State Tournament: Palmer outlasts Dimond in 12 innings

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 22, 2021

Palmer 3, Dimond 2

The Palmer Post 15 Pioneers are going to party like it's 1989.

Palmer (15-12) won its first game at the state tournament in 32 years, thanks to Evan Walker's two-out RBI single in the 12th inning that provided a 3-2 win over the Dimond Post 21 Lynx on Day 1 of the Legion State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Relief pitcher Koen Leaders retired all four batters he faced to pick up a winning decision in support of starter Jason Gunderson, who pitched eight innings in a no decision.

Gunderson and Dimond starter Ryan Henrickson were the story of the game as the pitching duel helped produce the seventh-longest game in the 69-history of the state tournament.

Henrickson struck out 14 batters in 7.2 innings. Gunderson struck out a half dozen and scattered seven hits and three walks. Both starters were forced out of the game because of the 105-pitch count.

Palmer's Bryant Marks went 3-for-5 and gave Palmer a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning with a bloop double to left field. But Dimond answered right back in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to Peyton Montagna (3-for-6), who singled and later scored on passed ball. Garrett Lick then doubled and came around on an error to tie the game at 2-2.

Dimond (14-10) had its chances, many of them, and left 15 runners on base.

Credit Palmer's pitching. Gunderson got out of a runner-on-third, one-out jam in the seventh inning. Landon Guggenmos escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth inning. Leaders wiggled out of bases-loaded, two-out trouble in the 11th inning.

South 5, Ketchikan 1

Isaac Johnson threw five shutout innings and the Post 4 Wolverines ran their winning streak to nine games with a 5-1 win over the Post 3 Kings on Day of the Legion State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Skylar Sugita went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Maddux Soland tripled and scored twice as South (23-2) pulled away in the later stages of the game.

Joey Serra and Reece Ivanoff both added RBIs and Hunter Manderson and Reid Brock each pitched an inning of relief.

Serra also made the defensive play of the game, stretching to reach an errant throw to retire the side and save a run.

Early on, Johnson (7 Ks) was locked in a pitcher's dual with Ketchikan starter Jesse Loughman as the game was scoreless through the first three innings.

But then Loughman left the game, presumably to save him for later in the tournament. South scored two unearned runs before breaking out the sticks against the bullpen over the final innings.

Sugita sparked South's late-game surge. In the fifth inning, he singled, stole second and later scored to make it 2-0. In the sixth, he delivered a two-out, two-run base knock to put the game out of reach at 5-0.

Ketchikan (13-11) scratched a run across in the seventh inning on a pair of walks and a pair of fielder's choices.

The Kings put a runner in scoring position three times against Johnson, but couldn't get that clutch base hit. It's been a familair theme for Johnson, who has emerged as one of the top aces in the Alaska.

Juneau 3, Chugiak 0 

Pitchers Garrison Luben, Kai Schmidt and Isaiah Nelson combined on a 2-hit shutout to lead the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns to a 3-0 win over the Chugiak Post 33 Mustangs on Day 1 of the Legion State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Schmidt got it done with his arm and his legs, twice scoring runs as a result of aggressive base runner, a hallmark of Juneau's success over the years.

He walked with one out in the fourth inning. With two outs, Nelson singled to center and Schmidt went first to third and when the outfield bobbled the ball Schmidt raced around third to score. He never broke stride on the play.

In the seventh inning, he reached after being hit by a pitch with one out and later scored on a two-base throwing error for the Midnight Suns (18-5).

Juneau's Gavin Millard made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the seventh inning that scored Porter Nelson.

Schmidt pitched 3.2 innings, Luben 2.1 innings and Isaiah Nelson picked up the save after working around a base hit and walk in the seventh inning.

Chugiak's Gabe Gruszynski broke up Juneau's no-hit bid with one out in the sixth with a clean single to right field. However, on the play, the outfielder tried to throw out Gruszynski at first base but the throw ricocheted off Gruszynski and rolled all the way to the fence. Gruszynski rounded second base and headed for third, but the throw got him on a bang-bang play.

Fischer Sims reached base three times on a single and two walks for the Mustangs (13-12). Preston Rau pitched well in his four innings of work, scattering four hits and three runs but allowing only one run - and it was unearned. In fact, every run Chugiak allowed was unearned.

Eagle River 13, Service 1

Connor Johnson mashed a tater and Cam Witte went the distance as the Wolves needed only six innings to knock off the Service Post 28 Cougars on Day 1 of the State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Eagle River (19-7) banged out 13 hits and had eight different players with at least one RBI. The Wolves scored in five of six innings, including an eight spot in the sixth inning.

Johnson smashed a pitch down the left-field line and over the wall to make it 3-0 in the fourth inning. 

Josh Thompson was 3-for-5 with a run and two RBIs, and Orazio Ramos went 2-for-4 with a double, three runs and two RBIs.

Eagle River had four extra-base hits, including doubles by Gavin Oakley and Witte. On the mound, Witte struck out six batters while giving up five hits and walk. He wiggled out of bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth inning when the game was still on the line.

Service (19-8) had five hits and turned a double play in the fourth inning. Henry Helgeson doubled and scored on Coen Nicali's RBI single for the team's lone run.