans to play MLB

Sitka holds off South 11-10 in superb state title game

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 7, 2014

They had everything to lose, yet in the end the Sitka Wolves were the big winners.

They faced pressure from the expectation of having home-field advantage and playing defending state champion South in the championship game. They also had pressure to send longtime manager Ed Conway out on top.

Sitka won the biggest game in school history, in the rain, holding off South 11-10 in a three-hour slugfest at Moller Park that featured 18 hits, a grand slam and five lead changes. There was drama until the last pitch.

Sitka reliever Erickson Fish struck out South’s Willy Homza and Spencer Floyd with the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh inning to seal the deal.

“This is the best feeling of my life,” Fish told me. “It was crazy. I knew I had ‘em. Sometimes you just got that feeling. I knew it all year.”

Sitka [18-8] secured the school’s fourth baseball state championship, adding to the titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007 the Wolves won under Conway and his coaching staff. Conway has been the bench boss for nearly 20 years and he made the state final five times.

“The whole coaching staff, they’ve been there forever,” Fish said. “It’s the best way they could leave. They’ve done a great job over the years. For them to leave with a championship under their best; they’ve got four now. It’s something they’ll never forget. I’ll never forget.”

It’s a classic championship game nobody will ever forget.

Sitka took a 4-0 lead after the first inning only to see South roar back in the second inning and take a 6-4 lead after Alec Valdez cracked a grand slam. It was the second home run for Valdez in three days.

Sitka tied it at 6-6 in the third inning on Trevor Coleman’s two-run double and eventually took an 8-6 lead later in the same inning. In the fourth inning, though, South battled back to take a 9-8 lead on a Jacob Crapps two-run single.

In the fifth inning, Sitka went up 11-9 on an RBI single from Caleb Suarez and looked for more on Brian Way’s single, but South left fielder Nick Jensen gunned out the base runner at the plate.

In the sixth inning, Floyd’s one-out double set the table for South to inch closer at 11-10 when he scored on Jonah Costello’s base knock. But then Way shut the door. The big righty took over for starter Fred Elliott in the fourth and ended both the fifth and sixth innings with strikeouts. 

Way [2 Wins, grand slam] and Fish [8-for-11, Win, Save] highlighted the all-tournament team and probably could have shared MVP honors.

“It was so fun. I was excited for the game the whole day,” Fish said. “It was definitely nerve wrecking though.”

The South players have no reason to hang their heads. The Wolverines won 14 of 17 games this year, captured the Cook Inlet Conference pennant and advanced to the state final for the third time in four years.

“We did everything but win the state championship,” South manager Cliff Butcher told me. “We battled to the end. We are ready to come home.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Alaska State Champions

2014 Sitka

2013 South

2012 Juneau

2011 South

2010 Juneau

2009 Dimond

2008 Juneau

2007 Sitka

2006 Sitka

2005 Sitka

2004 Kodiak

2003 Juneau

2002 Juneau

2001 Service

2000 East

Sitka, South steamroll into state championship game

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 6, 2014

Brian Way grew up watching Ed Conway coach the Sitka baseball team to prominence, turning one of the smallest schools into a giant on the diamond.

Tonight, Way helped Conway reach his final state title game.

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound slugger crushed a grand slam in the fourth inning to cap a 10-run outburst as the Sitka Wolves hammered Wasilla 14-0 in the semifinals of the 2014 ASAA/FNBA state tournament at Moller Park.

This is Conway’s final season after almost 20 years.

“It feels really good to get to the state championship game,” Way told me. “We gotta send Ed out a winner.”

Standing in the way is big, bad South.

“They’ve always put together a good team,” Way said.

The defending state champion Wolverines blanked Colony 4-0 in the other semifinal behind pitcher Sage Dudick’s 3-hit beauty. He gave up just one hit after the first inning, settling down nicely.

The shutout propelled South into the state final for the third time in the last four years. The Wolverines won in 2013 and 2011.

“One game away from our goal,” South manager Cliff Butcher told me. “Sage pitched a gem. We needed a quick game after the marathon against Juneau. He just did a great job keeping Colony off balance.”

A day earlier, South beat Juneau 7-6 in 15 innings in the longest game in state tournament history. In that game, South starter Nick Jensen struck out 16 in nine innings.

Dudick was just as effective, but in a different way. 

“He did a great job of changing speeds and pitching to contact. You don’t need strikeouts. You just need outs,” Butcher said.

 South led 2-0 before Tommy Koloski’s big two-run double made it 4-0. 

The Cook Inlet Conference champion Wolverines improved to 14-2 on the year. 

Sitka improved to 17-8 on the year and reached the state championship game for the fifth time in school history, but the first since 2008.

The Wolves are the only Alaska team to win three consecutive state titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007. They were second in 2008.

Under Conway, Sitka has won 13 winner’s bracket games at the state tournament, second only to Juneau’s 17. 

Way’s older brother, Matt, helped Conway win his first state title at Sitka and little bro would like to help the coach win his last. But he can’t get carried away with emotions.

“I just go out there and try to do whatever I can to help me team. I’ve been doing the job I guess,” Way said.

He started the state opener and pitched into the seventh in a 10-4 win over Eagle River. Then he crushed a grand slam, his sixth home run of the year.

The only Sitka player hotter at the plate is Erickson Fish, who has banged out four extra-base hits in two games; three doubles last night and a two-run triple tonight that got the party started.

“He was hot all the way through regions. He’s just not cooling down,” Way said. “We’ve really turned it on when we needed to.”

Saturday’s state title game is at 4 p.m.

Follow the game live at asbn.net or asaa.org/baseball.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

ASAA State Tournament

Friday Scores

Semifinals

South 4, Colony 0

Sitka 14, Wasilla 0

Consolation

Lathrop 5, Juneau 2

West Valley 7, Eagle River 4

Saturday’s Schedule

Fourth place Lathrop vs. West Valley

Third place Wasilla vs. Colony

Championship South vs. Sitka

South survives, joins Sitka, Colony, Wasilla in semifinals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 6, 2014

It was the longest baseball game in the history of the high school state tournament, and maybe the greatest.

The South Wolverines outlasted the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears 7-6 in 15 innings Thursday during the first round of the 2014 ASAA/FNBA state tournament at Moller Park in Sitka.

The marathon game capped a great day of action that saw Colony edge Lathrop 7-6, Wasilla nip West Valley 5-4 and Sitka beat Eagle River 10-4.

In the game of the day, South and Juneau produced an instant classic with big hits, big plays and big heart. 

South and Juneau have combined to win every state title since 2010, with Juneau winning in 2010, South in 2011, Juneau in 2012 and South in 2013.

Neither team wanted the streak to end. 

South tied it at 2-2 in the seventh with a solo home run. Juneau tied it at 3-3 in the 13th with a solo home run. Then South went up 7-3 in the top of the 15th only to see Juneau plate three runs in the bottom half.

There was never a dull moment.

“Two good programs showed their pride tonight in a game that they had to win,” South manager Cliff Butcher told me. “South survived a great performance by a great team. We are thankful to still have a chance to defend our state championship. Our hats are off to Juneau.”

The previous longest game in state tournament history came in 2005 when Sitka beat Homer 9-6 in 14 innings in Fairbanks.

Thursday was a good day for the South Central Conference, which saw both teams [Wasilla, Colony] advance to the final four. It’s the first time a Valley team has made the state semifinals since 2008.

South is used to being here; the Wolverines have now made the semifinals four years in a row. This time it came in record fashion.

“We are excited and exhausted,” Butcher said. “It’s time to get some food and some rest, and get ready for a good Colony team.”

The late semifinal pits a wonderful Wasilla team against a super Sitka squad. Wasilla has just one loss this year while the hometown boys are looking to capture the school’s first state title since 2007.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Friday’s State Schedule

Consolation Bracket

10 AM Lathrop vs. Juneau

1 PM West Valley vs. Eagle River

Semifinals

4 PM South vs. Colony

7 PM Wasilla vs. Sitka

**To watch the games live, go to asaa.org/baseball.

Bynum expected to be picked in MLB Draft this week

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 4, 2014

There doesn’t seem to be much doubt Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks will get his name called in the Major League Baseball Draft, which begins Thursday.

The only question is which round.

Anchorage’s Tony Wylie of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau expects the 6-foot-1, left-handed hitting centerfielder will get drafted based on the 15 or so teams that have contacted him about Bynum, the most promising hitter to come out of Alaska in 20 years.

“His athleticism is obviously a factor,” Wylie told me. “Because he is so raw due to a lack of playing time from living in Alaska, teams may shy away and wait until the later rounds or take a chance and draft him higher.”

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic fame, hit .632 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in eight games during the high school season.

But that almost doesn’t count. What matters is how well the 18-year-old did during two separate visits to Arizona, first hitting .444 at the Fall Classic in October and then hitting .583 during an exhibition showcase series facing professional pitchers in March.

“More than one MLB scout told me he was the most athletic player they had seen in last year’s Arizona Fall Classic tournament,” Wylie said. “That’s quite a statement because there were over 1,200 players from some of the best teams in the nation.”

Bynum, 18, graduated from Monroe Catholic with honors and has already signed to play baseball this fall at Arizona Western College.

“I’ve already decided to go to college and I want to go to college this year,” Bynum told me.

At the same time, though, the draft could present him with a life-changing opportunity. If drafted in the right situation, he would consider turning pro.

“It depends on what the situation is, what the offer is, what team, all that good stuff,” Bynum said. “To even be considered a draft prospect is cool. My mom and I are really excited. We’re hoping to get a call.”

 There is a lot to like with Bynum, a potential five-tool player with above average hitting, running and fielding skills. 

“I believe Scooter is the best pure athlete I have seen come out of Alaska in my 16 years with the Scouting Bureau,” Wylie said.

Bynum was a three-sport star in high school and was named 2014 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year in both baseball and basketball.

Wylie compared him to Anchorage’s Trajan Langdon, who was drafted in the sixth round in 1994 by the San Diego Padres. Langdon, out of East High, played three seasons of pro ball in the minors, but is better known as a NCAA All-American basketball player at Duke University who went on to play in the NBA and Euroleague.

“Trajan was always a basketball playing baseball during baseball season and that’s what Scooter told me he was when he first joined the Alaska Baseball Academy,” Wylie said. “Now he tells me he’s a baseball player playing basketball in the offseason.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

As state tourney approaches, South in familiar territory

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 2, 2014

The word dynasty is thrown around too often in sports, but the South High baseball team is the real deal.

