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Kennewick [WA] beats Kenai 16-2 on Day 1 at NW Regionals

The Kennewick Outlaws of Washington scored early and often en route to a 16-2 victory over the Kenai Post 20 Twins on Wednesday.

The game came in the first round of the American Legion AAA Northwest Regional Tournament in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kennewick banged out 16 hits but Kenai didn't help itself with seven errors.

Twins starter Joe Becher scattered seven hits and three walks over four innings of work. Only five of the 11 runs surrendered were earned.

Kennewick led 5-0 after three innings and then plated three more in the fourth and five in the fifth. It was 13-0 before Kenai got on the board.

The Twins won the Alaska Legion AA state championship, beating Service Post 28 in the title game thriller only four days ago.

Kenai had six base hits - Josh Darrow, Paul Steffenson, Kenny Griffin, Becher, Cody Quelland and J.J. Sonnen.

Sonnen had the team's only extra-base hit with a double.

Calvin Hills and Quelland - coach's kid - delivered the only RBIs for the Twins.

Kenai will face the Idaho/Wyoming loser Thursday at 10:30 ADT in an elimination game.

2016 Alaska Legion AA Team of Excellence All-State Team

Legion coaches voted, stats from 18-game league season

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher   

Philip Wall Juneau Post 25 4-0 0.69 26 IP 26 K 0.65 WHIP

Nolan Monaghan Wasilla Post 35 3.06 ERA 17.2 IP .194 BBA

Bryce Swafford Juneau Post 25 5-0 0.90 30 IP 38 K 0.63

Sam Hanson Chugiak Post 33 4-0 W/L 1.29 ERA 25.1 IP 25 K .223 BAA

Cody Curfman Chugiak Post 33 2-2 W/L 3.37 ERA 29 IP 25 K .204 BAA

Mathew Daugherty Kenai Post 20  4-0 W/L 1.61 ERA 31/1 IP 30 K .211 BAA

Joe Becher Kenai Post 20 5-1 2.88 ERA 34.1 IP 48 K .123 BAA

Parker Johnson South Post 4 5-0 W/L 1.76 ERA 1 SV 43.2 IP 34 K

Jake Andresen Dimond Post 21 4-1 W/L 3.93 ERA 26 IP 32 K 1.98 WHIP

Relief Pitcher   

Nick Hall Service Post 28 4-1 W/L 1.38 ERA 26 IP 16 K 1.04 WHIP

Kaden Roettger Dimond Post 21 12 G 2.93 ERA 2 SV 16 IP 1.93 WHIP

Calvin Hills Kenai Post 20 1-0 W/L 1 SV 2.19 ERA 11.2 IP 12 K 1.80 WHIP

Infield   

Colin King Fairbanks Post 30 

Raleigh Pigg Service Post 28 .375 BA 10 R 10 RBI 9 BB .479 OBP

Matt Hess Chugiak Post 33 .394 BA 1 3B 23 R 13 RBI .650 OBP

Charlie Bucolo Chugiak Post 33 .358 BA 1 HR 22 RBI 20 R .460 OBP

Josh Darrow Kenai Post 20 .522 BA 1 HR 5 3B 31 R 21 RBI .783 SLG

Dylan Montagna Dimond Post 21 .373 BA 18 RBI 12 R 10 BB .602 OBP

Parker Johnson South Post 4 .485 BA 1 HR 26 R 23 RBI .563 OBP

Outfield 

Nolan Monaghan Wasilla Post 35 .333 BA 9 RBI .500 SLG 1.000 FLD 

Finn Collins Juneau Post 25 .396 BA 1 HR 18 RBI 26 R 16 SB

Kasey Watts Juneau Post 25 .286 BA 2 HR 22 RBI 7 2B 15 R

Nick Hall Service Post 28 .421 BA 1 3B 23 R 16 RB 10 SB 

Vander LeKites Chugiak Post 33 .364 BA 16 R 13 RBI 9 SB .571 OBP

Paul Steffenson Kenai Post 20 .446 1 HR 6 3B 33 R 26 RBI .708 SLG

Calvin Hills Kenai Post 20 .400 BA 4 2B 20 R 16 RBI .520 OBP

Utility 

Mike Cesar Juneau Post 25 .375 BA 3 3B 17 RBI 23 R .594 OBP

Cody Curfman Chugiak Post 33 .426 BA 1 HR 2 3B 15 RBI 13 R

Julito Fazzini South Post 4 .420 BA 9 2B 16 R 13 RB 13 SB

Catcher  

Jeffrey Forster Wasilla Post 35 .314 BA 2 HR 22 RBI 18 BB .510 SLG

Wyatt Berg Fairbanks Post 30

Cooper Bailey Parsons Service Post 28 .360 BA 12 R 9 RBI .397 OBP

Sladen Mohl South Post 4 .426 BA 1 HR 23 RBI 29 R 10 SB

HONORALE MENTION

Starting Pitcher - Koby Burns Wasilla Post 35; Hank Boyer Wasilla Post 35; Shaun Walton Kodiak Post 17; Seth Hinson Bartlett Post 28; Gavin Petterson Kenai Post 20; Jack Carson Ketchikan Post 3; Cooper McLaughlin Palmer Post 15.

Relief Pitcher  - Matt Hess Chugiak Post 33; Cody Leslie South Post 4.

Infield  - Matt Palmer Wasilla Post 35; Ben Werner Wasilla Post 35; Boyer Wasilla Post 35; Ben Hall Fairbanks Post 30; Bryce Swafford Juneau Post 25; Zeb Storie Juneau Post 25; Sam Hanson Chugiak Post 33; Matthew Daugherty Kenai Post 20; Joe Becher Kenai Post 20; Gavin Petterson Kenai Post 20; Noah King Ketchikan Post 3; Aaron Davis Eagle River; Jared Froslie Eagle River; Seth Hinson Bartlett Post 28; Anthony Maldonado South Post 4; Derek McGinnis South Post 4; Luis Nunez West Post 1; Stanley Nolberto East Post 34; Jake Andresen Dimond Post 21; Kaden Roettger Dimond Post 21; Kyle Henrickson Dimond Post 21; Derek Scoggins Service Post 28; Carl Gatter East Post 34.

Outfield - Koby Burns Wasilla Post 35; Seth Rockenbach Kodiak Post 17; Ronan Klancher Service Post 28;  Wyatt Shults Palmer Post 15; Tyler Borschnack Bartlett Post 28.

Utility - Shaun Walton Kodiak Post 17; Bela Armstrong Fairbanks Post 11; London Emerson Fairbanks Post 11; Lauuli Tosi East Post 34.

Catcher - Shawn Sande Ketchikan Post 3.

COACHES OF THE YEAR

Joe Tompkins Juneau Post 25

Rob Quelland Kenai Post 20

Willie Paul Service Post 28

Dan Montagna Dimond Post 21

Kenai scores go-ahead run in 8th to hold off Service for title

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

The Kenai Post 20 Twins scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to secure an 8-7 win over giant killer Service Post 28 on Saturday night at Mulcahy Stadium.

