South survives, joins Sitka, Colony, Wasilla in semifinals

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 6, 2014

It was the longest baseball game in the history of the high school state tournament, and maybe the greatest.

The South Wolverines outlasted the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears 7-6 in 15 innings Thursday during the first round of the 2014 ASAA/FNBA state tournament at Moller Park in Sitka.

The marathon game capped a great day of action that saw Colony edge Lathrop 7-6, Wasilla nip West Valley 5-4 and Sitka beat Eagle River 10-4.

In the game of the day, South and Juneau produced an instant classic with big hits, big plays and big heart. 

South and Juneau have combined to win every state title since 2010, with Juneau winning in 2010, South in 2011, Juneau in 2012 and South in 2013.

Neither team wanted the streak to end. 

South tied it at 2-2 in the seventh with a solo home run. Juneau tied it at 3-3 in the 13th with a solo home run. Then South went up 7-3 in the top of the 15th only to see Juneau plate three runs in the bottom half.

There was never a dull moment.

“Two good programs showed their pride tonight in a game that they had to win,” South manager Cliff Butcher told me. “South survived a great performance by a great team. We are thankful to still have a chance to defend our state championship. Our hats are off to Juneau.”

The previous longest game in state tournament history came in 2005 when Sitka beat Homer 9-6 in 14 innings in Fairbanks.

Thursday was a good day for the South Central Conference, which saw both teams [Wasilla, Colony] advance to the final four. It’s the first time a Valley team has made the state semifinals since 2008.

South is used to being here; the Wolverines have now made the semifinals four years in a row. This time it came in record fashion.

“We are excited and exhausted,” Butcher said. “It’s time to get some food and some rest, and get ready for a good Colony team.”

The late semifinal pits a wonderful Wasilla team against a super Sitka squad. Wasilla has just one loss this year while the hometown boys are looking to capture the school’s first state title since 2007.

This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.

Friday’s State Schedule

Consolation Bracket

10 AM Lathrop vs. Juneau

1 PM West Valley vs. Eagle River

Semifinals

4 PM South vs. Colony

7 PM Wasilla vs. Sitka

**To watch the games live, go to asaa.org/baseball.