Ketchikan storms back to beat West 7-6 in semifinals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | May 31, 2019

Ketchikan 7, West 6

The Kings rallied from deficits of 5-1 and 6-5 over the final two innings to stun the high-flying Eagles in the semifinals of the ASAA/First National Bank State Baseball Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.


Ketchikan (15-1) scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning and two more in the seventh inning, capped by Kristian Pihl's RBI groundout that scored CJ Paule with the winning run.


Hayden McGarrigan's sac fly scored Gavin Salazar to tie the game at 6-6. Cody Kemble pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to collect the save and help Ketchikan reach the state championship game for the first time since 2012.


The Kings now own 11 wins at the state tournament - No. 6 all-time in Alaska.


They will face the winner of Chugiak/Wasilla for the title.


Early on, West (11-7) built a seemingly comfortable 5-1 lead. Nicko Opinsky's two-run double gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead and he later scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1. Five walks, an error and hit batsman fueled a two-run fifth inning to push the lead to 5-1.


It could have been worse for the Kings had they not ended the fifth with a double play. They carried that momentum into the sixth, when they struck for four runs to tie the game at 5-5.


With two outs and two out, Ketchikan saw the next five batters reach on hit by pitch, error, walk, hit by pitch and single. There was also a balk. Wyatt Barajas ripped a single up the middle to tie the game. It was his 39th RBI of the season, but none were as important as that one.


In the sixth inning, both shortstops (West’s Jack Opinsky, Ketchikan’s Brock King) saved runs by laying out to stop the ball from reaching the outfield. Ketchikan also turned a double play, its second in as many innings.


In the seventh inning, West’s Sam Lebo singled, stole second, went to third on a sac bunt and scored on a groundout by Quinn Bates-Janigo to give the Eagles a 6-5 lead. They surrendered two unearned runs in the seventh to deny them a chance to play in the school’s first-ever state title game.


West – making just its second appearance ever at the state tournament – will play for third place tomorrow. The 2010 team finished fourth, so a win would give the Eagles their best finish in school history.