Calvin Hills' wheels provided the winning difference as his speed and heads-up base running set up the winning run.

After he singled with one out, Hills raced from first base to third base on a wild pitch and later scored on a grounder to shortstop in which Service all-star Raleigh Pigg looked Hills back to third before he fired a strike to first baseman Derek Scoggins for the out before Scoggins went home with a throw that was just late.

It was just one of many big plays on the night.

There were others moments like Kenai's Mason Prior making a head-first diving catch and then doubling up the runner on first base and closer Gavin Petterson working around a leadoff walk in the ninth inning before striking out the side to earn the save.

And then there was Scoggins, who drove in a runner from third on a comebacker in which he hustled down the line to beat the throw and tie the game at 7-7.

The No. 2 seeded Twins beat Service twice in the state tournament, including 17-1 on Day 2.

This was the fourth all-time Legion championship for Kenai, the first for head coach Robb Quelland. The team also won in 2012.

In winning the tournament, Kenai will represent the Alaska Legion Baseball at the Northwest Regional Tournament from Aug. 3-7 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kenai centerfielder Paul Steffensen was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He batted .444 in five games and led the tournament with nine RBIs. Half of his eight hits went for extra bases, including an inside-the-park home run.

Service, the No. 6 seed, upset No. 3 South, No. 4 Chugiak, No. 5 Wasilla and No. 1 Juneau on the way to the title game.

Cougars manager Willie Paul guided his program to its first appearance in the state championship game since 2001.

For making the title title, Service earned the right to represent the ALB at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament [NWCART] on Aug. 4-9 in Laurel, Montana.

In addition to Steffensen being named MVP, other awards included:

Service pitcher Raleigh Pigg won the Top Pitcher Award after going 1-0 and earning a save in his only two appearances. He pitched 10 innings, struck out seven and fashioned a 0.90 ERA.

Wasilla shortstop Matt Palmer had an RBI in all three games while batting .562 with seven total RBIs en route to winning the tournament's Big Stick Award.

Juneau shortstop Zeb Storie gobbled up groundballs like a vacuum, converting all 29 total defensive chances over the tournament, to win the Gold Glove Award.

Service 8, Juneau 6

Earlier in the day, the Cougars platd four runs over the eighth and ninth innings to knock out the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns in a knockout game.

It was Service's third consecutive win in an elimination game.

Cooper Bailey Parsons drove in three runs, Nick Hall had three hits and Carsen Sandau had two RBIs.

Relief pitchers Hall and Pigg combined to pitch the winal 6.2 innings.

Juneau's Bryce Swofford went 3=for-5 and Finn Collins and Stories each had two RBIs.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks Wild 6, East 4

Evan Wilken and Ben Hall combined on a four-hitter to lift Fairbanks Post 30 over the Post 34 T-birds in the tournament championship game.

Wilken pitched the first five innings to college the win and Hall shut the door with two innings of scoreless relief for the save.

Axel Keeton scored two of his team's six runs. The Wild won despite having fewer hits than the T-birds.

East's Brian Sosa pitched all six innings for East. Standley Nolberto went 2-for-4 and scored a run.

Service v Juneau will face off for right to play Kenai for state title

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

Juneau 7, Kenai 1

Philip Wall carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning en route to pitching a complete game as the Post 25 Midnight Suns handed the Post 20 Twins their first loss at the state tournament.

Top-seeded Juneau scored twice in the first, second and fourth innings to take control. 

It was plenty of support for Wall. He tossed a three-hitter with four walks and six strikeouts.

Juneau banged out 13 hits, two each from Donavin McCurley, Zeb Storie, Quin Gist, Kasey Watts and Hall.

Storie had two RBIs and McCurley scored twice.

Kenai's Tyler Covey broke up Hall's no-no with a infield single to leadoff the eighth inning. Paul Steffensen's run-scoring base hit broke up the shutout in the ninth inning.

No. 2 seed Kenai entered the game as the lone tournament unbeaten, assuring itself in Saturday's title game.

Juneau will play Service Post 28 - a 5-4 winner over Wasilla Post 35 - at 3 p.m., with the winner facing Kenai at 6:30 for the state championship.

The Alaska state champion qualifies for the Northwest Regional Tournament on Aug. 3-7 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The second place team travels to Laurel, Montana, for the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament [NWCART] on Aug. 4-9.

Service 5, Wasilla 4

Derek Scoggins laced a double to score Cooper Bailey Parsons with the winning run in the 10th inning in an elimination game.

Scoggins finished with three hits and three RBIs on the day as the No. 6-seeded Cougars won their second loser-out game bya 5-4 score in as many days.

Nick Hall had two hits, including a double, and scored twice. Ronan Klancher doubled and had an RBI.

Hall picked up the win in relief of Ben Clayton and Cobey Cupp.

Wasilla rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 4-3.

Ben Werner drove in two runs and Matt Palmer tripled and added an RBI.

Wasilla's Sam Loyer pitched eight innings in earning a no-decision.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks Wild 14, Eagle River 6

Wyatt Berg and Colin King tripled to highlight a 10-hit attack as Post 30 scored in all six innings the team batted.

Ben Hall had two hits and drove in three runs. Hunter Andrews scored three times, had two hits and added an RBI.

Eagle River's Ryan Gray went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

East 10, Palmer 7

Gaten Davis went 4-for-4 at the plate and pitched the final two innings to earn the save to headline Post 34's win.

Carl Gatter went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Other East runs were driven in by Laauli Tosi, Davis, Logan Herman and Brian Sosa.

Palmer's Francisco had three RBIs for the Pioneers.

Kenai, Juneau, Service win on Day 3 of State Tournament

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

Kenai 4, Wasilla 3

Paul Steffensen and Kenneth Griffin drove in runs in a pivotal seventh-inning rally that carried the Post 20 Twins to a close win over the Post 35 Road Warriors in the winner's bracket.

Gavin Petterson went eight innings and picked up the win. He struck out seven batters and worked around six hits and three walks.

Calvin Hills pitched the ninth for the save.

Jacob Sonnen led off the seventh with a single and later scored. He finished 2-for-3.

Wasilla led 3-1 after an inning and a half.

Benjamin Werner went 3-for-5 with a run and RBI. Matthew Palmer and Koby Burns each went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

William Boyer allowed just two runs over six innings of relief for Wasilla.

Juneau 5, Dimond 4

The Post 25 Midnight Suns scored in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off over the Post 21 Lynx in a loser-out game.

Juneau ace Bryce Swofford pitched a complete game, scattering six hits and three walks over nine innings. Only two runs were unearned.

Michael Cesar went 3-for-3 with two RBIs to lead an 11-hit attack.

Donavin McCurley also got three hits. James Collins scored twice and Zeb Storie added an RBI.

Dimond's Dylan Montagna doubled and homered for the game's only two extra-base hits.

