Down 6-1, Service rallies for 7-6 win over South
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 13, 2023
Service 7, South 6
The Cougars rallied from deficits of 5-0 and 6-1 to win it on Rilen Niclai's two-out RBI single in the sixth inning as Service beat South for the first time since 2018 in a CIC league game at Mulcahy Stadium.
The fifth Service pitcher of the day, Jake Rafferty closed it out with a one-out save in a wild bottom of the seventh.
Niclai started the frame on the mound and hit the leadoff batter before he was erased on a 2-3-6-3-4-1 rundown after getting picked off. With a runner on first, Luke Beard hit into a fielder's choice after the Service second baseman dropped a pop up but got the lead runner at second.
Exit Niclai, enter Rafferty, who induced a pop up to end the game - and Service's misery against its southside rival, ending a six-game losing streak.
Trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the sixth, Sebastian Fournier drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game 6-6 and Niclai laced an RBI single to put Service ahead for good.
Service (10-1, 4-1 CIC) won despite making two outs on the base paths, hitting four South batters by pitch and leaving nine runners on base.
Andrew Hickman hit South batters early and South pitchers late. He started and had control problems, plunking three straight in the first inning to help the Wolverines build a 5-0 lead. How bad was it for Hickman? He had to record five outs in the first inning after multiple mistakes extended the frame, including an errant throw home on a force play and a strikeout/wild pitch.
Give Hickman credit for not quitting. He got even at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored.
His RBI single pulled Service within 6-2 and Michael Sculley's two-run single made it 6-4. Owen Hickman's two-out run-scoring base knock capped the four-run frame to pull the Cougars within a run at 6-5.
Meanwhile, Service's bullpen was lights out. Sculley allowed one unearned run in 3.2 innings, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the second inning. Landon Martindale got the final out to end the fifth inning. Niclai pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and Rafferty sealed the deal.
South (9-2, 3-2 CIC) got RBIs from Ben Neuberger, Gavin Partch and Kolby Jensen. Blake Peterson allowed just one run in the first three innings, having one runner erased on a 9-4-5 relay at third and then retiring the next five straight.
This was just the third loss for South its last 55 games dating back to 2019, the first in that stretch by a team not named Chugiak.
TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Service 4-1 10-1
Eagle River 4-1 10-3
Chugiak 4-1 8-5
South 3-2 9-2
Dimond 3-2 6-6
West 2-3 6-5
East 0-5 1-9
Bartlett 0-5 1-11