NWCART: Service guarantees berth in title game after resounding 8-4 win over Powell (WY)

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Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 6, 2023

The Service Cougars are all smiles are clinching a berth in the NWCART title game in Havre, Montana.

Their pitching and defense seem to be there every night, but when the Service Cougars get into a groove offensively, they are a team you don’t want to mess with.

The Powell Pioneers of Wyoming found out on Sunday night.

Service scored in each of the first five innings and put 16 batters on base en route to building an eight-run lead and winning 8-4 in a battle of unbeatens on Day 3 of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Havre, Montana.

Kolby Jensen pitched five shutout innings to pick up the win, Chase Mascelli and Sebastian Fournier stayed hot at the plate, and Jake Rafferty broke out of his mini slump as the Cougars (28-8) moved to 3-0 in the tournament and guaranteed a spot in Tuesday’s title game.

But there are no off days for the Alaskans, who play Monday night against one-loss Redmond (OR) at 5 p.m. ADT.

Whatever happens, they are assured to play for a regional championship trophy on Tuesday, something that has happened only once in Alaska Legion history (Wasilla advanced to the NWCART final in 2019).

Service joined that Wasilla squad as the only two Alaska teams all-time to win three games at a regional tournament.

Northwest Class A Regional Tournament
@ Havre, Montana
SUNDAY
Loser’s Bracket

Redmond (OR) 8, Belgrade (MT) 6
Coeur d’Alene (ID) 15, Havre (MT) 8
Winner’s Bracket
Service (AK) 8, Powell (WY) 4
MONDAY
2pm ADT Coeur d’Alene (ID) vs. Powell (WY)
5pm ADT Redmond (OR) vs. Service (AK)
TUESDAY
Championship Game

Service (AK) vs. TBD

Service came into Sunday’s game having scored a combined six runs in two tournament games but equaled that total by the third inning against Powell, which needed three pitchers to get nine outs.

Mascelli, the team’s leadoff hitter, laid down another beautiful bunt for a single to get the party started. After Carson Maltby’s sac bunt, Jake Rafferty rocked an RBI double to the right center gap, snapping an 0-for-7 skid.

Three batters later, Fournier knocked in two runs with a two-out base knock as Service’s lead swelled to 3-0 in the first.

In the second, Landon Martindale slapped a leadoff double down the left-field line and came home on Mascelli’s RBI single. In the third, Mascelli’s sac fly pushed the lead to 6-0.

Meanwhile, Jensen was putting goose eggs up on the scoreboard. The wiry, 5-foot-11 right-hander pitched a 1-2-3 first, worked around a bases-loaded jam in the second and got an 8-3-2 relay to chop down a runner at the plate in the third.

Powell opened the third with back-to-back singles, a recipe for a rally. But Jensen buckled down, getting two infield pop ups before the play at the plate.

Wyoming’s Dalton Worstel singled up the middle and it looked like the Pioneers would cash in on a little two-out magic, but Service’s defense had other ideas.

Center fielder Carson Maltby fired the ball to the cutoff man, first baseman Rafferty, who rifled the relay to catcher Martindale, who tagged out Brock Johnson just before he slid into home.

Bing, bang, boom. The play was poetry in motion.

Martindale, who is playing behind the plate for the first time since Little League as Service is down to its emergency backstop, caught a 1-hitter on Day 1, threw out a baserunner on Day 2 and made a play at the plate on Day 3. No big deal.

Jensen retired six of the final seven batters he faced in the fourth and fifth. His RBI single in the fourth pushed the lead to 8-0 as Service was on the verge of becoming the first Alaska team since 2003 to beat a Lower 48 team by the run-rule at the NWCART.

Jensen has been huge for Service in the regional, racking up a save and win on the mound and going 5-for-10 at the plate. It should come as no surprise given the rising senior is the grandson of Tony Wylie, an iconic Alaska baseball scout and coach who led East to four consecutive Legion state titles from 2003 to 2006.

It was a big night for legacy kids.

Fournier, whose dad Chris is a former UAA and Alaska Aces hockey player, finished the night with three RBIs. The second baseman is batting 5-for-12 in the tournament and leads the team with five RBIs.

Mascelli, whose dad Danny is a former Bartlett standout and current assistant coach for defending state champion South High, went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. He has reached base five times in the tournament.

And then there’s the Maltbys. Carson, Trey and Trevor are sons of Anchorage Bucs general manager Shawn Maltby and all three have chipped in at the NWCART. Carson and Trevor have started every game in the outfield, and both have reached base in all three games, while Trey picked up the save tonight.

He probably didn’t think he’d pitch when the Cougars were up 8-0 entering the seventh inning. But things happen, like six consecutive batters reaching base to turn a laugher into a nailbiter.

Service needed Michael Sculley, Fournier and Trey Maltby to get out of the final frame. Maltby came in with two outs and the tying run at the plate, but the Class of 2026 relief pitcher didn’t flinch.

Strike. Strike. Flyout.

Ball game.

Fist pump.

Powell 000 000 4 – 4 6 2
Service 312 220 x – 8 8 0
Powell – Queen, Greenwald (2), Welch (3), Loera (5) and Schwahn. Service – Jensen, Sculley (6), Fournier (7), Trey Maltby (7) and Martindale. W – Jensen. L – Queen. SV – Trey Maltby. 2B – Rafferty (S), Martindale (S). 3B – None. HR – None.