Since 2011, the Wolverines have won 44 of 54 games and bagged two state championships. They are loaded again entering this week’s ASAA/FNBA state tournament at Moller Field in Sitka.

The Cook Inlet Conference champions have it all – hitting, pitching, depth and experience. 

They have more seniors than a retirement home.

CIC Big Stick winner Alec Valdez leads a veteran group that also includes senior all-stars Nick Jensen, Sage Dudick, Spencer Floyd, Jacob Crapps, Max Micks and Tyler Kile. 

“They have done an excellent job keeping everyone involved in the game and giving great advice to the players on the bench, which allows the coaching staff to focus on strategy and other details of the game,” said South manager Cliff Butcher. “We have some younger players that were a big part of their Little League team’s success and it’s always hard to make that adjustment to playing varsity baseball, so it is important to have the team unity and support from top to bottom.”

Jensen leads a great group of pitchers for the Wolverines. The right-hander threw a no-hitter against Chugiak and a one-hitter against West.

“He’s our go-to-pitcher when we need a win,” Butcher said. “Nick gets his fair share of strikeouts but doesn’t rely on the strikeout to get batters out. He has good velocity and knows how to get hitters out.”

Other arms include Crapps, Dudick, Kley and Valdez. In fact, Butcher said Crapps is underappreciated because Jensen gets most the attention.

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Jake,” Butcher said. “He put up similar numbers as Nick and he is one our best starters and valuable as a pitcher that pitches big innings in relief.”

South and Eagle River will represent the Cook Inlet Conference at the state tournament.

“I think both teams will represent the conference well,” Butcher said. “It’s hard to get to a state tournament, so along with playing some good baseball, we will go make friends and memories. It’s an honor to represent the conference.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Thursday’s First Round Matchups

10 AM Lathrop vs. Colony

1 PM Wasilla vs. West Valley

4 PM South vs. Juneau

7 PM Eagle River vs. Sitka

Past State Champions

2013 South

2012 Juneau

2011 South

2010 Juneau

2009 Dimond

2008 Juneau

2007 Sitka

2006 Sitka

2005 Sitka

2004 Kodiak

2003 Juneau

2002 Juneau

2001 Service

2000 East

West’s Chapman wins Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 30, 2014

As one of the hardest throwers in Alaska, West High pitcher Dalton Chapman intimidated most batters with just one pitch.

His fastball has been clocked at 89 mph and he wasn’t afraid to show it off. 

Then the 6-foot-5 senior right-hander added a 12-to-6 curveball to his arsenal and he became almost unhittable. His strikeouts went up from 55 last year to 77 this year.

“In counts where people assumed I’d throw a fastball, I’d mix it up and throw my curveball,” he told me. “I think that’s the reason why I struck out a lot of batters. I just kept them guessing.”

There was no guessing when it comes to the best baseball player in the Cook Inlet Conference.

Chapman was the unanimous choice for the 2014 Don Rabung CIC MVP Award in a vote by league coaches after they watched him dominate on the bump and in the box this high school season.

The ace of the West staff went 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA, allowing just six hits and five earned runs in 36.2 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was 7 to 1. He also had a save.

Chapman was at his best in the first playoff game against Eagle River when he struck out a state-record 20 batters, breaking the previous record of 17 shared by South’s Max Karnos and Service’s Johnny Meszaros in 2013.

Twenty Ks? That’s Roger Clemens territory.

It’s easy to see when Chapman throws a sharp fastball followed by a knee-buckling breaking ball. He broke hearts, and bats.

Chapman threw 7 one-hitters over the last two seasons. In the second playoff game against Eagle River this year he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before all-star RJ Dirscherl broke it up with a single. 

“He broke it up in the seventh the last time we faced Eagle River,” Chapman said.

Does it eat at him, not throwing a no-hitter?

“That was definitely my biggest regret. I want that so bad,” Chapman said. “But you can’t always be thinking about a no-hitter. I got to realize that’s a tough thing to overcome. I care more about wins than I do no-hitters.”

Chapman, who also played shortstop and first base, hit .486 with 15 RBIs, four triples and one double. His slugging percentage was .771.

“I can hit,” he said. “But when I go down to Seattle I’m known as a pitcher and that’s all I’m going to be in college.”

Chapman has already signed with Everett Community College – the reigning NWAACC champion. He will join the team this fall.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

COOK INLET CONFERENCE HONORS

DON RABUNG CIC MVP AWARD

Dalton Chapman, Sr., West, 4-0, 0.96 ERA, 1 Save, 77 Ks, 36 innings, .456 BA, 15 RBIs, 4 triples, .711 slugging

BIG STICK

Alec Valdez, Sr., South, .444 BA, 10 RBIs, 15 runs, 13 walks

GOLD GLOVE

Mike Rosenberg, Jr., Eagle River, zero errors on 71 fielding chances at first base

ALL-COOK INLET CONFERENCE 

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher

Dalton Chapman, West, 4-0, 0.95 ERA, 1 Save, 77 Ks, 

Nick Jensen, South, 4-0, 17 IP, 23 Ks

Guido Garili, Eagle River, 4-0, 1 Save

Brandon Sakumoto, Dimond 1.87 ERA

Catcher

Alex Valdez, South, .444 BA, 15 runs

First Base

Mike Rosenberg, Eagle River, .386 BA, 0 errors on 71 chances

Second Base

Lauren Frost, Eagle River, .273 BA, .512 OBP, 8 RBIs

Shortstop

Willy Homza, South, .400 BA, 9 runs, .961 fielding 

Third Base

LJ Felix, West, .424 BA, 13 RBI 

Outfield

Collin Metzel, Eagle River, .406 BA,  9 RBIs

Spencer Floyd, South, .400 BA, 11 RBIs

Brandon Sakumoto, Dimond, .286 BA, 0 errors     

Utility 

Nick Jensen, South, .333 BA, played 3 positions

Logan Williams, Bartlett, .366 BA, played multiple positions 

Preston Micheloto, Dimond, .286 BA, 3 infield positions and outfield

Relief Pitcher 

Matt Schnellbaecher, East, 4 games, 12 Ks, 10 IP

Trent Talley, Eagle River, ER, 12.2 IP, 9 Ks

Designated Hitter

Max Micks, South, .333 BA, 7 RBIs

SECOND TEAM 

Starting Pitcher

Logan Williams, Bartlett 

Josh Fetko, Service

Gaten Davis, East

Catcher

Liam Oberly, West

First Base

Dalton Chapman, West

Second Base

Jose Ovalles, West

Shortstop

RJ Dirscherl, Eagle River

Third Base

Lucas Thorpe, Dimond

Outfield

Don McMorris, West

Yerarmy Valdez-Aristy, East 

Parker Johnson, South

Utility

Zach Brueggemann, Chugiak

Relief Pitcher

Jacob Crapps, South

Preston Micheletto, Dimond

HONORABLE MENTION

Starting Pitcher

Sage Dudick, South 

Catcher

Kyle Bremont, Dimond

Craig Hayes, East

Cody Curfman, Chugiak

First Base

Ryan Solberg, East

Jacob Crapps, South

Joe Fitka, Dimond

Second Base

Jonah  Costello, South

Josh Fetko, Service

Austin Dabbs, East 

Shortstop

Raleigh Pigg, Service

Jordan Clevenger, Dimond

Jose Aristy, East

Alex Dudley, Bartlett

Ryan Dudley, Bartlett

Third Base

Matt Kley, South

Jesse Wright-Crask, East

Outfield

Jack Hoen, Dimond 

Tony Hillman, Dimond 

Nathan Ragina, Eagle River 

Cameron Fabacher, Eagle River

Utility

Lucas LaPointe, Service

Blake Henderson, East

Andrew Arsenault, East

Relief Pitcher

Jimmy Lanier, Chugiak

Scooter Bynum named Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 29, 2014

The day Scooter Bynum of Monroe Catholic High in Fairbanks was named Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year he went 3-for-4 with a home run and two triples.

Some guys are just made for stardom.

The senior centerfielder received the award this week as a reward for a super season in which he hit .632 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and 12 runs in eight games.

Bynum is a three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball and could play at the college level in any of the three.

In fact, the 6-foot-1 playmaker was also named Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year in basketball, making him only the fourth player in the 29-year history of the Gatorade award to win baseball and basketball honors the same year.

Bynum graduated last week with a 3.18 GPA and is headed to Arizona Western College this fall on a baseball scholarship.

He is the ninth player with Alaska Baseball Academy ties to be named Gatorade Player of the Year, joining the likes of Chad Nading [2006], Dylan Baker [2010], Adam Manzer [2011] and Zach Ferntheil [2012].

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Eagle River edges West 3-1 in extras, secures state berth

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 27, 2014

The Eagle River Wolves dream season will go on.

They beat West 3-1 in extra innings tonight at Mulcahy Stadium in the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs to secure the team’s first-ever berth to the state tournament.

RJ Dirscherl and Lauren Frost each had RBIs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 1-1 tie and push Eagle River deeper into postseason play.

Eagle River and West entered the game tied for second place in the Cook Inlet Conference, needing an extra game to see which team would join league champion South at the state tournament, June 5-6-7 in Sitka.

Tonight’s game was scoreless entering the seventh inning, a pitcher’s duel between West’s Dalton Chapman and Eagle River’s Cameron Fabacher.

The Wolves came close to plating a run in the top of the sixth when Dirscherl singled, stole second and stole third before being stranded.

Eagle River got on the board in the top of the seventh after Guido Gerali walked, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, and with their season on the line, the West Eagles responded with a run thanks to Hawken Wanamaker and Mike Miller. Wanamaker walked, advanced to second on a balk, went to third on a groundout and scored on Miller’s single on a 0-2 pitch.

That was it for Chapman, a college-ready right-hander who allowed just one hit and struck out 11 before leaving after 6.2 innings. LJ Felix took over in relief.

The game stayed tied at 1-1 until the ninth when Eagle River benefited from three consecutive walks before Dirscherl hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Frost earned a walk with the bases loaded to make it 3-1.

Chapman got a base hit in the bottom half of the ninth but was stranded.

Gerali picked up the win with four innings of relief.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South secures CIC No. 1 seed; Eagle River, West race for No. 2

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 24, 2014

The defending state champion South Wolverines have already earned the right to go back to the state tournament.

