As state tourney approaches, South in familiar territory

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 2, 2014

The word dynasty is thrown around too often in sports, but the South High baseball team is the real deal.

Since 2011, the Wolverines have won 44 of 54 games and bagged two state championships. They are loaded again entering this week’s ASAA/FNBA state tournament at Moller Field in Sitka.

The Cook Inlet Conference champions have it all – hitting, pitching, depth and experience. 

They have more seniors than a retirement home.

CIC Big Stick winner Alec Valdez leads a veteran group that also includes senior all-stars Nick Jensen, Sage Dudick, Spencer Floyd, Jacob Crapps, Max Micks and Tyler Kile. 

“They have done an excellent job keeping everyone involved in the game and giving great advice to the players on the bench, which allows the coaching staff to focus on strategy and other details of the game,” said South manager Cliff Butcher. “We have some younger players that were a big part of their Little League team’s success and it’s always hard to make that adjustment to playing varsity baseball, so it is important to have the team unity and support from top to bottom.”

Jensen leads a great group of pitchers for the Wolverines. The right-hander threw a no-hitter against Chugiak and a one-hitter against West.

“He’s our go-to-pitcher when we need a win,” Butcher said. “Nick gets his fair share of strikeouts but doesn’t rely on the strikeout to get batters out. He has good velocity and knows how to get hitters out.”

Other arms include Crapps, Dudick, Kley and Valdez. In fact, Butcher said Crapps is underappreciated because Jensen gets most the attention.

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Jake,” Butcher said. “He put up similar numbers as Nick and he is one our best starters and valuable as a pitcher that pitches big innings in relief.”

South and Eagle River will represent the Cook Inlet Conference at the state tournament.

“I think both teams will represent the conference well,” Butcher said. “It’s hard to get to a state tournament, so along with playing some good baseball, we will go make friends and memories. It’s an honor to represent the conference.”

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

Thursday’s First Round Matchups

10 AM Lathrop vs. Colony

1 PM Wasilla vs. West Valley

4 PM South vs. Juneau

7 PM Eagle River vs. Sitka

Past State Champions

2013 South

2012 Juneau

2011 South

2010 Juneau

2009 Dimond

2008 Juneau

2007 Sitka

2006 Sitka

2005 Sitka

2004 Kodiak

2003 Juneau

2002 Juneau

2001 Service

2000 East