South crushes Service 15-1 to win state championship

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 1, 2013

They didn't know it at the time, but a 12-0 loss early in the season was the best thing to happen to the South High baseball players.

“The West game was a wake-up call,” said South senior Brad Butcher. “People were waiting for other people to make things happen. Nobody wanted to do anything. That was the point me and Max [Karnos] kind of talked to everybody. We didn’t want that feeling again.”

Message delivered. 

The Wolverines were nothing but perfect since, winning all eight games including today’s 15-1 romp of top-seeded Service in the championship game of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Butcher pitched a three-hitter and South pounded out 13 hits and scored 15 runs in just five innings against a Cougars pitching staff that had allowed just three runs over its previous three games.

Not even the Wolverines saw themselves winning by mercy rule.

“Honestly this kind of came out of nowhere,” South junior Nick Jensen said. “But we were due.”

Eddie Lewis had four hits and Spencer Floyd and Alec Valdez each had two hits.

Valdez had three RBIs and Butcher, Jensen and Lewis each drove in two runs. Connor Farnsworth, Nick Lopetrone, Karnos and Floyd also added RBIs.

South [12-4] exploded for nine runs in the second inning and then added four more in the third and two more in the fourth.

“The whole game we were up on the top step going crazy,” Jensen said of the scene in the dugout. “It was awesome.”

Butcher was in total control, needing just 52 pitches to get through five innings. He held a Service squad in check that came into the title game having scored 25 runs in the first two games of the state tournament.

“I just threw strikes and kind of made the defense do everything today,” Butcher said with a laugh. “I have to [trust my teammates] because I’m not a Max-Karnos-strike-out-everybody kind of pitcher. I threw to contact and the guys made plays behind me.”

Jensen said playing Service brings out the best in the South players.

“They are our rivals so of course we want to beat them,” he said.

For Service, the loss was especially tough given that the Cougars have 13 seniors and were considered the best team in Alaska all season.

Still, head coach Willie Paul reminded his players to hold their heads high after winning the Cook Inlet Conference and finishing 10-3 overall.

“I’ve been with these kids since their freshmen year and we’ve gone through all the growing pains and struggles to become the team we are," said Paul. "We’ve faced the best teams, the best pitchers, the worst weather and the freak injuries and we’ve battled our way through them all. As a coaching staff we couldn’t be prouder of the class and the caliber of young men that our players have become.”