CIC Tournament Semifinals: South 7, Service 2

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

He didn't start the game, but outfielder Robert Hughes helped the Wolverines close out a CIC Tournament semifinal victory at Mulcahy Stadium.

After being inserted into the game as a defensive replacement in the fourth inning, the left fielder immediately made the play of the game when he threw out a runner at the plate to complete a 7-2 double play and snuff out a Service rally.

The Cougars had pulled within 4-2 and loaded the bases when Owen Hickman lofted a high fly ball that Hughes caught and then fired a missile home. It not only saved a run, but it saved the Wolverines (15-2).

With the win, South advanced to the CIC Tournament title game for the third straight year and earned an automatic berth to next week’s ASAA Division I state tournament in Sitka.

South relief pitcher Blake Peterson – who came into the game along with Hughes – earned the win after throwing 3.2 scoreless innings. The junior right-hander allowed only one hit and kept Service hitters off balance in a strong outing out of the bullpen.

Starter Gavin Partch went the first 3.1 innings, leaving with the bases loaded and earning a no decision. He allowed two runs tonight compared to four runs in the 27.2 previous innings.

Leadoff hitter Chase Mascelli and cleanup hitter Ben Neuberger each reached base four times. Mascelli was 3-for-3 with a walk and run scored. Neuberger had an RBI single, drew a walk and was hit by two pitches (both times hitting his foot).

Partch provided the go-ahead RBIs with a two-out, two-run single in the third inning and came around to score on the same play after Service threw the ball around. The Cougars had two errors in the inning and three for the game, but that wasn't why they lost.

Service (14-4) couldn’t muster any offense and managed, leaving four of six runners stranded in scoring position. Nine outs came on lazy flyouts or pop ups.

Freshman Connor Monahan pulled Service within 4-2 with an RBI single that scored Sebastian Fournier.

Catcher Coen Niclai continued his torrid tournament for the Cougars. One day after hitting a grand slam and breaking the school record with his 27th RBI of the season, he threw out two baserunners in the sixth inning.

Niclai’s defense bailed out little bro Rilen, who was on the mound.

South tacked on three more runs in the sixth inning, thanks to a RBI triple from Kaden Bevegni, an RBI single from Kolby Jensen and Gavin Alexander’s run-scoring base on balls.

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