Service 5, Chugiak 4

Raleigh Pigg came out of the bullpen to throw eight innings of three-hit relief to lift the Post 28 Cougars over the Post 33 Mustangs.

Pigg entered the game with Service trailing 3-0. The only run he allowed was unearned.

He struck out seven to keep the Cougars alive in the double-elimination state tournament.

Service scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning after Michael Yandell beat the throw on a swinging but with two outs and a runner on third.

Ronan Klancher, Nick Hall, Cooper Bailey Parson and Yandell each had two hits. Bailey Parson drove in three runs and Hall and Yandell each had one RBI.

Chugiak - the defending state champion - got RBIs from Charlie Bucolo, Matt Hess and Cody Curfman.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks30 4, East 2

Axel Keeton threw all seven innings and was backed by just enough offense as the Post 30 Wild beat the Post 34 T-birds in the winner's bracket.

Wyatt Berg and Colin King each finished with RBIs. Berg also scored a run.

East's Stanley Nolberto doubled twice, scored a run and drove in a run.

Eagle River 7, Kodiak 0

Christian Fredrick and Brendan Miles combined on a five-hitter as Eagle River avoided elimination against the Post 17 Islanders.

Fredrick pitched the first five innings and Miles cleaned up the final two frames.

Eagle River's Aaron Davis went 4-for-4 and scored three runs.

Palmer 5, Fairbanks11 3

The Post 15 Pioneers scored four times in the top of the seventh inning to key a come-from-behind win over the Post 11 49ers in the loser bracket.

Kolten Ketchum pitched 2.1 innings of one-hit relief and earned the win.

Jason Erdman drove in two runs and Izak Lohrke pitched all seven innings for Fairbanks.

Kenai storms, Wasilla surges in winner's bracket play on Day 2

ALB STATE TOURNAMENT

Wasilla 5, Juneau 3

Matthew Palmer delivered time and time again to help the fifth-seeded Post 35 Road Warriors upset the top-seeded Midnight Suns in the winner's bracket.

The shortstop slugger lined a two-out, two-run, two bagger in the top of the ninth inning to provide the winning difference.

In the seventh inning, he also came through with a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the ninth, Palmer made a nice catch for the second out and then ended the game by bare-handing a chopper and firing to first.

Koby Burns pitched all nine innings for Wasilla. He gave up six hits and walked just one.

Juneau scored single runs in the first, second and third innings.

James Collins collected two hits and scored twice. Zeb Storie and Philip Wall each had RBIs.

It was Juneau's first loss since June 11, when South beat the Midnight Suns 6-5 in the Capital City.

Kenai 17, Service 1

Paul Steffensen is a speedy slugger as his inside-the-park grand slam capped Kenai Post 20's blowout win over Service Post 28 in the winner's bracket action.

Steffensen finished the game 3-for-4 and collected seven RBIs on the day.

The Twins banged out 12 hits in seven innings and scored seven times in the fourth inning and five times in the sixth inning.

Joshua Darrow and Mason Prior each had two hits and combined to score seven times.

Starting pitcher Matthew Daugherty allowed three hits and three walks over five innings of work to earn the win.

Service's Bailey Cooper Parson drove in his team's lone run.

Chugiak 15, Ketchikan 1

The Post 33 Mustangs didn't tear the cover off the ball, but they didn't necessarily have to either.

Buoyed by 15 base on balls, Chugiak scored 15 runs on just five base hits to avoid elimination in the loser's bracket.

Jack Straub doubled twice and finished with five RBIs. Cody Curfman - who yesterday took line-drive deflection from glove to head - went 2-for-2 and also had five RBIs.

Charlie Bucolo - a two-time state tournament MVP - was walked four times and scored three times.

Brock King had the only RBI for the Post 3 Kings.

Dimond 3, South 1

Jacob Andresen and Parker Johnson were tangled in a pitching duel, with Andresen's Post 21 Lynx team coming out on top in a loser-out game.

He allowed just four hits and struck out nine. He allowed a run in the first inning and then threw goose eggs over the next seven.

Kaden Roettger pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

Johnson threw well enough to win for Post 4. He gave up seven hits, two earned runs and struck out a half dozen.

Dimond's RBIs came from Jesse Boese, Conor Bates-Janigo and Sean Carey. Derek McGinnss has the only RBI for South.

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Fairbanks30 11, Fairbanks11 1

Colin King threw a one-hitter over five innings and contributed to his own cause with two RBIs as the Post 30 Wild advanced in the winner's bracket.

Hunter Andrews also drove in two runs. Benjamin Hall went 2-for-2 and scored four times.

Credit Gavin Jackson with the only base hit for Post 11 49ers.

East 7, Eagle River 2

Gaten Davis pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts and Post 34 took control with a five-run sixth inning in the winner's bracket.

Stanley Nolberto, Carl Gatter, Kevin Lewis, Ricky Gatter and Joshua Barton drove in runs for East.

Eagle River's Braden Olmstead doubled in a run and later scored.

Palmer 11, Bartlett 1

Cooper McLaughlin pitched all five innings and went 2-for-3 with three RBIs at the plate to highlight Post 15's win in a loser-out game.

Wyatt Shults doubled twice and drove in five runs for the Pioneers.

Zach Satterly hit the game's only triple.

Kodiak 5, West 4

Lars Hanson led off the seventh inning with single and eventually scored on Shaun Walton's single to lift Post 17 in an elimination game.

Walton started and finished the game, scattering eight hits over seven innings of work.

Luis Nunez drove in three RBIs for the Post 1 Eagles.

Service, Kenai, Wasilla, Juneau win on Day 1 of State Tourney

Service 8, South 4

Have a day, Ben Clayton. 

The Service player banged out three hits, pitched six innings and drove in two runs as the sixth-seeded Post 28 Cougars upset No. 3 South Post 4.

Clayton started the game and held South to one run over the first six innings. He was chased in the seventh after giving up his second run.

Cobey Cupp pitched the final three innings to collect the save.

Carsen Sandau went 3-for-4 and Michael Yandell finished with three RBIs for Service. The Cougars scored all eight runs from the fifth through the ninth.

South's Julito Fazzini had three of his team's eight hits. Only one run was earned of the four surrendered by starter Tony Maioriello.

Kenai 6, Dimond 3 

The second-seeded Post 20 Twins erupted for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally by an upset-minded Post 21 squad.

Kenai trailed 3-2 entering the second-to-last inning before Joe Becher and Gavin Petterson each walked, then stole a base. Becher came home on a balk and Petterson scored the go-ahead run.

The bottom of the order came up clutch as Mason Prior, Tyler Covey and Cody Qulland combined for four hits, two runs and an RBI.

Calvin Hills went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and picked up the win with 1.1 innings of middle relief. Becher pitched the ninth for the save.

Dimond's Kyle Henrickson went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI. Dylan Montagna drove in the other run for the Lynx.