Now they will play for history.

South improved to 9-0 in conference play with a 19-2 victory over West in five innings Friday night during the league playoffs at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Wolverines face Eagle River at 4 p.m. Saturday at Mulcahy in the regular-season finale, looking to become just the third CIC team in 23 years to post a perfect league record. 

They have already sealed the CIC’s No. 1 berth to the state tournament in two weeks in Sitka.

Eagle River and West are jockeying for the CIC’s No. 2 berth.

Both teams are currently tied at 6-3 for second place in the league, making Saturday’s games especially important. The season might come down to one game.

Eagle River is trying to qualify for the state tournament for the first time since the school started playing baseball in 2007. High School baseball was created in Anchorage in 1992.

West is looking to get back to state for the first time since 2010.

If both win Saturday, Eagle River and West will have a playoff Tuesday.

If both lose Saturday, they will have a playoff Tuesday.

If one wins and one loses, the winner Saturday is the CIC’s No. 2 seed.

Saturday Schedule

All games at Mulcahy Stadium

10 AM Bartlett vs. East

*1 PM Dimond vs. West

*4 PM Eagle River vs. South

7 PM Chugiak vs. Service

**radio [AM-590]

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Eagle River, West both prevail, face off Tuesday for state berth

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 24, 2014

They split their two meetings during the regular season, so it makes sense that the Eagle River Wolves and West Eagles will battle in a rubber match with a trip to the state tournament on the line.

Both teams won key games Saturday on the final day of the Cook Inlet Conference season at Mulcahy Stadium, each improving to 7-3 and forcing a winner-take-all game Tuesday night at 6:30 at Mulcahy.

Eagle River got there by beating South 10-7, thanks to three runs in the seventh inning. 

 Nate Ragina drove in the winning run and knocked a three-run home run out of Mulcahy in the second inning. Cameron Fabacher also had a big day at the plate.

South fell just short of becoming only the third team since 1992 to run the table in the Cook Inlet Conference.

West beat Dimond 5-2 earlier in the day behind player-of-the-game Don McMorris.

The Eagles turned a triple play in the sixth inning, started by first baseman Sean Duffy.

West pitching star Dalton Chapman struck out four batters in the seventh inning and wiggled out of a bases loaded jam to earn the save. He has 64 Ks in five appearances this year.

South [9-1] has already secured the CIC’s No. 1 berth to the state tournament in two weeks in Sitka.

Eagle River and West will play for the other one Tuesday night.

Eagle River won the first meeting 24-8 on May 18 and West won the second meeting 11-0 two days ago.

Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on AM-590 and FM-96.7 radio.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Eagle River stays hot, earns first playoff berth; South is No. 1

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 17, 2014

The hottest hitting team in the Cook Inlet Conference stayed hot at the plate and now the Eagle River Wolves are going to the league playoffs for the first time.

Eagle River beat Service 11-1 tonight at Mulcahy Stadium for its fourth straight win, moving the Wolves to 5-2 and catapulting them all the way to second place in the standings.

Eagle River has averaged 15.8 runs over its current four-game winning streak.

Eagle River and West both have 5-2 records, but the Wolves won 24-8 in their only meeting this year. Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker.

The defending state champion South Wolverines locked up the No. 1 seed in the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs after beating West 10-0. It was the third time South won by that score this year.

The Wolverines are 7-0 and in the driver’s seat for a state berth.

West earned the No. 3 seed.

Dimond [4-3] dropped to the No. 4 seed after losing 3-2 to Bartlett in the morning game.

The top four teams [South, Eagle River, West, Dimond] will play each other Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium.  

The two teams with the best record after pool play will advance to the state tournament in Sitka the first weekend in June.

The bottom four teams [Service, Chugiak, East, Bartlett] have been eliminated from postseason play but will face off Monday, Tuesday and Saturday to finish the season. 

Here are the final seeds: 1] South; 2] Eagle River; 3] West; 4] Dimond; 5] Service; 6] Chugiak; 7] East; 8] Bartlett.

Playoff Schedule

All games at Mulcahy

Thursday, May 22

4:30 PM Dimond vs. South

7 PM West vs. Eagle River

Friday, May 23

4:30 PM West vs. South

7 PM Dimond vs. Eagle River

Saturday, May 24

**1 PM Dimond vs. West

**4 PM Eagle River vs. South

**radio games [AM-590]

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

South, West, Dimond clinch playoff berths, last one TBD

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 15, 2014

Three teams have already qualified for the Cook Inlet Conference baseball playoffs.

We'll find out the fourth and final team Saturday.

We will also find out Saturday which team will earn the No. 1 seed.

The South Wolverines, West Eagles and Dimond Lynx have clinched playoff berths.

South [6-0] and West [5-1] will play for the No. 1 seed Saturday at 4 p.m. Catch the action on the radio on ASBN with Kelly Thompson at AM-590.

Dimond [4-2] has also secured a spot.

The fourth and final playoff berth will come down to Saturday's 7 p.m. nightcap between the Eagle River Wolves and Service Cougars.

Head-to-head results break all ties.

The top four teams after seven games make up the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs. Those four teams each play each other once with the records carrying over.

The playoffs run Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium.

The top two teams after the CIC playoff pool play advance to the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska state tournament, which is at Moller Field in Sitka this year the first weekend in June.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Karnos combines on playoff shutout for Western Nevada

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 11, 2014

Given the ball in a closer role for the first time this season, Max Karnos of Anchorage shut it down.

The freshman pitcher threw two innings of hitless relief to combine with Western Nevada College teammate Christian Solo on a 3-hitter in a 5-0 victory over Salt Lake in Utah.

The win moved WNC into the Scenic West Athletic Conference finals.

Karnos, a 6-foot-3 righty, struck out three of the seven batters he faced.

“Max did a good job of putting up two goose eggs in his first closing appearance,” Western Nevada coach D.J. Whittemore told the Nevada Appeal.

Karnos, of South High fame, lowered his ERA to 3.66 in a team-high 71.1 innings.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Get into the game: Legion tryouts coming up

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 9, 2014

East Post 34

Manager: Kurt Solberg, 242-7406

Tryout: May 28, 6 p.m., City View Davenport Field

Dimond Post 21

Manager: Telon Bremont, 360-9384

Tryout: May 18, Noon, Chad Bax Field

Eagle River

Manager: Gregg Frost, 632-3342

Tryout: May 25, 2 p.m., Loretta French Field

Service Post 28

Manager: Willie Paul, 280-8439

Tryout: May 18, 2 p.m., Chad Bax Field

Chugiak Post 33

Manager: Doug Henie, 242-2670

Tryout: May 18, 11 a.m., Oberg Field

West Post 1

Manager: Matt Kays, 529-9289

Tryout: May 14, 3:30 p.m., West High

South Post 4

Manager: Cliff Butcher, 529-0243

Tryout: May 18, 1 p.m., Taylar Young Field

Bartlett Post 28

Manager: Mike Williams, 350-6869

Tryout: May 21, 7 p.m., Bartlett High

Wasilla Post 35

Manager: Boone Thompson, 232-1043

Tryout: June 8, 11 a.m., McManus Field

Fairbanks Post 11

Manager: Rod Perdue, 978-1995

Tryout: May 18 & 25, June 1, 2 p.m., Marlin Field

Fairbanks Post 30

Manager: Tyler Hollister, 590-0454

Tryout: May 18 & 25, Arco Field

Palmer Post 15

Manager: Gary Skan, 631-8870

Tryout: May 11, 2 p.m., Palmer Senior Field

Kenai Post 20

Manager: Lance Coz, 398-9077

Tryout: Contact manager

Kodiak Post 17

Manager: Leonard Pickett, 539-2600

Tryout: Contact manager

Juneau Post 25

Manager: Andy Macaulay, 209-4567

Tryout: Contact manager

Ketchikan Post 3

Manager: John Milner, 220-7453

Tryout: Contact manager

RBI king Cohen named first team all-star for Whitman

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 9, 2014

After leading the Northwest Conference in RBIs and ranking 19th in innings pitched, Whitman College’s Aaron Cohen of Juneau earned a spot on the first team all-star team.

The senior was selected at utility, a fitting position given his do-it-all skill set.

Cohen led the league with 45 RBIs and 16 doubles, ranked seventh in home runs [4] and tenth in batting average [.346].

But it was his pitching prowess that made him the happiest.

“The improvement there was definitely what I thought was the coolest thing,” he told me. “I hit pretty well last year so I was hoping to improve on that, and I did. But I had some struggles pitching in the past with accuracy,”

Primarily he was issuing too many walks. However, those days are long gone. Cohen struck out 44 batters and walked 25 in 58 innings this year. Not bad for a guy who didn’t really start pitching until he arrived at NCAA D3 Whitman College four years ago.

He started his freshman season, but “that didn’t work out,” he said with a laugh. He moved to the bullpen, where he developed command and confidence. He started eight games this year, going 3-4 with a 3.41 ERA.

Hitting the ball, though, is his bread and butter. That’s his forte. Cohen hit .344 in 34 games as a junior.

He hopes to play professionally after he graduates.

“I have a few requirements before I finish up my geology degree, doing that during the summer,” he said. “I’m still holding out hope I get a call during the June draft. I’ve also thought about finding tryouts and going that way.

Playing professional baseball has always been the dream, so while it’s still in the realm of possibility I feel like I might as well take a shot. I don’t know how long I’m going to stick with it before I get a job. I’ve got something potentially lined up for the summer of 2015 so that gives me a year to see what’s out there.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Stephen Ferntheil makes up for lost time at East Georgia State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 6, 2014

After being away from baseball for a couple of years, Stephen Ferntheil of Anchorage has returned with vengeance.

He just wrapped up his freshman season at East Georgia State College, where he finished fourth on the team with a .312 batting average in 28 games.

Ferntheil, of Service High fame, got hits in 10 of the final 11 games and basically doubled his average over the second half of the season.

The catcher ranked third on his team with 16 runs, thanks in part to 12 walks and a .396 on-base percentage.

Ferntheil graduated high school in 2010.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

In first year, Karnos emerges as Western Nevada workhorse

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 4, 2014

There were bumps and bruises, but in the end Max Karnos came out looking pretty at Western Nevada College.

The freshman pitcher from Anchorage won his fifth game in his 12th start and now leads the JC power with 69.1 innings after beating Southern Idaho in the regular-season finale.

