Northwest Regional: Mullen hits historic homer, Eagle River eliminated after 13-3 loss to Bellevue (WA)

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Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 3, 2023

The Eagle River Wolves were eliminated from the Northwest Regional on Thursday, but at least they went out swinging.

Shut out for the first 11 innings of the tournament, the Wolves finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning only to see Bellevue (WA) score three of its own in the bottom half to seal a 13-3 mercy-rule victory in the loser’s bracket in Gillette, Wyoming.

Gunner Mountcastle’s RBI double produced Eagle River's first run and Alex Mullen followed up with a two-run home run – the first long ball for an Alaska player at the Northwest Regional since Juneau's Kasey Watts in 2018 and only the second since East’s Juan Buck in 2003.

Mullen was one of the few bright spots for the Wolves, the reigning three-time Alaska state champs who finished the season 29-10.

He reached base in four of six plate appearances, the first three on walks.

Mullen, an all-state third baseman, did not hit a home run in 28 games during the regular season. But his bat has come alive in the postseason as he launched nukes at each of the state and regional tournaments.

Other than that, the Wolves’ offense was nothing to write home about.

They got five hits today after getting just three in Wednesday’s 7-0 loss to the Rocky Mountain Lobos of Ft. Collins, Colorado.

Dallin Roberts stayed hot, lining a single off the shortstop’s glove in the fourth inning. The infielder stretched out and almost made the catch but Roberts got just enough of it.

Roberts, a catcher, finished 3-for-6 in the tournament.

Right fielder Jack Molloy had another productive at-bat, beating out an infield single in the second inning on a groundball to the first baseman. Molloy, hustling the whole way, outraced the pitcher to the bag.

Bellevue starting pitcher Blake Peterson took the air out of Eagle River’s offense. A 6-foot-1 right-hander with good pop on his fastball and a beautiful curveball, he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five in 3.1 innings.

He needed just 42 pitches to get 10 outs.

Meanwhile, Eagle River ace Liam Lierman got knocked around for the first time this season. Bellevue jumped on the left-hander early, with the second batter of the game singling to snap Lierman’s 10-inning no-hit streak dating back to the state tournament.

When three-hole hitter Bryan Sfanos laced a double to left field to make it 1-0, it was just the seventh earned run Lierman had given up in 32 innings (1.53 ERA).

Lierman, a 6-foot Class of 2025 all-star, was untouchable in Alaska this year and pitched two no-hitters – one in high school and one in the Legion state championship game. When he’s on, he’s next level.

But the southpaw was never in sync against Bellevue.

Five of the first eight batters he faced reached base. He was called for two balks, hit a batter and walked three in 1.2 innings.

When the dust settled, the Wolves were down 6-0 and Lierman was out of the game. None of the other Eagle River pitchers fared any better.

The Washington state champs banged out 12 hits in five innings, including three doubles and a triple.

Eagle River 000 03 – 3 5 0
Bellevue 243 13 – 13 12 1
Eagle River – Lierman, Wallace (2), Mountcastle (4), Rose (5) and Roberts. Bellevue – Peterson, Clarke (4) and Varga. W – Clarke. L – Lierman. 2B – Sfanos (B), Dubreuil (B), Gullard (B), Freer (B). Mountcastle (ER). 3B – Freer (B). HR – A.Mullen (ER).