Wasilla 9, Chugiak 6

In a back and forth game that saw four lead changes in the first seven innings, Wasilla Post 35 capitalized on some miscues in the eighth inning to pull away from Chugiak Post 33.

The Road Warriors plated six runs thanks to RBIs from William Boyer, Samuel Reed and Matthew Palmer.

Wasilla starter Austin Robertson pitched well in a no decision. He allowed just one earned run over six innings.

Boyer picked up the win with three innings of relief.

Chugiak avoided a major scare in the top of the sixth inning when pitching ace Cody Curfman took a line drive off the head - the ball actually carromed into the outfield and was caught in the outfield grass by shortstop Charlie Bucolo.

Curfman came out as pitcher but stayed in the game and actually scored the tying run in the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Matthew Hess had three hits and four teammates had two hits apiece.

Juneau 16, Ketchikan 1

Top-seeded Juneau Post 25 flexed its muscles over Southeast rival Ketchikan Post 3 in seven innings.

Threes were wild for Quin Gist, who went 3-for-3, scored three runs and drove in three runs.

Stefan Beedle also had three RBIs for Juneau and Alexander Muir also scored three times.

Midnight Suns starter Jake Tanner scattered three hits and three walks over seven innings of work.

Ketchikan's Shawn Sande drove in his team's lone run.

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

Homza selected for prestigious Area Code Games in Long Beach

For a sport steeped in failure, Jonny Homza of Anchorage is enjoying a lot of success on the baseball field.

Two months after winning Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year honors and leading South High School to the ASAA state championship, the smooth shortstop has been named to the 2016 Area Code Games next month in Long Beach, California.

“I’m working really hard and playing the way I know how and that’s all anybody can really do,” he told me. “Baseball is a very humbling sport. I mean, if you fail 7 out of 10 times you’re considered good, so if you get too cocky you’re just setting yourself up for failure.”

Homza will represent the Pacific Northwest for the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks in the Area Code Games. The national event includes the top 200 players divided into eight regional teams.

“It does feel good to get recognized as a player and it’s very exciting to be able to experience all these cool things,” he said.

Players are typically nominated by a scout and then participate in a tryout. Homza was nominated by Tony Wylie of the Alaska Baseball Academy who also works as a scout for the D’backs.

“It was kind of his coming out party,” Wylie said of the tryout. “I kept hearing guys say ‘No way this kid is from Alaska.’”

Homza is the third Alaska player and first position player to be named to the Area Code Games, which date back to the 1980s. The other Alaskans to earn invitations were pitchers Max Karnos and Johnny Meszaros.

“I do think that baseball in Alaska is getting a lot more credibility and is able to produce a lot more talented baseball players, including more position players,” said Homza, who has committed to the University of Hawaii.

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

Nading having strong season for Wichita Wingnuts w/ 0.58 ERA

Chad Nading of Anchorage has played baseball all over the place and switched up his delivery more than once, so he’s paid his dues since turning pro in 2009.

He’s finally enjoying some well deserved success.

Nading is the top option out of the bullpen for the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association, an independent professional baseball league.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander has a team-best 0.58 ERA in 14 games, and the Wingnuts are 12-1 when he pitches.

Nading, of East Post 34 fame, has 14 strikeouts in 15.1 innings.

He was drafted out of high school and then again after UNLV.

He later signed with the San Diego Padres organization as a free agent and pitched in the Arizona League.

After a season each in the Frontier and North American Baseball League, Nading pitched for the Ishikawa MillionStars in Japan’s BC League in 2014.

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

Columbia [TN] wins BP Invitational for record third time

Calton Easterwood pitched beautifully and Columbia Post 19 banged out 11 hits in a 7-1 win over the Kenai Post 20 Twins in the championship game of the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium.
 
Easterwood allowed just four hits while striking out a dozen over seven innings of work. The only run the right-hander surrendered was on a balk with two outs in the sixth inning.
 
The game ended on a double play.
 
Columbia won the BP Invitational for a record third time and improved to 16-1 in three trips to Alaska under manager Mickey McKeel.
 
The Tennessee team also beat Kenai - the first-place Legion AA team in Alaska - for the title of the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai earlier this week.
 
Columbia struck for four runs in the third inning, another in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
 
Leadoff hitter Bryce Giels was named BP Invitational Most Valuable Player. He batted .545 in five games with nine walks to bouy a .737 on-base percentage. Five of his six hits went for extra bases. The slick shortstop also stole eight bases and boasted a 1.000 fielding percentage.
 
Center fielder Devin Symlar won the Big Stick Award thanks to a tournament-best 12 RBIs. He drove in a tournament record seven RBIs in a Day 3 win over Dimond.
 
Kenai's Joe Becher was named Most Outstanding Pitcher. He didn't allow an earned run in nine total innings, including the final two frames of the championship game against Tennessee. Becher finished with 12 strikeouts and a complete game win over Lanakina Post 11 of Hawaii on Day 2.
 
Service catcher Cooper Bailey-Parsons won the tournament's Gold Glove Award.

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

Legion A Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament begins Friday

Legion A Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament

Pool A

Chugiak

Delta

Fairbanks 30

South-Black

Pool B

Kenai

Dimond

South-Gold

Fairbanks 11

OB Oberg / BA Bartlett / LF Loretta French

Friday 7/8

Pool A 

4 PM Black vs. Chugiak, OB

7 PM Delta vs. Fairbanks 30, OB

Pool B  

1 PM Dimond vs. Gold, BA

4 PM Gold vs. Fairbanks 11, BA

7 PM Fairbanks 11 vs. Kenai, BA

Saturday 7/9

Pool A

10 AM Fairbanks 30 vs. Black, OB

1 PM Black vs. Delta, OB

4 PM Delta vs. Chugiak, OB

7 PM Chugiak vs. Fairbanks 30, OB

Pool B

10 AM Kenai vs. Dimond, LF

4 PM Kenai vs. Gold, BA

7 PM Dimond vs. Fairbanks 11, BA

Sunday 7/10

11 AM A4 vs. B4, BA

11 AM A2 vs. B2, OB

2 PM A3 vs. B3, BA

*2 PM A1 vs. B1, OB

*Championship Game

Hawaii, Tennessee here for Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour

The 2016 Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour kicks into high gear this weekend with the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament in Wasilla.

It’s the first of three consecutive tournaments over the next two weekends.

After Wasilla comes the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai followed by the granddaddy of them all, the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium.

The two Outside teams participating this year are Lanakila Post 11 from Honolulu, Hawaii, and Columbia Post 19 of Columbia, Tennessee.

This is the first time here for the Hawaiian team. However, Columbia is making its third trip to Alaska and is 9-1 in the land of the midnight sun. Tennessee's only loss came in a 2-0 defeat at the hands ofKenai Post 20 in 2012.

Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament

At Wasilla

All games at McManus Field

Friday 7/1 

12 PM Fairbanks 30 vs Hawaii

3 PM Fairbanks 11 vs Wasilla

6 PM Palmer vs Wasilla

Saturday 7/2

10 AM Fairbanks 11 vs Fairbanks 30

1 PM Palmer vs. Hawaii

4 PM Wasilla vs. Fairbanks 30

7 PM Fairbanks 11 vs. Palmer

Sunday 7/3

12 PM Hawaii vs. Fairbanks 11

3 PM Palmer vs. Fairbanks 30

6 PM Wasilla vs. Hawaii 

Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament

At Kenai

All games at Oiler Park

Tuesday 7/5

10 AM East vs. Tennessee

1 PM Kenai vs. Eagle River

4 PM Eagle River vs. East

7 PM Kenai vs. Tennessee

Wednesday 7/6

12 PM Kenai vs. East

3 PM Tennessee vs. Eagle River

Thursday 7/7

10 AM Consolation

1 PM Championship

BP Invitational

At Anchorage

All games at Mulcahy Stadium

Thursday 7/7

10 AM West vs. Service

1 PM South vs. Chugiak

Friday 7/8

9:15 AM Chugiak vs. Hawaii

11:45 AM Dimond vs. West

2:15 PM Kenai vs. South

5 PM Service vs. Tennessee

7:30 PM Hawaii vs. Kenai

Saturday 7/9

9:15 AM Service vs. Dimond 

11:45 AM Kenai vs. Chugiak

2:15 PM Dimond vs. Tennessee

5 PM Hawaii vs. South

7:30 PM Tennessee vs. West

Sunday 7/10

9:15 AM A4 v B4

11:45 AM A2 vs B1

2:15 PM B2 vs. A1

5 PM B3 vs. A3

7:30 PM Championship

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

Baseball Factory national tour comes to Anchorage on July 11

The Under Armour Baseball Factory national tour will be in Anchorage on July 11 at the Kosinski Fields.

Since its inception in 1994, the Baseball Factory has been a national leader in college recruiting.

Players in attendance will be evaluated by the Factory’s professional coaching staff, helping to reveal strengths and build on areas of improvement with proven tools, expert guidance and life-changing experiences to prepare for success on and off the field. 

This year’s College World Series features 92 former Factory alums. In the June Major League Baseball Draft, teams selected over 300 Factory alumni, including 38 former Under Armour All-Americans.

Developing their skill set further once in professional baseball, more than 400 Baseball Factory alumni have made their debuts in the big leagues since 1994. 

Baseball Factory holds a strong and committed relationship with American Legion, providing amateur players with new opportunities to develop their baseball skills and fulfill their dream of playing collegiate baseball. 

Read more about Baseball Factory’s partnership with American Legion at www.baseballfactory.com.

With 17 teams, Alaska Legion touches every corner of state

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is in full swing and this weekend’s busy schedule was a good indicator as 16 of 17 AA teams were in action.

Eight fields were used in Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Wasilla and Anchorage.

Everybody played Saturday except Delta Post 22, the only team in the league that plays a mix of AA [varsity] and A [junior varsity] teams.

The 16 AA programs are vying for the chance to win the 63rd annual Alaska American Legion Baseball State Tournament at the end of July.

They are split into eight-team divisions and play an 18-game league schedule, after which the top eight advance to the state tournament at iconic Mulcahy Stadium and the bottom eight play in the Matson Invitational at Bartlett High.

For 50 years, Mulcahy Stadium has hosted the biggest games in Alaska.

The top three teams from each division after the regular season automatically qualify for the state tournament, as well as two wildcard teams based on the most points. 

The AA standings are based on a point system; 4 for a win, 2 for a tie, 1 for a loss and 0 for a forfeit.

The Alaska AA state champion advances to the Northwest Regional in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The regional runs Aug. 3-7 and includes state champions from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and Washington.

Chugiak Post 33 is the defending state champion from Alaska.

The Legion World Series is Aug. 11-16 in Shelby, North Carolina.

As of last week, 3,786 Legion teams nationwide will take the field in 2016, according to legion.org.

This year’s national registration numbers showed an increase from the previous years.

Alaska has been part of the growth.

In the last few years, the ALB has expanded in Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Valley while adding teams in Kodiak, Ketchikan and Delta.

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

College Coaches Camp expands to include more kids in Alaska

Since 1994, college coaches from all over the country have come to The Last Frontier to teach the game of baseball to Alaska.

The annual camp was always held at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

But now it's expanding to include the Interior players.

The College Coaches Camp will be in Fairbanks on June 14-15 and then in Palmer June 16-17 before wrapping up in Anchorage June 20-23.

The camp in Anchorage is open only to American Legion Baseball players.

There are youth opportunities in Fairbanks and Palmer.

All abilities are invited to attend and learn. 

Camp lead instructor Levi Lacey of Everett Community College in Washington has made more than dozen trips to Alaska in past several years and is a great instructor and teacher of young baseball players. 

Lacey's Everett CC teams have finished at or near the top of the prestigious NWAC, one of the toughest junior college leagues in the country.

Other instructors include Rob Strickland of College of Idaho, Kevin Davis of Pierce CC, Shawn Hamberger of College of Idaho, Patrick Perry of Dixie State University, Greg Goetz of Seattle University, Aaron Sutton of Treasure Valley CC and Gabe Boruff of Columbia Basin CC. 

Former longtime Chugiak Post 33 manager Bill Lierman Sr. helped create this annual event in 1994 before his passing.

In 2005, Alaska Legion Baseball named this clinic in his honor for his tireless dedication to young baseball players of Alaska.

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

Jonny Baseball: Homza does it all in leading South to state title

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Saturday's Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 3

Championship Game, South 3, Chugiak 1

Third-Place Game Sitka 6, Ketchikan 5

Fourth-Place Game Wasilla 15, Lathrop 5

Championship Game

South 3, Chugiak 1

The bullpen was hot and South starter Jonny Homza had thrown 100 pitches when the tying run came to the plate in the seventh inning.

This was the state championship game and Chugiak was knocking at the door with a runner on and one out. Maybe it was time to pull him, but South coach Taylor Nerland stuck with Homza.

“I was stoked, for sure,” Homza told me. “My arm was feeling good and Nerland said ‘Hey man, if you can do it, do it.”

He did it.

The reigning Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year got the next batter to ground out before ending the game with a strikeout, putting his signature on a 3-1 win over the Cook Inlet Conference champions at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

“When it came down to it, Jonny was still pitching well,” Nerland told me of his decision. “He’s a phenomenal competitor and he plays with a lot of emotion. When he got that last out you could tell the adrenaline was going through him. If his arm was hurting, he probably wouldn’t have told me.”

Homza, a junior right-hander, allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 10. He finished with 106 pitches.

“Jonny looked amazing,” fellow South pitcher Tommy Koloski told me. “That’s one of the best outings I’ve ever seen him have.”

It came against a Chugiak team that 11 days ago beat Homza in the CIC championship game. It also came against a Chugiak team that beat South in last year’s state championship game.

Many players from both years were on the field Saturday. It’s become a Yankees-Red Sox type rivalry. It’s special when they square off.