Karnos, of South High fame, threw 5.2 innings today in a 5-2 victory as Western Nevada improved to 36-16, 21-11 in the SWAC. He allowed four hits and three walks while striking out five.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander is 5-2 with 3.76 ERA on the season. He leads the team with three complete games. He has struck out 51.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Miller’s home run helps Mayville win NAIA playoff game

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 3, 2014

Anchorage’s Aaron Miller gave the Mayville State University baseball team back-to-back home runs in a key sixth inning during a 7-6 win over Dickinson State in the opening round of the Frontier Conference Tournament in North Dakota.

Mayville trailed 6-3 until the sixth inning when John Cahill and Miller crushed consecutive solo homers. The Comets eventually pulled even later in the inning and then won in the ninth.

Miller, of Service High fame, finished 2-for-4 to raise his season batting average to .362 in 49 games. 

It was his second home run and 26th RBI.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Cohen keys Whitman’s first winning season since 1982

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 28, 2014

Juneau’s Aaron Cohen hit a home run and pitched seven innings today to help Whitman College beat Whitworth 8-6 in the Northwest Conference finale for both teams.

It was a milestone victory as Whitman secured its first winning record since 1982, moving to 20-18 on the season.

Cohen smacked a two-run homer in the third inning to give the NCAA D3 Missionaries a 4-1 lead. He finished 2-for-4. On the mound, he scattered six hits and three runs and mustered no decision.

The senior slugger led the Northwest Conference with 45 RBIs and 16 doubles in 39 games. He also ranked second in hits [54], seventh in home runs [4] and 10th in batting average [.346].

He had more walks [17] than strikeouts [14] and scored 28 times.

He pitched in 11 games, going 3-4 with a 3.41 ERA. He had eight starts and ranked 19th in the NWC with 58 innings.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Miller hits first career homer for Mayville State, a 3-run shot

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 23, 2014

Aaron Miller of Anchorage smacked his first career home run for the Mayville State University baseball team in a 5-1 victory over the University of Winnipeg.

The 5-foot-9 sophomore outfielder finished 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs and three RBIs for the NAIA Comets.

He raised his batting average to .355 in 44 games this year.

Miller, of Service High fame, is a line-drive hitter known for spraying singles all over the field.

But in the fourth inning in this game he launched a three-run bomb, his first homer in 150 career plate appearances.

He has 23 RBIs on the season.

This was also the 12th game this season in which Miller collected two hits or more.

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

Thompson homers twice, has 5 RBIs for Pacific Lutheran

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 21, 2014

 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 and the ALB Media Director.

Once rivals, Ibesate, Cleveland now teammates at Shasta

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 14, 2014

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 and the ALB Media Director.

Ferntheil signs with Cochise College baseball in Arizona

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 12, 2014

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 and the ALB Media Director.

Alaskans shine like a diamond on college baseball fields

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 8, 2014

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 and the ALB Media Director.

Sonderlund dominating relief role for Gateway CC in Arizona

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 3, 2014

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 and the ALB Media Director.

Miller tearing the cover off ball at Mayville State in North Dakota

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 1, 2014

He doesn’t walk a lot and he doesn’t strike out a lot.

But Aaron Miller of Anchorage does get a lot of base hits.

The Mayville State starting left fielder is the third-leading hitter for the 21-8 NAIA squad out of North Dakota. 

Miller is hitting .350 in 28 games this spring, with 28 hits in 80 at-bats. What’s more, defensively he has more assists [4] than errors [1].

“I’m feeling really good. Things have been going great,” he told me. “I’m just trying to hit what they are throwing at me. I definitely try to stay in every at-bat. Try to be as consistent as I can.”

Miller, of Service High fame, is a.393 career hitter at Mayville State, with 35 hits in 43 games. As a freshman he was used primarily as a pinch hitter and went 7-for-9 [.778] in 15 games.

He’s up there swinging, too. Miller has been walked only seven times and he’s only struck out 12 times in 100 career plate appearances.

“Beginning of the year I had a couple strikeouts and I realized I was taking too many pitches,” Miller said. “Now I don’t think so much; just hit the ball rather than thinking too much. It takes the pressure off.”

Mayville is a small town, maybe 2,000 people. Baseball is a big deal, but home games are not.

That’s because the team never has them.

“Last year, we didn’t have a home game. The weather here is pretty erratic. We just got 12 inches of snow dumped on us,” Miller said. “We never know really when our next game is going to be.”

Is it like being back in Alaska?

“Actually it’s worse,” he said with a laugh. “Mentally, it’s tough to not know when you are playing. Sometimes we will go a week without playing. I just try to stay patient, stay ready.”

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

Juneau’s Cohen showcases two-way skills at Whitman College

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 28, 2014

How good is Aaron Cohen?

Apparently good enough to win college games almost single-handedly.

The Whitman College senior star from Juneau showcased his two-way skills in a 2-1 victory over nationally ranked George Fox in NCAA D3 action in Oregon.

Cohen threw seven innings of six-hit ball and hit a home run against a top-20 team. He struck out eight batters.

The Alaskan is making a case for Northwest Conference MVP even though Whitman is in last place.

Cohen leads the league in RBIs [32] and doubles [11] and top 10 in batting average [.349] and slugging percentage [.532] in 27 games.

He has an eagle eye in the box, striking out just 10 times in 125 plate appearances.

How good is Aaron Cohen?

He didn’t start pitching until he got to college and now he’s starting; he threw six shutout innings against George Fox. On the season he is 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA. He has 33 Ks in 36 innings.

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

Bynum stays hot in Arizona with Alaska Baseball Academy

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 26, 2014

The Scooter Bynum Show wrapped up today in Arizona with the 18-year-old Fairbanks phenom of the Alaska Baseball Academy getting another hit in his fourth and final game.

The left-handed hitter finished 7-for-12 [.583] with three walks against professional pitching during an exhibition showcase facing minor league teams in front of more than 100 scouts. He also had four stolen bases, three runs and a double on the trip.

“Now I know I can play these guys,” Bynum told me. 

Alaska Baseball Academy coach Tony Wylie knew it all along. That’s why he handpicked Bynum and two other Anchorage pitchers to join a Canadian team that he has ties to for the showcase series.

“Scooter is an incredible athlete; a future five-tool player with a legit chance to play in the Major Leagues,” Wylie told me. 

He should know. Wylie is part of the MLB Scouting Bureau.

Bynum said his success hinged on his ability stay aggressive at the plate. He’d look fastball and adjust on the fly.

“The offspeed stuff is tricky, man,” he said. “Most of the time they are just trying to get you to chase, so I’m learning it’s better to just let that go.”

As a top-of-the-order guy, Bynum was able to set the table with base hits and stolen bases.

“That’s a high priority,” he said of his base stealing. “I need to work that. I need to get better reads so I don’t get thrown out as much. I’m just trying to get better.”

Bynum will return home and prepare for his senior season in baseball at Monroe Catholic High School. He will go from facing Single-A teams for Seattle, Cincinnati and Milwaukee to Lathrop, West Valley and Eielson.

“The transition is difficult, but you just have to adapt to your situations,” he said. “It was a great lift going into the high school season.”

Bynum has already signed with Arizona Western College, but figures to get drafted in June.

Other Alaska Baseball Academy players on the trip were Anchorage pitchers Zach Ferntheil and Johnny Meszaros, both graduates of Service High.

Ferntheil also played today against Seattle and struck out four batters in three innings of work. He said his command was on point.

“Even if I fell behind I was able to battle back and throw strikes when I needed to,” he told me. 

Overall, the 6-foot-1 right-hander ended up with seven Ks in 8.2 innings. He touched 89 mph on the radar gun, Wylie said.

“Zach is athletic and knows how to pitch,” Wylie said. “He has a good feel for secondary pitches with more velocity in the tank on the fastball.”

Last season, he came out of the bullpen for Calhoun Community College in Alabama. But now he’s looking for a new school and a fresh start. That’s why he went on this trip.

“It’s a great opportunity. These coaches, their word with scouts carries some weight,” Ferntheil said. “I want to be a pitcher, don’t want to be a thrower. Sometimes I go up there and overthrow too much; that’s what kills me, so I try to go out there and command the zone,” 

Meszaros, who was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 39th round last year, fanned eight batters in eight innings. He also touched 89.

“Johnny has a live arm with tons of potential and electric stuff,” Wylie said. “No surprise if was hitting the mid-90s this time next year.”

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

From redeye to red hot, Bynum shows star power in Arizona

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 23, 2014

While his Monroe Catholic basketball teammates celebrated Saturday night’s Class 3A high school state title in Anchorage, Scooter Bynum jumped on the redeye to Phoenix.

The Fairbanks phenom arrived early Sunday morning to join Alaska Baseball Academy coach Tony Wylie and others for an exhibition showcase against minor league teams in front of more than 100 professional and college scouts.

Bynum went from baggage claim to the ballpark, where he was inserted into the No. 2 hole in the batting order. He smoked a line drive on the first pitch he saw and finished 3-for-4 with a double and a walk against the Oakland As Single-A team.

“My mom says I’m too young to be tired,” Bynum said. “I felt pretty good today. I’m going to crash later, that’s for sure.”

Wylie is part of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau and has ties with a Canadian team that welcomed Bynum and Anchorage pitchers Zach Ferntheil and Johnny Meszaros. Ferntheil was the Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012 and Meszaros was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013.

“We’re trying to get these kids a little more exposure,” Wylie said. 

Bynum signed with Arizona Western College in January while Ferntheil and Meszaros are free agents. Both pitchers have thrown pretty well on this trip, but they don’t have the star power of Bynum. He is an electrifying athlete.

He is someone who goes from scoring on driving layups at Sullivan Arena to hitting line drives at Papago Ballpark in less than 24 hours. That’s extra special.

“I asked him, ‘Are you sure you want to play? You just flew all night.’ And he told me he felt good,” Wylie said. “I could tell during batting practice that maybe his bat speed wasn’t there, but when he got in the game that adrenaline started going.

“The first pitch he sees, he drives a 94 mph fastball to left for a single, a sharp line drive. Everybody walked up to me and said, ‘Hey not bad for his first swing of the spring.’ Yep, told ya.”

Bynum should have been jet lag with sleepy eyes, yet there was studying the opposing starter while on deck.

“The guy that was throwing, I could tell he was working on his changeup. I batted second and he threw three changeups in a row, so I figured he might throw me a fastball and he did,” Bynum said. “Plus my third base coach told he would throw a fastball and that always helps.”

