CIC League Day 9: Charmed Wolverines seize first place

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Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 14, 2022

South 3, Eagle River 1
South has all the makings for a long winning streak - pitching, defense and four-leaf clovers.

For the second straight day, the charmed Wolverines saw opponents make key miscues that helped them escape another upset bid at Mulcahy Stadium.

Friday, it was a 1-0 win over Juneau. Tonight, it was a 3-1 win over Eagle River.

In the end, a win is a win, and South extended its state-record winning streak to 35 games after winning the battle of CIC frontrunners.

The Wolverines (17-0, 5-0 CIC) prevailed on the strength of pitching (Isaac Johnson, Oliver Brown) and defense (Curtis Hebert, Kaden Bevegni).

But Eagle River did let them off the hook a few times as well, making mistakes that led to all three runs.

The Wolves even shot themselves in the foot on offense, with Dallin Roberts' groundball hitting Karson Kolberg on the base paths for a double whammy - Kolberg was out and Eagle River lost a runner in scoring position.

South took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Carson Maltby walked, stole second base and scored on Cutis Hebert's RBI double. On Maltby's steal, he was initially called out but the umpire immediately changed the call after the ball popped out of the infielder's glove on the tag.

Eagle River tied it in the third inning after Charlie Wallace singled, stole second and scored on Noah Lower's RBI bloop single.

That was the first run South has allowed in 20.1 innings across five games in CIC league play.

Lower also started on the mound for the Wolves and was locked with South ace Johnson in an old-fashioned pitcher's duel. Lower retired 12 of 15 at one point. Johnson worked around trouble, getting strikeouts to end the first, second, third, fourth and sixth innings. 

South took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning, capitalizing on two miscues by Eagle River. The Wolves had a chance to turn 6-3 double play but the throw to first was rushed and pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing Hebert to reach.

Credit the Wolverines for executing a hit-and-run to get Hebert to third base on Ben Neuberger's single through the right side. South went for a squeeze the next batter and the bunt bounced right back to the pitcher, who had Hebert nailed at home with an accurate throw but it was high and Hebert slide under the tag.

South added to its cushion in the seventh inning after courtesy runner Gavin Alexander scored, racing home all the way from second base on an infield-single-throw-gets-away play.

Brown closed it out with a clean seventh to earn the save. 

Lower pitched 5.3 innings, scattering five hits and two walks while striking out three. He also drove in the lone run for the Wolves (11-3, 4-1 CIC) and made a nice catch on a high pop up to end the seventh.

On Don Rabung Day, this game pitted three of the top players in contention for the Don Rabung CIC MVP Award in Lower, Brown and Johnson.