“We’ve been back and forth with them,” Homza said. “I think we just wanted it more because we knew what it felt like to lose to them.”

South took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Max Costello’s fielder’s choice scored Julito Fazzini from third base with one out.

Chugiak tied it at 1-1 in the bottom half when Brady Lindberg delivered a two-out single and scored on Hunter Register’s double.

With two outs in the third inning, Homza jumped on a first-pitch fastball and knocked it out of the ballpark for his first home run in his South career. He picked a fine time, providing the Wolverines with the go-ahead run and the lead for good.

“It was pretty sweet,” he said. “You just go up there to the plate with the same approach. I’ve done it so many times in my life that this time it felt like any other time. I saw the pitch and hit the ball. There’s not much I can really say about it. It was really no different than any other at-bat. It just happened to go out, which was nice.”

Koloski called it a monster shot.

“I knew that home run was out as soon as it left the bat,” he said.

South added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Matt Kley scored from third base on a Chugiak fielding error.

With Homza on the mound, it may have not mattered. He allowed only nine hits and had a 1.47 ERA over his last 19 innings in May and June.

This was South’s fourth consecutive appearance in the state title game. The Wolverines won the 2013 championship before getting second the next two years.

If anything, though, South exercised some demons this year.

“We lost to Sitka two years ago and we beat them. We lost to Chugiak last year and we beat them,” Nerland said. “It feels really good, I’ll tell you that much.”

Third-Place Game

Sitka 6, Ketchikan 5

Sitka built an early lead and survived one bad inning to prevail in a third-place game between Southeast Conference rivals.

Ky Stockel and Branden Case each drove in a pair of runs and Trevor Dalton and Kyle Fitzsimmons each had one RBI.

Case homered and Fitzsimmons tripled as Sitka took a 6-1 lead after the top of the fifth inning.

Nathan Bonck and Co. made things interesting in the bottom half of the frame with a four-spot that made it a one-run game.

Bonck, the ace pitcher headed to Seattle University this fall, finished off his high school career in style with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate that included a three-run home run.

"The ball I hit was a splitter that might've hit me if I didn't swing," Bonck told me. "Totally hooked it and kept it just inside the foul pole."

For his career, the 2015 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, and three one-hitters. He also slugged 14 home runs – more than any other player in the state over that time.

“Ketchikan has given me all I could’ve asked for out of a high school baseball experience. Baseball in Southeast Alaska too,” Bonck said. “Traveling and housing out has blessed me with some lifelong friends out of the great town of Sitka.

“I’m happy with how it went and I know I’ve gotten better every year, as a person as well as a ballplayer.”

Fourth-Place Game

Wasilla 15, Lathrop 5

The Warriors broke out the bats in a big way, collecting 14 hits and scoring runs in six of the seven innings to win the fourth-place game at state.

Wasilla's Cyruss Lovell was the game's only player with three hits while teammates Ben Werner, Ryan Perkins, Nolan Monaghan and Kyle Graham each banged out two hits.

Wasilla's Jeffery Forster drove in three runs and Perkins, Monaghan, Jimmy Arend and Graham each had 2 RBIs.

Starter Hank Boyer got the win and reliever Austin Robertson pitched three perfect innings to collect the save.

Lathrop's bats weren't silent. Colin King homered and Mason Wilken tripled. Wyatt Berg went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

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

Run it back: Chugiak, South meet in rematch of 2015 final

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Friday's Schedule / Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 2

Loser's Bracket

Lathrop 11, Soldotna 9

Wasilla 4, Monroe Catholic 3

Semifinals

South 4, Sitka 0

Chugiak 4, Ketchikan 3

GAME RECAPS

Chugiak 4, Ketchikan 3

Even though baseball comes down to individual matchups, the game is a team sport all the way.

Just ask the Mustangs.

With ace Cody Curfman not pitching his best early on, Chugiak closer Matt Hess stepped in to throw a season-high 4.1 innings to preserve a slim lead in the state semifinal.

“Matt was great tonight,” Curfman told me. “I just didn’t have it tonight and for Matt to come up big in that situation is huge.”

Hess allowed only one run and wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning with a fly out.

“I misplaced a couple pitches and they capitalized because they are a great hitting team,” Hess told me. “But my team stayed positive and always has my back. They are a great defense and they made the plays they needed to get me out of the jam.”

Chugiak advanced to the state championship game for a rematch of last year’s title matchup with Cook Inlet Conference rival South.

Chugiak beat South 10 days ago for the CIC title. Hess finished off that game, too.

“I love closing games,” said Hess, who has two saves. “It’s an awesome feeling coming into a close game and being the one that gets to finish it on the mound.”

Jake Kindred went 3-for-3 and scored twice. Brady Lindberg drove in two runs and Charlie Bucolo and Curfman each added RBIs.

This was the second straight game the Mustangs put up a crooked number on the scoreboard. Last night it was a five-run first inning against Monroe Catholic. Tonight was it a three-run third.

“We always love to come out hitting first [as visitor],” Curfman said. “When we get a few runs early it really propels us through the rest of the game; and knocks down the confidence of the other team’s pitcher.”

In the seventh inning, Ketchikan gunned down an insurance run on a beautiful relay from left fielder Jackson Pool to shortstop Jacob Shay to catcher Nate Fousel, who tagged out Hess at the plate.

The throw home needed to be perfect to get him.

“It was a good throw and a good tag,” Hess said. “I don’t know if I was out, but it was a tough call and could have gone either way for sure. Very clutch play by them.”

Ketchikan's Nathan Bonck went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Teammates Spencer Erickson and Mo Bullock each had two hits.

South 4, Sitka 0

Even though he stood alone on the mound for South in Friday’s state tournament semifinals, starting pitcher Parker Johnson never felt like he was on an island.

He pitches to contact and relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

“I’m not able to overpower hitters,” Johnson told me. “I just try to keep them off balance to get my fielders plays and they always have my back, which is nice.”

The junior right-hander shut out the Southeast Conference champions by scattering six hits and three walks over seven innings of work.

He got the big outs when he needed as Sitka stranded eight runners on base.

“It definitely helps having the best fielders in the state behind me,” Johnson said. “I relied on my changeup, trying to keep hitters off balance and give my team a chance to make plays in the field. They made some big plays for me today, as they always do.”

It’s not just the defense, though. Johnson ended the season with a 15-inning scoreless streak. And his win helped South advance to the state championship game for the fourth consecutive year, looking for first title since 2013. 

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I can’t wait.”

The Wolverines got base hits from eight of nine starters and major contributions from the bottom of the lineup as Sladen Mohl, Anthony Maldonado, Max Costello and Trevor McGinnis combined to score three runs and drive in another.

Sitka starter Kyle Fitzsimmons went the distance and had only one bad inning, throwing goose eggs in four frames. He gave up eight hits and three earned runs in six innings.

Sitka coach Matt Way - a 2009 fifth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies - knows a thing or two about pitching and he liked what he saw from both starting pitchers.