Later in the game, he ripped a double to the opposite field.

The 18-year-old is a three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball at Monroe. This year he was voted Alaska 3A Player of the Year in basketball and is favored to win the same award this spring in baseball.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder is an outfielder and left-handed hitter.

“I take baseball very seriously right now,” Bynum said. “It’s what I want to do. My goal is to get better. I won’t see these professional guys while I’m in high school ever again, so I want to take advantage of this opportunity and just enjoy the experience.”

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

Thompson’s sixth inning hit wins game for Pacific Lutheran

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 12, 2014

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson came up with the biggest hit of his Pacific Lutheran University baseball career.

The starting third baseman knocked in the winning runs in a 5-3 win over Whitman, singling up the middle to score two with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

It was a good day for Alaska as earlier in the game teammate Garrett Brown of Anchorage drove in a pair of runs with a single in the second inning. 

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, kept it going in the nightcap, going 2 for 4 and scoring two runs.

PLU is 10-4 in NCAA D3 play.

Thompson is hitting third in the lineup and leads the team with 11 hits in 13 games. He ranks second in runs [6] and doubles [2]. 

The sophomore transfer is hitting .224 with four RBIs.

Brown, of Service Post 28 fame, has started all five games he's played. The Whitman game was his best of the season as he collected his first two hits and first two RBIs of his sophomore year.

At Mayville State University in North Dakota, Aaron Miller of Anchorage is part of an undefeated NAIA team at 11-0.

Miller, of Service Post 28 fame, is hitting .321 in 10 games, eight of them starts.

The sophomore outfielder is 9-for-28 with seven runs and three RBIs.

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

Karnos commands respect, strike zone at Western Nevada

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Mar 5, 2014

Most freshmen athletes struggle when they get to college, but not Max Karnos of Anchorage.

The rookie right-hander is unbeaten on the baseball field in four starts for JC power Western Nevada and has amassed a tidy 1.61 ERA in 28 innings.

The 6-foot-4 starter isn’t a flamethrower that pounds the strike zone with heaters, instead relying on his ability to paint corners around the plate.

“Definitely command has been a big part of my pitching,” he said. “If I need a strike I can throw one any time.”

Karnos, of South Post 4 fame, uses a mix of breaking balls to deceive batters.

“My two-seam fastball runs in on the righty and it sinks,” he said. “I set up my pitch a lot with a curveball when I’m ahead in the count.”

He also hits his spots, which can be a fine line. Miss by a few inches and it’s a 400-foot mistake.

“My coach, DJ, he wants us to always keep the ball low, knee high, that’s what I go for,” Karnos said. “Never missing high and always missing low. When it happens it’s a pretty hard pitch to hit.”

Karnos [4-0] doesn’t throw hard enough to be considered a strikeout pitcher in college; his fastball is clocked around 85-88 mph, he said. In Alaska, he could get away with relying on his fastball more than in college.

But his sinking fastball will induce lots of groundball outs. In his last start, 13 of 21 outs were worm burners.

“I have a really, really good defensive team,” Karnos said. “It’s nice having that good of a defense behind you. It helps my game. I win because of it.”

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Alaska loses radio legend with passing of Dick Lobdell

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 19, 2014

DickLobdell.jpg

If you have ever listened to the radio in Alaska, there’s a good chance you heard Dick Lobdell’s voice. And chances are you never forgot him.

For those of us lucky enough to know the man behind the mic, Lobdell was as warm and as friendly as his dulcet voice.

For more than 40 years he worked the radio waves in Fairbanks and Anchorage, but now his voice has gone silent. Lobdell passed away over the weekend at Providence Alaska Medical Center. He was 76.

Lobdell was born June 27, 1937. His family came to Alaska in the early 1940s and he learned at an early age what he wanted to do. When he was 12 years old his parents found him under his bed making up a baseball game using his tape recorder. 

His passion for broadcasting never faded.

In radio he wore many hats and handles, aka, Little Rockin’ Richard, Big Country Richard and The Sheriff of Spenard. He thrived in talk radio and tackled all subjects from politics to plants.

As a sports broadcaster, he was Alaska’s premier play-by-play announcer and worked with some of Alaska’s premier teams over the years – the Fairbanks Goldpanners, Anchorage Northern Knights, UAA Seawolves and Anchorage Glacier Pilots.

He was at his best during baseball games, where the slower pace of the game allowed him time to weave stories in between pitches. He was our Vin Scully. 

Lobdell was elected to the Alaska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1995.

He will be missed.

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

A celebration of life ceremony will be held Monday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m. at Faith Christian Church on Wisconsin Street in Spenard.

“Dick was a legend in terms of Alaska radio sports broadcasting, a character and a great human being, I so enjoyed listening to Dick do radio play-by-play - with that folksy style of his, he was a great story teller and could paint a picture with words so well that he even made those live-read ads interesting. I got to know Dick over the years as he did some basketball play-by-play for us here at UAA and later did public address for us. He had a great sense of humor and was kind and generous - one of those people you just wanted to spend time with. Alaska has lost an original and one of its best. My heart goes out to his family.” – Tim McDiffett, UAA associate athletic director.

“Dick and I worked together during the late 80s and through the 90s on the radio at separate but joined stations. My career hit the toilet in the late 90s and I thought I was done with broadcasting forever. It was Dick who in 2001 cornered me in the halls telling me of his desire to retire but he couldn't find anyone whom he felt would do justice to his radio program until he thought about me. He lobbied Clear Channel to place me where I am today to take over for him and it was his belief that dragged my stalled radio career out of the sewer and placed me into the position that grew into what it is today. I will always have a fond place in my heart for that man for what he did for me and simply, the great guy he was to everyone.” – Rick Rydell, radio host.

“I met him in 1982 when he asked me to help him do Glacier Pilots games. He later got me into basketball. He’s the ‘Godfather’ of the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network; started it with myself and Brad Lauwers. The owner of the Anchorage Knights asked him to keep the night’s cash box between his legs at courtside because the IRS was in the building. He was known for saying ‘At bat is Joe Hidavitchkey. For those sports writers out their listening he spells his name J-O-E.” – Kelly Thompson, sports broadcaster, 

“My first games 20 years ago were with Dick Lobdell at West High School, broadcasting Crimson Bear basketball games back to Juneau. I remember how smooth he was on the air. He made it look so easy. We had no doubt that he could have excelled at the pro level like a Vin Scully if that was the path he had chosen. I'll never forget doing a UAA game with him from Kentucky's Rupp Arena. He introduced me to Kelly Thompson and we started the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network. To us, he was always ‘The Consultant’ - the wise source we would always seek out before making our next move. He often provided feedback on our broadcasts, mostly of a positive nature. He knew everyone in the media from Fairbanks to Juneau. People would ask about him all the time. He was a role model that was the dominant force and pioneer in Alaska sports broadcasting.” – Brad Lauwers, sports broadcaster.

“I remember what everybody else in our fantasy football league remembered most about Dick on draft day. He would always give the same lead in to picking some burned out player with “Mock me now, praise me later.” I would drive him crazy with calls during the week with pickups and drops not to mention last-minute lineup changers 5 minutes before pickups. I’m sure I am the reason he resigned as commissioner. He had the best laugh of anyone I know. To this day when I talk about fantasy football I refer to the Yukon League as Lobdell’s League. Miss him a lot.” – Marcus Lewis, aka, Marcus in the Morning, radio host.

“I started in radio in Alaska in 1983 when John Davis hired me at KSRM in Soldotna/Kenai. It didn't take long to learn that "the guy" in sports broadcasting in the state was Dick Lobdell. Listening to Anchorage stations when I had the opportunity gave me chance to hear what Dick was famous for - delivering a story while still maintaining the play-by-play account of the game. Difficult to do with basketball and hockey, but he was able to do it, more manageable with football, but perfect for baseball, and that where I feel Dick Lobdell made the biggest impression on me. Dick had the gift of making the listener feel comfortable, like he was telling the story directly to them, yet at the same time never making them feel like they were missing any part of the game. When I moved to Anchorage in 1996 to become the voice of UAA Seawolves basketball and hockey along with the morning show on KBYR, he was one of the first to contact me and offer his congratulations and whatever help I needed. Certainly a nice gesture, but that was Dick, a big man with a bigger heart.” – Kurt Haider, sports broadcaster.

"He was a legend in every sense of the word. He had a passion for storytelling and a sense of humor to go along with it. He took great pride in getting information and crafting a radio broadcasrt that left you glued to the radio dial." - Jon Dyson, Glacier Pilots general manager.

"Dick had a silky smooth radio voice – one that really made it seem like you had a friend in your ear calling the game. He was extremely congenial and always made me feel comfortable despite my lack of experience back then. He was a true Alaska sports and radio legend, and I will miss is warmth and sense of humor as well.” – Nate Sagan, UAA sports information director.

If you have ever listened to the radio in Alaska, there’s a good chance you heard Dick Lobdell’s voice. And chances are you never forgot him.

For those of us lucky enough to know the man behind the mic, Lobdell was as warm and as friendly as his dulcet voice.

For more than 40 years he worked the radio waves in Fairbanks and Anchorage, but now his voice has gone silent. Lobdell passed away over the weekend at Providence Alaska Medical Center. He was 76.

Lobdell was born June 27, 1937. His family came to Alaska in the early 1940s and he learned at an early age what he wanted to do. When he was 12 years old his parents found him under his bed making up a baseball game using his tape recorder. 

His passion for broadcasting never faded.

In radio he wore many hats and handles, aka, Little Rockin’ Richard, Big Country Richard and The Sheriff of Spenard. He thrived in talk radio and tackled all subjects from politics to plants.

As a sports broadcaster, he was Alaska’s premier play-by-play announcer and worked with some of Alaska’s premier teams over the years – the Fairbanks Goldpanners, Anchorage Northern Knights, UAA Seawolves and Anchorage Glacier Pilots.

He was at his best during baseball games, where the slower pace of the game allowed him time to weave stories in between pitches. He was our Vin Scully. 

Lobdell was elected to the Alaska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1995.

He will be missed.

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

A celebration of life ceremony will be held Monday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m. at Faith Christian Church on Wisconsin Street in Spenard.

