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Three Alaskans lead their college baseball teams in hitting

Between Anchorage’s Sagan Osborne at Dickinson State, Juneau’s Lance Ibesate at Jamestown and Anchorage’s Stephen Ferntheil at Mayville State, Alaska is booming with batters.

All three guys lead their team in hitting.

Osborne, of Dimond High fame, is batting .476 in 10 games. He has at least one base hit in every game and is 20-for-42 this fall.

“I try to be aggressive early in the count and not get into too many two-strike counts,” he told me. “Obviously, hitting gets harder when you give the pitcher his choice of pitches.”

Osborne, a junior who moved from third base to shortstop, also leads his team with 7 RBIs.

An all-star in high school and American Legion, Osborne never translated his talent to the college level until he reached Dickinson State in North Dakota.

“It feels great to contribute every day and just know that my team can count on me,” he said. “I think I’ve just finally relaxed into a groove like I used to.”

The success hasn’t gone to his head. In fact, he wants to clear his head each time he steps into the box.

“I think in the last few years I’ve tried to do too much at the plate,” Osborne said. “I tried to be too perfect and tried to force things to happen that I thought I needed to do in that situation.

“This year I’ve just gone back to hitting the ball where it’s pitched and good things have happened.”

Ibesate, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, leads undefeated Jamestown [ND] in hitting with a .423 average in seven games.

The junior second baseman extended his hitting streak to 10 games dating back to last season.

Ibesate has an RBI in the last six straight games this fall. 

He’s also scored 11 runs and swiped five bases.

Ibesate hit .368 in 46 games last year for Jamestown.

At Mayville State [ND], Ferntheil is the new kid in town but he’s up to his old tricks.

The junior catcher is ripping the ball for a team-best .556 batting average in eight games.

He is 13-for-23 with a half dozen starts with two hits. He also has six RBIs.

Ferntheil, of Service High fame, hit .329 in 44 games last summer with East Georgia State.

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

Osborne really coming into his own at Dickinson State

Sagan Osborne of Anchorage is finally delivering on his promising potential as a teenager.

Playing at his third college, the 21-year-old has rediscovered his hitting stroke for Dickinson State of North Dakota and is back to hitting the ball the way that made him one of Alaska’s top high school players.

Osborne enjoyed the best weekend of his college career Saturday against the University of Winnipeg and Sunday against Mayville State while extending his hitting streak to six games.

In the first series he went 4-for-9 with 5 RBIs as Dickinson swept Winnipeg. In the second series he was 2-for-7 in a pair of losses.

He is batting .360 [9-for-25] during the fall ball portion of the NAIA 2015-16 season.

Osborne, of Dimond High fame, has struck out just once in 28 plate appearances.

Other Alaskans fared well this weekend too.

At Mayville State, relief pitcher Zach Ferntheil of Anchorage extended his scoreless streak to five innings.

His older brother Stephen Ferntheil went 2-for-3 in the first game of the doubleheader. The catcher now has three consecutive games with at least two hits.

Outfielder Aaron Miller of Anchorage went 3-for-7 in the two games.

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

Alaskans begin college fall ball season on high note in Dakotas

The Dakotas were full of Alaskans playing NAIA baseball over the weekend during the fall season.

The Jamestown-Mayville State series in North Dakota had four local players while the Dickinson State-Presentation series in South Dakota featured one.

Jamestown swept Sunday's doubleheader with the help of Juneau's Lance Ibesate.

The starting second baseman went 3-for-7 [.429] with a triple, RBI and walk.

Ibesate also made all eight plays on defense.

Mayville State has a trio of Anchorage players: starting left fielder Aaron Miller, starting catcher Stephen Ferntheil and relief pitcher Zach Ferntheil.

Miller went hitless this weekend but he’s probably the most accomplished player on the field with a .345 career average in 128 games. 

Ferntheil, the bashing backstop, went 2-for-3 in the first game. Nobody tried to steal on him. He did not play in the second game.

The junior transferred from East Georgia College where he hit .329 in 44 games last season.

His younger brother Zach also transferred to Mayville State. 

The right-hander made a delightful debut with his new team by pitching three shutout innings of relief. He came in with his team trailing 4-2 and threw scoreless frames in the fifth, sixth and seventh to keep the Comets in the game.

In South Dakota against Presentation, Sagan Osborne of Anchorage started well in his first game with his new team Dickinson State of North Dakota.

He started at third base and went 2-for-5 with a run and two assists in the field as his team won 10-3. He went 1-for-3 with two assists and two putouts in a Game 2 loss.  

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

Juneau loses 10-6 at NWCART in final game for Coach Macaulay

Juneau Post 25 outhit the Fremont Silverwolves and matched the Utah team run for run for the first seven innings before losing an elimination game at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Logan, Utah.