"Both had good control of their offspeed and both worked out of some big jams," Way told me. "It was a fun game. In the end, it came down to defensive execution. We got outplayed today."

Wasilla 4, Monroe Catholic 3

Hank Boyer bunted home Jeffery Forster from third base to allow the Warriors to walk off with an extra-inning game to avoid elimination.

The Southcentral Conference champions scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings to advance to the fourth-place game of the state tournament.

Koby Burns hit the tying home run in the sixth, which ultimately forced an extra inning of play.

Nolan Monaghan, Jimmy Arend and Boyer also had RBIs for Wasilla.

Monroe Catholic led 3-1 through four innings, thanks to runs scored by Izak Lohrke, Miachael Richter and Dyland Steele.

Starter Gavin Jackson didn't get the decision. He pitched well, though, scattering four runs over seven innings. 

Burns started for Wasilla and struck out 10 batters over six innings.

Reliever Austin Robertson pitched two scorless frame for the win.

Lathrop 11, Soldotna 9

Mason Wilken's two-run triple capped a five-run fifth inning rally and proved to be the difference for the Malemutes of Fairbanks in an elimination game.

Wilken, the No. 9 hitter, finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs as the Mid Alaska Conference champions survived to play another day.

Vonche Wood, James Kardash, Evan Wilken and Sam Greenburg also drove in runs for Lathrop.

The Malemutes won despite issuing a combined 13 walks by four pitchers. The offense also had a lot of base runners and scored in five different innings.

Soldotna pitcher Chase Reed came out of the bullpen and threw three innings to get the win and help Lathrop move on to Saturday’s fourth-place game.

Soldotna's Joe Becher doubled, drove in two runs and scored twice. Teammate Kolten Wilson also had two RBIs.

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

Southeast, Cook Inlet dominate on first day at State

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Tournament

Thursday's Schedule / Scores

At Mulcahy Stadium, Anchorage

Day 1, First Round

Sitka 12, Soldotna 2

Ketchikan 11, Wasilla 1

South 11, Lathrop 1

Chugiak 11, Monroe Catholic 0

GAME RECAPS

Chugiak 11, Monroe Catholic 0

The defending state champion Mustangs didn’t waste any time as the first seven batters of the game reached base to ignite a five-run first inning.

Charlie Bucolo drove in four runs and Cook Inlet Conference MVP Cody Curfman had three hits and two RBIs for Chugiak.

“Our leaders stepped up today,” Chugiak’s Brady Lindberg told me. “The first rally definitely takes a lot of pressure at the start. It feels good having a strong offense to back my pitching.”

Lindberg threw three scoreless innings on the mound and at the plate he knocked in two runs to help his own cause.

The right-hander allowed one hit and two walks. He struck out four.

“I started to get in my head a lot,” Lindberg said. “I struggled, but I had my defense to back me after I settled down.”

Brian Wing pitched the final two innings to close the door for the CIC champions.

Monroe Catholic is making just its second appearance at the state tournament in school history.

The Rams of Fairbanks have one of the youngest teams in the state and their future looks bright.

Chugiak has now won four straight games at the state tournament, dating back to last season.

South 11, Lathrop 1

After losing the Cook Inlet Conference championship game nine days ago, the Wolverines had plenty of time to prepare for the state tournament. They also had a ton of time to hit.

“We have been hitting a lot during the break between the CIC championship game and today,” South’s Tommy Koloski told me. “We came into the game wanting to get back to playing how we know we can.”

The Wolverines banged out 11 hits in just four frames of work. The game was called after the top of the fifth inning.

“We don’t want another second place and we need to come out swinging with authority these next few games,” said Koloski, the winning pitcher.

South's Matt Kley and Sladen Mohl each had two hits and two RBIs. Teammates Lian Lincoln and Julito Fazzini also drove in two runs apiece.

The Wolverines took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, thanks in part to a pair of bases-loaded walks. They put the Mid-Alaska Conference champions away with a six-run second inning.

“We were hitting for so long, by the time I went back out I felt that I needed to warm up all over again,” said Koloski, who has a 0.95 ERA over his last 22 innings. “I’m glad that I only went three innings so I can come back for another game and do what I do best.”

Lathrop's Colin King had two base hits and Evan Wilken drove in his team's lone run.

Ketchikan 11, Wasilla 1

The Kings jumped all over the Southcentral Conference champion Warriors with four runs in the first inning - all with two outs - to propel them in the first round.

Ketchikan added another run in the second inning and three more in the third inning before Wasilla got on the scoreboard.

Last year's Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Nathan Bonk pitched beautifully, scattering four hits over seven innings with 11 strikeouts. The only run he allowed was unearned.

"Pretty solid game," Bonck told me. "I kept the pitch count down and threw all my offspeed for strikes."

Wasilla was the only team in the state to go undefeated in league play.

But Ketchikan wasn't going to be denied.

Mo Bullock and Jackson Pool each collected four RBIs as the Kings outhit Wasilla 12-4.

"Out bats came alive," said Bonck, who went 2-for-4.

Wasilla pitcher Nolan Monaghan struck out a dozen batters in six innings of relief.

Sitka 12, Soldotna 2

Vaughn Blankenship pitched a complete game and Ky Stockel delivered RBIs in the third, fifth and sixth innings as the Southeast Conference champion Wolves rolled in the first round.

Blankenship allowed two runs and four hits [two triples] in the first inning, then settled down nicely. He allowed only one hit over the final six frames.

He struck out 11 batters.

"This win was huge for us," Sitka coach Matt Way told me. "Blankenship is always super tough on the mound, but unfortunately he doesn't get tough until he gives up a run or two.

"He battles, though, and that's what all great pitchers have in common."

Stockel, Dayton Cropper and Josh Young each had two hits as Sitka pounded out 11 against Soldotna ace Joe Becher.

Becher threw two of the team's three no-hitters during the regular season.

Eight Sitka players scored runs and seven drove in runs. Trevor Dalton and Cropper each had two RBIs.

"The offense is one of our biggest weapons this year," Way said. "Where we used to rely on pitching and defense, this year we have worked a ton on our hitters' approach at the plate and it's great to see the guys having success."

This was the first state tournament win for Way, a former hometown hero who pitched at Washington State and the professional ranks.

Way took over last year after longtime coach Ed Conway retired after leading the Wolves to the 2014 state championship.

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

Coaches vote Curfman winner of Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

Whether he was pitching, hitting or catching, Cody Curfman of Chugiak was a game changer.

The senior all-star won a league-best four games on the mound; he drove in nine runs in 11 games, including a pair in the league championship game; and he caught a no-hitter and erased 10 runners on the base paths this year.

Yeah, just give him the player-of-the-year award.

That’s exactly what the Cook Inlet Conferences coaches did in honoring Curfman with the 2016 Don Rabung CIC MVP Award at a league meeting Friday.