“Dick was a legend in terms of Alaska radio sports broadcasting, a character and a great human being, I so enjoyed listening to Dick do radio play-by-play - with that folksy style of his, he was a great story teller and could paint a picture with words so well that he even made those live-read ads interesting. I got to know Dick over the years as he did some basketball play-by-play for us here at UAA and later did public address for us. He had a great sense of humor and was kind and generous - one of those people you just wanted to spend time with. Alaska has lost an original and one of its best. My heart goes out to his family.” – Tim McDiffett, UAA associate athletic director.

“Dick and I worked together during the late 80s and through the 90s on the radio at separate but joined stations. My career hit the toilet in the late 90s and I thought I was done with broadcasting forever. It was Dick who in 2001 cornered me in the halls telling me of his desire to retire but he couldn't find anyone whom he felt would do justice to his radio program until he thought about me. He lobbied Clear Channel to place me where I am today to take over for him and it was his belief that dragged my stalled radio career out of the sewer and placed me into the position that grew into what it is today. I will always have a fond place in my heart for that man for what he did for me and simply, the great guy he was to everyone.” – Rick Rydell, radio host.

“I met him in 1982 when he asked me to help him do Glacier Pilots games. He later got me into basketball. He’s the ‘Godfather’ of the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network; started it with myself and Brad Lauwers. The owner of the Anchorage Knights asked him to keep the night’s cash box between his legs at courtside because the IRS was in the building. He was known for saying ‘At bat is Joe Hidavitchkey. For those sports writers out their listening he spells his name J-O-E.” – Kelly Thompson, sports broadcaster, 

“My first games 20 years ago were with Dick Lobdell at West High School, broadcasting Crimson Bear basketball games back to Juneau. I remember how smooth he was on the air. He made it look so easy. We had no doubt that he could have excelled at the pro level like a Vin Scully if that was the path he had chosen. I'll never forget doing a UAA game with him from Kentucky's Rupp Arena. He introduced me to Kelly Thompson and we started the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network. To us, he was always ‘The Consultant’ - the wise source we would always seek out before making our next move. He often provided feedback on our broadcasts, mostly of a positive nature. He knew everyone in the media from Fairbanks to Juneau. People would ask about him all the time. He was a role model that was the dominant force and pioneer in Alaska sports broadcasting.” – Brad Lauwers, sports broadcaster.

“I remember what everybody else in our fantasy football league remembered most about Dick on draft day. He would always give the same lead in to picking some burned out player with “Mock me now, praise me later.” I would drive him crazy with calls during the week with pickups and drops not to mention last-minute lineup changers 5 minutes before pickups. I’m sure I am the reason he resigned as commissioner. He had the best laugh of anyone I know. To this day when I talk about fantasy football I refer to the Yukon League as Lobdell’s League. Miss him a lot.” – Marcus Lewis, aka, Marcus in the Morning, radio host.

“I started in radio in Alaska in 1983 when John Davis hired me at KSRM in Soldotna/Kenai. It didn't take long to learn that "the guy" in sports broadcasting in the state was Dick Lobdell. Listening to Anchorage stations when I had the opportunity gave me chance to hear what Dick was famous for - delivering a story while still maintaining the play-by-play account of the game. Difficult to do with basketball and hockey, but he was able to do it, more manageable with football, but perfect for baseball, and that where I feel Dick Lobdell made the biggest impression on me. Dick had the gift of making the listener feel comfortable, like he was telling the story directly to them, yet at the same time never making them feel like they were missing any part of the game. When I moved to Anchorage in 1996 to become the voice of UAA Seawolves basketball and hockey along with the morning show on KBYR, he was one of the first to contact me and offer his congratulations and whatever help I needed. Certainly a nice gesture, but that was Dick, a big man with a bigger heart.” – Kurt Haider, sports broadcaster.

"He was a legend in every sense of the word. He had a passion for storytelling and a sense of humor to go along with it. He took great pride in getting information and crafting a radio broadcasrt that left you glued to the radio dial." - Jon Dyson, Glacier Pilots general manager.

"Dick had a silky smooth radio voice – one that really made it seem like you had a friend in your ear calling the game. He was extremely congenial and always made me feel comfortable despite my lack of experience back then. He was a true Alaska sports and radio legend, and I will miss is warmth and sense of humor as well.” – Nate Sagan, UAA sports information director.

Karnos throws 6 shutout innings for Western Nevada College

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 7, 2014

There’s another Alaska pitcher turning heads at Western Nevada College.

Freshman Max Karnos of Anchorage continues to shine for the perennial powerhouse, carving out his own reputation at the school that produced All-American Dylan Baker of Juneau.

Karnos combined on a three-hitter in a 5-0 win over Pima.

The right-hander threw six innings, giving up three hits and striking out a pair.

“Max Karnos was the best freshman in the fall and has the secret weapon working in his favor – command,” WNC coach D.J. Whittemore told the Carson Valley Times.

Karnos, of South High fame, was the 2013 Cook Inlet Conference Most Valuable Player.

Chapman signs with defending NWAACC baseball champ Everett

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Feb 4, 2014

The Everett Community College baseball team was already on Dalton Chapman’s radar long before the Trojans won the NWAACC title last year.

How could you miss it? Everett has a gaudy .772 winning percentage over the last two seasons.

So when the promising Anchorage teenage ballplayer got a call to play at the Washington school, he jumped on it like a hanging breaking ball.

Chapman, of West High fame, has signed his letter of intent to join Everett this fall. Before that, though, the 6-foot-5 all-star pitcher has his senior season to play for the Eagles.

“I can’t be content with just saying I’m going to Everett,” Chapman said. “I still gotta go to The Dome every day. I still got a lot of things I know I still need to do. I gotta be prepared to start right away.”

He was lights out last year at West, earning all-conference honors at pitcher and honorable mention at first base. He went 3-3 on the mound with a 1.76 earned run average and flashed a 55-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 innings.

He threw 1-hitters against Service, South and Eagle River.

Chapman throws a fastball, curveball and changeup. He said his fastball is clocked consistently at 85 to 87 mph.

Chapman met Everett head coach Levi Lacey two years ago and then played for his summer team at Laces Baseball Academy in Seattle.

“I really like Levi,” he said. “That should make that college transition a lot easier. And a lot of these kids I play with on the summer league team are actually going to the same college and so I will basically already know the entire team.

“I’m definitely grateful I got a scholarship to Everett just because of how good this team is.”

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

Open Legion Workouts to begin Jan. 6 at The Dome

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jan 3, 2014

Hey Legion players, get a jump on spring training with Open Legion Workouts! 

It all starts Jan. 6 at The Dome.

Here is the schedule:

Mondays and Fridays Cages 6 to 9 PM

Tuesdays and Thursdays Field 3 to 4:30 PM

Take some cuts. Take some ground balls.

Just take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy free indoor time.

Lacey and Co. headline Winter College Coaches Baseball Clinic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Dec 18, 2013

Championship coach Levi Lacey and his staff from Everett Community College in Washington will be in Anchorage from Jan. 17-20 for the sixth annual Winter College Coaches Baseball Clinic at The Dome.

With Lacey coaching the pitchers and Cody Atkinson and Curt Nelson working with the hitters, Everett won the 2013 title for the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges [NWAACC].

Everett has a 71-21 record over the last two seasons. The coaches like to win and they like to bring that same intensity to camps.

“Kids can expect a high-paced and informative camp,” Lacey said. “We will teach in depth concepts in all aspects of the game. We will challenge our players to become better players over the course of the camp.”

Register herehttps://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?llr=rfnd4hiab&oeidk=a07e8pmcqp803f9a497

The Winter College Coaches Baseball Clinic is four days, allowing coaches more time to impact more kids.

“The delivery of our information is what sets us apart from other camps,” Lacey said. “We are very detailed and precise in our practice/lesson plan. We want the athlete to understand information as well as execute the information physically.”

Having Atkinson and Nelson here will only make things work smoother.

“Those guys coach with me and they played for me, so we’re all on the same page and our coaching styles are similar," Lacey said. "It really helps when you reinforce each other’s information; that continuity helps the teaching process.”

If anybody can provide perspective on what it takes to play college baseball, it’s these guys, particularly Lacey, who has helped Alaska players get to college in the past.

“Most of the kids up there honestly are good students, so they usually have the school part figured out,” he said. “I think it’s more adapting to the environment and adjusting to the speed of the game because from up there to down here, it’s a big difference.”

Cut down the learning curve with Lacey and Co.

“I’m not one that sugarcoats the truth,” Lacey said. “The honesty part is what needs to happen because if he stands out he’s going to get plenty of that ‘hey you’re a pretty good player up there’ and down here you have to do extra to be that standout guy.”

The Winter College Coaches Baseball Clinic is a good place to start.

Register herehttps://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?llr=rfnd4hiab&oeidk=a07e8pmcqp803f9a497

Astros coaches Strom, Albert highlight November clinic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 22, 2013

Learn how to pitch and hit from the best – Major League Baseball coaches Brent Strom and Jeff Albert of the Houston Astros at the fourth annual Professional Baseball Clinic Nov. 8-9-10 at the Dome.

This is Alaska’s only opportunity to get hands-on training from MLB coaches, with Strom being Houston’s pitching coach and Albert the team’s roving hitting instructor. Both coaches were with the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 2011 when the team won the World Series.

“Jeff is among the best hitting coaches in professional baseball,” said Strom, A former big-league pitcher who has been involved with professional baseball for 40 years. “Both of us are solid mechanically in our concept and solid communications. Both of us are learners, continually looking for ways to help pitchers and hitters stay healthy and perform.” 

The Professional Baseball Clinic is sponsored by Alaska Airlines and the Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska.

A free preview of the clinic is Friday, Nov. 8, where you can meet the pros and hear their pitch first hand. Don’t strike out on this opportunity.

HITTING with Jeff Albert

Albert brings six years of professional coaching experience. He believes the basic hitting principles are to learn the strike zone and develop an efficient swing.

“I’ll cover all aspects of hitting – plate discipline, swing mechanics, pitch recognition, practice drills,” he said. “My professional background helps because I see players of different ages and levels. Players learn and develop at different rates so working with a wide range of players requires flexibility and creativity in order to communicate effectively.”

No matter the level, confidence is vital.

“It’s good if young kids think they can hit,” he said. “Confidence is important, but so is the ability to listen and learn. We are in the business of player development and the best players are constantly growing and improving their skills.

PITCHING with Brent Strom

If you were going to teach your kid how to pitch, what is more important: velocity or control?

Most people say control.

