CIC Tournament Semifinals: Chugiak 10, Eagle River 7

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Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 26, 2023

Tyler Cage crushed the longest home run of the conference season and put the Mustangs in the driver's seat in their CIC Tournament semifinal slugfest win at Mulcahy Stadium.

The sophomore first baseman launched a moon shot to left centerfield that easily cleared the wall some 380 feet away, with room to spare. It may have gone 400 feet.

It was a no-doubt-about-it bomb off the bat.

Cage's homer helped the Mustangs take a 3-2 lead in their season series with archrival Eagle River, as well as clinch a spot in Friday night's CIC Tournament title game and an automatic berth to next week's ASAA Division I state tournament in Sitka.

Landon Luebke also had a big day at the plate, lacing an RBI triple in the first inning and ripping an RBI double in the third inning. Fischer Sims and Michael Boudreau each had two hits and combined to score three runs.

Chugiak (13-6) banged out 11 hits and scored the first six runs of the game, including four in the first inning when one run scored on a balk while Gabe Gruszynski, Luebke and Andrew Gruszynski. Jayden Steckel's RBI single made it 6-0.

Meanwhile, Mustangs starter Tyson Morgan was marvelous as he really bared down when runners were on base. The freshman right-hander pitched 4.3 innings and held Eagle River batters to 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Cage's three-run home run made it 9-2 and it looked like the Mustangs would cruise.

However, Eagle River never quit and pulled within 9-6 after six innings - and that's after Chugiak cut down two runners at the plate on force outs, so it could have been closer.

Liam Lierman went 4-for-5 and matched the CIC Tournament record for hits in a game for the Wolves (12-6) and Alex Mullen and Gunner Mountcastle each were 3-for-4 with a walk. Mullen's RBI double snapped his team's 0-for-9 skid with runners in scoring position. Dalton Smith's RBI pulled his team within 9-6.

The Wolves left 14 runners on base.

Eagle River will face Service in the CIC Tournament’s third-place game at 5 p.m., followed by Chugiak vs. South in the title game at 7:30 p.m.

This is the first time in the third annual CIC Tournament that the Mustangs have advanced to the title game.

South is the two-time defending tournament champion.