Curfman is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA at pitcher. He pitched six innings in the CIC title game as Chugiak beat South 6-4 at Mulcahy Stadium to secure the league’s No. 1 seed at state.

He was the catcher on Chugiak’s combined no-hitter by Brady Lindberg and Matt Hess against East. He gunned out a league-high six runners trying to steal bases.

Curfman was one of four players to make the all-conference first team at two positions. Another was his teammate, Hess, who made it at relief pitcher and second baseman.

The other two were from Service – Ronan Klancher [SP, OF] and Raleigh Pigg [RP, SS]. 

Hess also has do-it-all talent for the Mustangs.

In addition to being a two-time first team selection, he was awarded for with the CIC Big Stick Award. He led the league with a .464 batting average and seven doubles.

The league’s Gold Glove Award went to slick South third baseman Matthew Kley, who made only one error on 19 defensive chances and flashed a .950 fielding percentage.

All-conference voting was done by league head coaches or their designee. Coaches couldn’t vote for their own players. The number of nominations per team was based on league standings.

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

Cook Inlet Conference Baseball Awards

Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, Sr., SP/C, league-best 4-W, 0-L, 1.93 ERA, 16 K, 29 IP, .323 BA, 9 RBI, 3 2B, 7 SB, league-best 6 CS, 4 PK

Big Stick Award

Matt Hess, Chugiak, Jr., league-best .464 BA, 8 RBI, league-best 7 2B, 12 R, .714 SLG

Gold Glove Award

Matthew Kley, South, Jr., 3B, .950 FLD, made only one error on 19 defensive chances, 1 DP

All-Conference

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher 

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, league-best 4-W, 0-L, 1.93 ERA, 16 K, 29 IP

Jonny Homza, South, 1-W, 1-L, 1.75 ERA, No-Hitter, 12 IP

Sean Duffy, West, 1-W 1-L, 3.50 ERA, league-best 35 K, 16 IP

Ronan Klancher, Service, 2-W, 0-L, 2.10 ERA, 13.1 IP

Relief Pitcher

Raleigh Pigg, Service, 1-W, 1-L, league-best 0.58 ERA, 17 K, 12 IP 

Matt Hess, Chugiak, 1-W, 1-L, league-best 2 SV, 8.2 IP

Harry Weigel, West, 2-W, 2-L, 1 SV, 28 K, 19.1 IP

Catcher

Cody Curfman, Chugiak, .323 BA, caught no-hitter, erased 10 baserunners (league-best 6 CS, 4 PK)

First Baseman

Brady Lindberg, Chugiak, .417 BA, league-best 12 RBI, 6 SB, .985 FLD

Second Baseman

Matt Hess, Chugiak, league-best .464 BA, 8 RBI, 12 R, league-best 7 2B, .953 FLD, 20 A

Shortstop

Raleigh Pigg, Service, .364 BA, 11 RBI, league-best 2 3B, .939 FLD, league-best 29 A

Third Baseman

Matthew Kley, South, .424 BA, 11 RBI, .950 FLD

Charlie Bucolo, Chugiak, .257 BA, 1 HR, 10 R, league-best 2 3B, .903 FLD

Outfield

Max Costello, South, .435 BA, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 

Brian Wing, Chugiak, .355 BA, 13 R, league-best 15 SB, league-best 11 BB

Ronan Klancher, Service, .378 BA, 10 R, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 6 SB

Utility  

Jake Andresen, Dimond, .346 BA, 1 HR, 7 BB, 6 R, 5 SB

Ryan Solberg, East, .692 BA, 7 SB, 2 2B, 5 R, 1.000 FLD

Designated Hitter

Anthony Maldonado, South, .357 BA, 5 RBI, 

SECOND TEAM

SP- Jake Andresen (Dimond), Gaton Davis (East), Brady Lindberg (Chugiak), Tommy Koloski (South)

RP- Parker Johnson (South), Julito Fazzini (South), Sean Gardeline (Dimond)

C- Julito Fazzini (South)

1B- Dylan Montagna (Dimond)

SS- Jonny Homza (South)

OF- Parker Johnson (South), Nick Hall (Service), Noah Alexander (Dimond)

UT- Tyler Borschnack (Bartlett), Sladen Mohl (South)

HONORABLE MENTION

RP- Kaden Roettger (Dimond) 

C- Carl Gatter (East), Declan Dammeyer (West), Kyle Bremont (Dimond), Josh Linn (Eagle River)

1B- Derek Scoggins (Service)

2B- Jalen John (East), Aaron Davis (Eagle River)

SS- Jake Kindred (Chugiak), Kyle Henrickson (Dimond)

3B- Dylan Oberly (West), David Lundell (East), Christian Fredrick (Eagle River)

OF- Tristen Woods (Service), Logan Herman (East)

UT- Jared Froslie (Eagle River)

Recent Winners of Don Rabung CIC MVP Award

2015 tie, Lucas Thorp, Dimond, 1B/RP, .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG, 1-W, 1-L, 2 SV, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP

Willy Homza, South, SS, .518 BA, 10 RBI, 7 XBH, .556 OBP, .938 FLD

2014 Dalton Chapman, West, P/1B, 4-W, 0-L, 0.96 ERA, 1 SV, 77 Ks, 36 IP, .456 BA, 15 RBI, 4 3B, .711 SLG

2013 Max Karnos, South, P/1B, 1-W, 1-L, 0.33 ERA, 35Ks, 20 IP, 17 Ks 1 GM, .429 BA, 6 2B, 2 3B, 8 BB, 11 RBI

2012 Zach Ferntheil, Service, P/1B, 3-W, 0-L, 2 SV, 1.12 ERA, 25 K, 18 IP, .423 BA

Soldotna, Ketchikan round out 8-team state tournament field

The Soldotna pitching staff has been team known this year as the team that throws a lot of no-hitters - three to be precise.

But today they showed they could hit a little too.

The Stars beat up Colony 17-2 in the second-place game of the Southcentral Conference regional tournament in Kenai.

With the win, Soldotna secured the league's second berth to next week's ASAA State Tournament in Anchorage.

Cody Quelland went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs and Calvin Hills went 2-for-3 and scored three runs for Soldotna.

In Petersburg, the Ketchikan Kings snagged a state playoff berth with a 2-1 win over Juneau-Douglas in the Southeast Conference.

Ketchikan pitcher Nate Fousel pitched a complete game to grab the win in the team's biggest game of the year.

Sitka captured the regional title with a 10-2 over Ketchikan in the Southeast title game.

The state tournament runs next weekend at Mulcahy Stadium, starting with the first round on Thursday, June 2.

According to asaa.org, here are the first-round matchups:

Southeast #1 [Sitka] vs. Southcentral #2 [Soldotna]

Mid Alaska #1 [Lathrop] vs. Cook Inlet #2 [South]

Southcentral #1 [Wasilla] vs. Southeast #2 [Ketchikan]

Cook Inlet #1 [Chugiak] vs. Mid Alaska #2 [Monroe Catholic]

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

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