That’s the wrong way to go,” Strom said.

He would know. He has made a living in professional baseball since 1972.

Strom is in town this weekend to talk about the grip-it-and-rip-it theory, among other things.

He also urges coaches to promote versatility over specialization.

“At a young age it is important to have a well-rounded teaching and playing model,” he said. “We don't know how a player’s ability will move forward, at what pace and in what direction. Much like we advocated playing other sports, young players should not specialize ... being able to compete at whatever you play or do will help one in ways not only on but off the field.”

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

Sockeyes split doubleheader at Arizona Classic, Way keys win

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 11, 2013

Sitka's Brian Way is a big kid, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 230 pounds.

Today the right-handed pitcher came up big for the Alaska Baseball Academy Sockeyes.

Way threw five strong innings to highlight a 5-4 victory over a Las Vegas all-star team on the second day of the Arizona Senior Fall Classic. He struck out five, walked two and won the game.

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks continued to showcase his talent, going 2-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases and a run scored.

R.J. Dirschel of Eagle River and Ben Ross of Colony each singled for the Sockeyes and Nick Jensen of South had a stolen base and a run scored.

In the second game, a Dodgers scout team from Arizona beat the Alaska Baseball Academy 6-3.

Alaska starter Joe Fitka of South took the loss, despit a hot start.

"He had five strikeouts over the first four innings but ran out of gas in the fifth when Arizona scored three runs," said coach Tony Wylie.

Sitka's Erickson Fish was the offensive star, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and a run.

Logan Williams of Bartlett also doubled and scored. Mitch Chausin of Wasilla, Elias Stratton of Palmer and Way each singled.

Alaska all-star team drops 6-4 decision at Arizona Classic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Oct 10, 2013

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks led off the game with an inside-the-park home run, but it wasn't enough to save the Alaska Baseball Academy from losing its first game at the Arizona Senior Fall Classic at the Peoria Sports Complex, the spring training home for the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Alaska dropped a 6-4 decision to a scout team from western Canada.

The Arizona Senior Fall Classic is a showcase event that typically draws nearly 500 college coaches as well as recruiters from 30 Major League Baseball teams.

The Alaska Baseball Academy is made of top high school players from the 907.

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic fame, showed off his speed with a inside-the-park home run in the first inning.

West's Dalton Chapman Ganter-Chapman of Anchorage pitched well in five innings with eight strikeouts and just two walks.

Sitka's Brian Way shined at the plate with a pair of singles and run scored.

Alaska continues play Friday with a doubleheader against Nevada and Arizona.

Alaska Legion scholarship awarded to Brandon Mahle

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Sep 4, 2013

Brandon Mahle of Kenai Post 20 has been one of the best starting pitchers in Alaska over the last two seasons, winning 9 of 12 decisions.

In the classroom, though, he’s been even better.

Mahle, a 2013 graduate of Kodiak High School, finished with a 4.0 GPA to help him win a $500 Alaska State National Scholarship and is now eligible to claim other scholarships at the Northwest Regional [$2,500] and National World Series [$5,000] levels.

“I love baseball,” he said. “I’ve played since I was 4. I just try to play as much as possible.”

The 18-year-old pitcher is now a freshman at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., where he plans to try out for the team Sept. 16.

He would be the only Alaska player on the roster.

Mahle plans to major in Engineering in college.

“I’m good at math,” Mahle said. “Math has always been the easiest for me. I was always at the top of my class.”

When he grows up, he could see himself teaching and coaching.

“I like working with people,” Mahle said. “I want to be a coach, too.”

Titans win fourth straight title, make Adult League history

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 19, 2013

Mike Smith pitched his heart out as well as etching the Titans into the Anchorage Adult League history book.

The powerful right-hander threw a 156-pitch complete game to highlight Sunday’s 16-7 victory over the Hornets at Mulcahy Stadium in Game 2 of the city tournament championship series, clinching a record fourth straight title for the Titans.

Nobody had won four in a row. Not the Studs. Not the Wolverines. Nobody. 

Until now.

Remember the Titans.

Smith scattered nine hits and five walks while striking out seven. He got stronger as the game wore on, needing eight pitches to get out of the first and seven to get out of the eighth. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, ending the game on a fly out to left field.

The Titans banged out 10 hits and drew 11 walks. Every starter scored at least once.

The top of the lineup was lethal, with the top three hitters reaching base nine times and scoring five times. Leadoff hitter Taylor Nerland went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs. No. 2 hitter Danny Mascelli was 2-for-5 with two runs. And No. 3 hitter David Breck was 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs.

And then there was Charlton Ferreira – arguably the series MVP.

One day after throwing a complete-game gem to key a 5-1 win in Game 1, Ferreira made a difference in Game 2 with his offense by reaching base five times, scoring three runs and driving in one run with a double.

The Titans and Hornets were the two best teams this season. 

The Hornets rapped out nine hits with Ty Clapper and Juan Buck leading the charge, with each player going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Jake Plansich reached base four times [BB, 1B, BB, HBP].

Both teams in the championship series were mostly comprised of former Alaska Legion and high school players, many of whom also played collegiately. Roughly 75 percent of the players in the 10-team Adult League participated in high school or Legion baseball in Alaska.

In addition, at least a dozen Adult League players are current Legion or high school coaches.

Titans take 1-0 lead in Adult League championship series

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 13, 2013

Charlton Ferriera pitched beautifully in Game 1 of the Adult League City Tournament championship series Saturday night at Mulcahy Stadium.

The left-hander allowed just three hits and struck out six to lead the No. 1-seeded Titans to a 5-1 victory over the No. 2-seeded Hornets. He went the distance, carrying his shutout bid into the eighth inning.

The defending champion Titans took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series, looking to win their fourth consecutive championship.

Titans cleanup hitter David Breck got the scoring started in the first inning with a two-run double. Aaron Miller made it 5-0 in the third inning with a two-run single.

Breck finished 2-for-4. Kyle Madden was 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored.

Hornets starter Jason Hart pitched well in defeat. He didn’t allow a run for the final six innings.

Taylor Reed delivered the lone run for the Hornets with a sac fly that scored Trevor Harrison.

Game 2 is Sunday at 2 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

If needed, Game 3 is Monday at 7 p.m.

Adult League City Tournament

Wednesday's Scores

Titans 8, Hornets 5 - winner's bracket

A's 6, Kings 2 - elimination game

Eagles 12, Pirates 2 - elimination game

Thursday's Score

Eagles 4, A's 2

Friday's Score

Hornets 8, Eagles 7

Championship Series [Best of 3]

Titans vs. Hornets

Game 1: Titans 5, Hornets 1

Game 2: Sunday 2 PM, Mulcahy Stadium  

Game 3: Monday 7 PM, K4

Cubs, Eagles avoid elimination at Adult League Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 12, 2013

Adult League City Tournament

Monday's Scores

Cubs 13, Astros 4 - elimination game

Eagles 8, Bobcats 4 - elimination game

Tuesday's Games

6:30 PM Kings vs. Cubs, K3 or K4 - elimination game

7 PM Hornets vs. Pirates, Mulcahy Stadium - winner's bracket

Wednesday's Games

6:30 PM A's vs. Kings-Cubs winner, K3 - elimination game

6:30 PM Eagles vs. Hornets-Pirates loser, K4 or K1 - elimination game

7 PM Titans vs. Hornets-Pirates winner, Mulcahy Stadium - winner's bracket

South falls to Oregon, finishes 3rd at NWCART Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 12, 2013

The remarkable run by South Post 4 came to an end at the NWCART Tournament in Wheatland, Wyoming, falling 17-10 to Central Point, Oregon, on Day 4.

But the Wolverines definitely had their chances.

South rapped out 17 hits and drew nine walks, but stranded 16 base runners. It was a sour end to a great ride, but it shouldn’t take away from a sweet season.

South earned a state-best 28 victories, beat a total of three Outside teams and placed third at the NWCART Tournament, one of the best finishes by an Alaska team.

“I am a lucky man that had the honor to coach this team," South manager Russ Baker said. "I received many compliments on the sportsmanship and great play of the South team. Coming here with only 12 players and hitting as well as we did is a credit to the men on this team that focused on their opponents.

“The team was determined to battle in every game and we accomplished that goal. It has been a great career in Legion for several South players and I wish them the best as they move forward in life."

The Wolverines plated 51 runs in four games, second only to Oregon’s 57 in tournament play.

South players were all over the bases tonight. Andrew Martin and Spencer Floyd had RBIs in the first inning. Floyd and Josh Crapps had RBIs in the fifth. In the seventh Nick Jensen and Andy Schafer drove in runs. In the eighth Brandon Hayhurst’s single led to another run. And in the ninth Martin, Floyd and Crapps drove in runs. Crapps was 4-for-4.

South’s third-place finish reminded everybody that Alaska can play baseball.

Great timing, too.

Anchorage will host the NWCART Tournament next year.

South beats Idaho, advances to final four at NWCART Tourney

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 11, 2013

There was no way South Post 4 would let another early lead slip away.

One day after squandering a 7-0 lead, the Wolverines built an 8-0 cushion and never let up in a 14-2 victory over Nampa, Idaho, in an elimination game at the NWCART Tournament in Wheatland, Wyoming.

Andrew Martin belted a grand slam, Brad Butcher had four hits and Nick Jensen pitched a 7-inning complete game to lead South into Monday’s game against Central Point, Oregon. Central Point has already assured itself a spot in Tuesday’s championship game, but a loss would end South’s season.

The Wolverines [28-9] still have plenty in the tank and have the pitching and hitting to make a title run. They are yet to throw Butcher and Bryan Baker. Meanwhile, they have racked up 41 runs in three games.

“We’ve been knocking the ball around pretty well,” said South leadoff hitter Andy Schafer, who scored three runs today. “It’s been fun.”

Martin provided South with an 8-0 lead in the fourth inning after he belted a home run over the center field fence with the bases loaded.

“Going up to bat I knew I needed to put a bat on the ball and at least score Andy from third. I put a pretty good swing on the fastball that I hit,” Martin said. “I honestly just thought it was a sac fly to center field but when I reached first base I looked up and it was over the fence.”

His teammates went nuts. Nampa spirits sunk.

“It was kind of surreal watching everything,” he said. “That kind of took the momentum out of them right there.”

Unlike yesterday in a 14-13 loss to Laurel, Montana, the Wolverines kept the petal to the medal.