In a back and forth game that saw the lead change hands several times, Fremont finally pulled away in the eighth inning to post a 10-6 victory over the Southeast Alaska team. 

It was the final game for manager Andy Macaulay, who stepped down after coaching the Legion AA team for three seasons and serving as the Midnight Suns Baseball Club since 2006.

Macaulay, a coach of the year winner, compiled a 70-29 record with Juneau and led Post 25 to the NWCART in each of the last two years and won three games.

This year his team went 1-2 and finished fifth.

Juneau led today’s game 3-2 before Utah went ahead 4-3. Finn Collins hit into a fielder’s choice to score RJ Markovich and tie it at 4-4.

Utah went up 7-4 in the top of the sixth before Michael Cesar’s line drive up the middle scored Jacob Dale and Matt Cunningham in the bottom half to make it 7-6. 

Juneau outhit Utah 13-12.

Markovich started and pitched six innings. Jacob Thibodeau threw the final three.

Markovich, Collins and Jake Tanner each doubled and combined for eight hits and four RBIs.

Macaulay addressed his team the final time after the game.

“I told them that it was a privilege to coach them and I’m excited to see where they go from here,” he said. “I told them that the way they can thank me is by paying it forward later in their life; get involved in their community and be a positive role model to the kids.”

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

Juneau wins, Kenai loses on Day 1 of NWCART in Utah

Kasey Watts and Alex Muir hit back-to-back doubles in the ninth inning to lift Juneau Post 25 to victory on opening day of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Logan, Utah.

Juneau posted a 3-2 victory over the Nampa Braves of Idaho to advance in the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination American Legion tournament.

Alaska’s other team, Kenai Post 20, wasn’t as fortunate and lost 14-4 to the Cody Cubs of Wyoming.

Juneau [27-4] got strong pitching, defense and hitting – all the key ingredients to having postseason success.

“Very proud how well they played together in such a close game,” Juneau manager Andy Macaulay told me. “Very proud of my boys.”

Juneau took a 2-0 lead in the third inning after RJ Markovich delivered a two-run double. That scored Jacob Thibodeau and Matt Cunningham, who had both singled.

Starting pitcher Nathan Klein was his usually awesome self and carried a shutout into the seventh inning.

Alaska’s most dominant pitcher, Klein has carved up the competition this year with a 9-1 record and 0.88 ERA. He didn’t factor into the decision, but struck out 13 batters in 6.2 innings of work.

“Nathan dominated the first five innings, then it got real muggy and he started to fade in the seventh,” Macaulay said.

Klein was pulled in favor of Markovich, who pitched 1.1 innings and picked up the win in relief.

Thibodeau closed it out in the ninth for the save.

The three pitchers combined for 17 Ks.

Markovich, who won the Big Stick Award at the state tournament, continued to tear the cover off the ball.

“RJ is still crushing,” Macaulay said. “He hit a shot about 370,380 [feet] to right center only to be robbed by their centerfielder with a ‘SportsCenter’ highlight diving catch.”

Juneau will play again Saturday at 5:30 ADT against the winner between the Bitterroot Rex Sox of Montana and host Logan, Utah.

Kenai will also play Saturday, facing the Fremont Silverwolves of Utah at 7:30 a.m. ADT. 

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

Chugiak out at Regionals; Kenai, Juneau start NWCART Friday

The Chugiak Post 33 Legion AA team was eliminated from the Northwest Regional after its second loss in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Bellevue [WA] struck early and often en route to a 20-2 victory at Powers Field.

The Washington state champions scored 12 runs in the first three innings and banged out a total of 17 hits.

Chugiak was never in this one, maybe a result of lingering disappointment over yesterday's 9-5 loss to Gillette [WY] after blowing a 4-0 lead.

The six errors didn't help.

Vander Lekites went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Blake Kutch was 1-for-2 with an RBI.

State tournament MVP Charlie Bucolo collected a pair of base hits.

Chugiak finished the Legion season with a 29-5 record.

The postseason is over for Chugiak, but it's just beginning for Kenai Post 20 and Juneau Post 25.

Those teams begin play Friday in the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Logan, Utah.

Juneau, Alaska's No. 2 team in the tournament, plays Idaho at 10:30 ADT.

Kenai, the state runnerup is Alaska's No. 1 team, takes on Wyoming at 2:30 p.m.

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

Gillette [WY] beats Chugiak on Day 1 of Northwest Regional

A weather delay doomed Chugiak Post 33 on Day 1 of the Legion AA Northwest Regional in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The Mustangs built an early lead before a lightning and rain storm caused the game to be delayed for more than an hour.

When the game resumed Gillette [WY] stole the momentum and went on to win 9-5 in the first round of the double-elimination tournament.