Butcher led the way, going 4-for-5 with two triples and three RBIs. 

It was more than enough support for Jensen, who scattered six hits and two walks in going the distance.

“We have a lot of confidence in him,” Schafer said of Jensen. “He’s as good as anybody down here.”

Monday's Game

South vs. Central Point, Oregon, 4 PM ADT

Watch the game: http://wyopreps.com/legion-baseball-northwest-regional-tournaments-2013/

Rain forces revised schedule in Adult League City Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 11, 2013

Adult League City Tournament

REVISED SCHEDULE

Monday's Games

6:30 PM Astros vs. Cubs, K3 - elimination game

7 PM Eagles vs. Bobcats, Mulcahy Stadium - elimination game

Tuesday's Games

6:30 PM Kings vs. Astros-Cubs winner, K3 or K4 - elimination game

7 PM Hornets vs. Pirates, Mulcahy Stadium - winner's bracket

Wednesday's Games

6:30 PM A's vs. TBD, K3 - eliminiation game

6:30 PM Game 14, K4 or K1 - elimination game

7 PM Titans vs. Pirates-Hornets winner, Mulcahy Stadium - winner's bracket

Pirates, Hornets, Eagles, Titans win on Day 3 of Adult Tourney

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 10, 2013

Adult League City Tournament

RESULTS/SCHEDULE

Saturday's Scores

Pirates 14, Cubs 0 - winner's bracket

Hornets 6, Kings 0 - winner's bracket

Eagles 12, Steve's 1 - elmination game

Titans 10, A's 0 - winner's bracket

Sunday's Games

All games at Mulcahy Stadium

10 AM Astros vs. Cubs - elimination game

1 PM Bobcats vs. Eagles - elimination game

4 PM Kings vs. Astros-Cubs winner - elimination game

7 PM Pirates vs. Hornets - winner's bracket

South loses slugfest 14-13 to Montana at NWCART Tourney

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 10, 2013

The South Post 4 Wolverines crushed the ball for the second straight day at the NWCART Tournament in Wheatland, Wyoming.

Unfortunately, so did Laurel, Montana.

Both teams banged out 14 hits, but the Dodgers had a little more pop with three home runs to highlight a 14-13 victory in the winner’s bracket. South will now face Nampa, Idaho, tomorrow afternoon in an elimination game.

This slugfest featured a little bit of everything – big innings, big plays and a home run by Nick Lopetrone, his first since Little League.

“He smoked that ball,” South coach Russ Baker said.

Lopetrone’s two-run bomb scored Spencer Floyd and keyed a six-run ninth inning that saw South nearly erase a 14-7 deficit, fighting to get within one and stranding the tying run on second base.

The Wolverines were led by Brad Butcher [3-for-5, 3 RBIs] and Bryan Baker [two RBI doubles], although Coach Baker wanted to also recognize Andy Schafer and Andrew Martin. Schafer has moved in the leadoff spot for the first time in four years and Martin has moved up in the lineup and resulted with solid contact at the plate.

South is missing several key players, including all-stars Matt Illailo and Alec Valdez.

The Wolverines [27-9] haven’t skipped a beat in the batter’s box, scoring double figures in each of their first two games, including a 14-3 win over Wheatland, Wyoming, last night.

“It’s a group effort. We need to play as a team,” Baker said. “We decided to come down here with a tight-knit group of 12 kids. Everybody has to play, everybody has to contribute. We had a good opportunity to win this game today against a very good team.”

The Dodgers from Montana looked like the team leading the NL West. The Montana state champions didn’t blink after falling behind 7-0 after the top of the first inning. They went ahead 8-7 by the bottom of the second.

One of Montana’s players is 6-foot-7 first baseman. He hit from the left side and crushed a pair of home runs. 

“Let me tell you, they can scold the ball,” Baker said.

Sunday's Game

South vs. Nampa, Idaho, 1 PM ADT

Watch the game: http://wyopreps.com/legion-baseball-northwest-regional-tournaments-2013/

Rain Friday forces changes in Adult League City Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 9, 2013

Adult League City Tournament

REVISED SCHEDULE

All games at Mulcahy Stadium

Saturday's Games

10 AM Cubs vs. Pirates - winner's bracket

1 PM Hornets vs. Kings - winner's bracket

4 PM Steve's vs. Eagles - elmination game

7 PM A's vs. Titans - winner's bracket

Sunday's Games

10 AM Astros vs. Cubs-Pirates loser - elimination game

1 PM Bobcats vs. Steve's-Eagles winner - elimination game

4 PM Game 10 - elimination game

7 PM Game 11 - winner's bracket

Chugiak falls 8-1 to host Oregon on Day 1 of Northwest Regionals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 9, 2013

Chugiak Post 33 didn’t win tonight’s game, but Zach Brueggemann delivered the play of the game for the Mustangs.

Brueggemann’s RBI single with two outs in the seventh inning broke up a no-hitter as Eugene, Oregon, won 8-1 on the first day of the Northwest Regional Tournament in Eugene.

It was Chugiak’s only hit of the game.

Eugene pitchers racked up 16 strikeouts, with starter Joe Schindler fanning 12 of the first 21 batters he faced.

The Oregon state champions scored four runs in the second inning to take control early.

Chugiak, the Alaska state champs, scored in the seventh after Deven Ferriss walked and stole second and then stole third. With two outs and the count 3-2, Brueggemann rapped a base hit to left field.

Chugiak starter Chase Wilson pitched eight innings, scattering 12 hits and two walks. He struck out seven. Only four of the eight runs he surrendered were earned.

Alex Hess and John Ives each drew walks for Chugiak [22-19], which dropped into the loser’s bracket.

The Mustangs will face Waipahu, Hawaii, a 12-9 loser to Idaho Falls, Idaho, in a game that featured 31 hits and eight errors.

South beats Wyoming 14-3 on Day 1 of NWCART Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 9, 2013

After losing a heartbreaker in the state championship game, the South Post 4 Wolverines didn’t go to the NWCART Tournament in Wheatland, Wyoming, feeling like it was a consolation prize.

They were proud to represent Alaska and it showed in the first game.

South ran all over the host Wheatland Lobos 14-3 in a game shortened to seven innings because of the mercy rule. It was a bit of good news for Alaska Legion on a day when Chugiak lost 18-1 to Waipahu, Hawaii, and was eliminated from the Northwest Regional in Eugene, Oregon.

“I think the Wheatland team kind of thought we’d be an easy opponent to roll over and I think they really underestimated us. It was a big win,” said South shortstop Bryan Baker. “They had pegged themselves as a dominant team. Apparently they got their first choice of opponent and they wanted to go after us, so it was kind of a sweet little victory.”

Baker hammered a solo home run in the first inning over the 350 sign in left center.

“The kid was going to a lot of off-speed pitches, trying to get me to chase outside and he tried to go back inside on me with a fastball,” Baker said. “He didn’t have overpowering stuff. That ball carried quite a ways.”

South’s offensive outburst was more than enough support for starter Josh Crapps, who pitched a complete game.

“To be honest, he was dominant out there today,” Baker said of his buddy. “As far as them making solid contact with the ball, it just wasn’t there tonight.”

Crapps pitched like the ace he is.

“Oh man he was great up there,” Baker added. “It’s nice having someone up there with that much experience pitching. He’s temperament on the mound … he’s so relaxed, even when it’s a pressure situation. He really doesn’t get nervous up there.”

South [26-8] advanced to the winner’s bracket semifinals where it will face Montana in Saturday night’s marquee matchup.

Athletics survive, Titans thrive on Day 2 of Adult Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 8, 2013

Adult League City Tournament

RESULTS/SCHEDULE

Thursday's Scores

5] A's 1, 4] Eagles 0 (13)

1] Titans 7, 8] Bobcats 1

Friday's Games

6] Fairview Pirates vs. 3] Cubs, 6:30 p.m., K3

7] Kings vs. 2] Hornets, 7 p.m., Mulcahy Stadium

Saturday's Games

10] Steve's vs. 4] Eagles, 12 p.m., Mulcahy Stadium - elimination game

9] Astros vs. Pirates-Cubs loser, 3 p.m., Mulcahy Stadium - elimination game

5] A's vs. 1] Titans, 7 p.m., Mulcahy Stadium - winner's bracket

Chugiak ready to roll at Northwest Regional Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 7, 2013

Chugiak Post 33 has already played teams from Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas this year.

So don’t expect the Mustangs to be intimidated by anybody at this week’s Northwest Regional Tournament in Eugene, Ore.

“We know we’re good enough to compete with these teams,” said Chugiak shortstop Deven Ferriss. “We’re not going in there thinking these teams are way better than us. If we play clean baseball, they are going to have to play well to beat us. They’re not just going to walk all over us.”

Chugiak earned the right to represent Alaska at the regional tournament by virtue of winning the state championship game 4-3 in 11 innings over South Post 4.

Chugiak has won 22 of 40 games this year, including a 4-1 record at the state tournament.

The Mustangs in the first round will face the host Eugene Challengers on Thursday at 7 p.m. ADT. Eugene won the Oregon state title and boasts a 35-12 record.

Other first-round matchups include Billings, Montana vs. Cheyenne, Wyoming; Salem, Oregon vs. Hanford, Washington; and Waipahu, Hawaii vs. Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The regional tournament continues through Monday’s championship game. The winner advances to the American Legion World Series.

Ferriss was a big reason why Chugiak is playing for a region championship.

The all-star infielder is hitting.350 on the season to go along with a state-best 36 stolen bases.

“I don’t feel like my role is to be the lead statistic guy because I feel like we have a good enough team that it can come from anywhere,” Ferriss said. “My main goal is to not let my team get content with just winning a state championship. I feel like we have a good enough team to go down there and compete with those teams.”

Kings, Bobcats win on Day 1 of Adult League City Tournament

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 7, 2013

Adult League City Tournament

RESULTS/SCHEDULE

Wednesday's Scores

7] Kings 16, 10] Steve's 1

8] Bobcats 4, 9] Astros 2

Thursday's Games

5] A's vs. 4] Eagles, 6:30 p.m., K4

8] Bobcats vs. 1] Titans, 7 p.m., Mulcahy Stadium

Friday's Games

6] Fairview Pirates vs. 3] Cubs, 6:30 p.m., K4

7] Kings vs. 2] Hornets, 7 p.m., Mulcahy Stadium

Wasilla Legion A team claims Wood Bat Tournament tit