Chugiak matched Gillette hit for hit - each team had 10 - and committed fewer errors; Chugiak had two compared to six for Gillette.

Zach Bohrer and Alex Hess each had two hits and an RBI. Vander Lekites also had two hits and Jake Kindred also drove in a run.

The Alaska state champions will play Bellevue [WA] tomorrow morning in an elimination game.

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

Klein has 16 Ks as Juneau beats Service for final NWCART berth

Juneau 5, Service 1

Remarkable right-handed pitcher Nathan Klein fired a 4-hitter with 16 strikeouts to lift Juneau Post 25 over Service Post 28 at Mulcahy Stadium.

The game featured the third-place finisher from state [Juneau] and the Matson Invitational champion [Service] in a postseason qualifier.

The game would decide which third Alaska team would travel to to a regional tournament.

Juneau's victory assured manager Andy Macaulay's team a trip to the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament [NWCART], which starts later this week in Logan, Utah.

Klein struck out 16 of 32 batters faced and threw a total of 124 pitches.

Juneau's JR Markovich, Tod Baseden and Bryce Swofford each drove in runs.

Juneau managed just three hits off Service starter Cobey Cupp in 4.2 innings. Reliever Raleigh Pigg pitched 3.1 hitless innings with five strikeouts.

But they issued 10 walks.

Jaren Childs had the lone RBI for the Cougars.

Juneau will join Kenai Post 20 at the NWCART in Utah. State champion Chugiak Post 33 will go to Cheyenne, Wyoming, for the Northwest Regional in the first step toward qualifying for the Legion World Series.

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

Lanier, Bucolo lead Chugiak Post 33 to Legion state championship


Chugiak 6, Kenai 0

They call him Jimmy, but he might as well go by 'Big Game James' Lanier.

The Chugiak Post 33 right-handed pitcher rose to the occasion once again, this time pitching a 3-hit shutout over Kenai Post 20 to highlight a 6-0 victory in the championship game of the Legion AA State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Lanier was marvelous on the mound and got lots of help from his friends, especially second baseman Charlie Bucolo.

Bucolo crushed a 3-run home run to left field in the third inning that pushed the lead to 4-0.

It was the second bomb in two games for Bucolo, who batted .444 with two HRs and eight RBIs in the tournament to collect Most Valuable Player honors.

With the win, No. 1 Chugiak improved to 29-3 and will represent Alaska at the Northwest Regional next week in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Kenai is going to the Northwest Class A Regional in Logan, Utah, which also starts next week.

This was Chugiak's eighth Legion state championship in school history, ranking second on Alaska's all-time list. East has the most with 10.

The Mustangs controlled the title game in every aspect.

Lanier, who took the tournament's Top Pitcher award, was rock solid until a little hiccup in the ninth inning when he loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman.

He pitched 15.1 innings over two appearances at state and finished 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA.

Lanier has been huge all year - he was the winning pitcher when Chugiak won the high school state title and again when Chugiak beat Castroville, Texas, during the BP Invitational.

Offensively, Bucolo went yard and Jake Kindred, Zach Brueggemann and Sam Hanson collected RBIs.

Brueggemann doubled off the left-field wall, missing a home run by five feet.

The all-star right fielder also threw out a runner at first base on a rare 9-3 putout. Chugiak also picked off a runner at second base and got another out on the base paths in a rundown.

Doug Henie's Chugiak club is now 44-7 since high school.

Kenai deserves a lot of credit. Not only did the No. 6 Twins win five consecutive elimination games to reach the championship game, but they beat Chugiak 7-6 earlier in the day to force an if-necessary game.

In the first game, Kenai jumped to a 7-2 lead before hanging on for dear life after escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth inning.

Kyle Johnson picked up the win and Justice Miller got the save. Johnson limited Chugiak's hot bats to just two hits over five innings of work. Johnson finished the tournament with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings.

Miller was one of his team's best players the entire week and won the tournament's Gold Glove award.

Juneau's RJ Markovich won the tournament's Big Stick award after hitting .400 with five RBIs and five extra-base hits in four games.

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

Service beats Ketchikan for Matson Invitational title

Matson Invitational Title Game

Service 8, Ketchikan 3

Ronan Klancher and Derek Scoggins each had three hits and two RBIs as [9] Service beat [11] Ketchikan 8-3 in the championship game of the Matson Invitational at Bartlett High School.

Service broke free of a 2-2 tie by scoring three times in the fourth inning. The Post 28 Cougars sealed the deal with a three-run ninth inning.

Pitchers Jake Wasson and Nick Hall combined on a 7-hitter and limited Ketchikan to just one run over the final seven innings.

Daltin Johson and Wasson each had two hits as Service banged out 12 on the day, including doubles by Luke Giffen and Wasson.

Ketchikan's Shawn Sande drove in two runs, including an RBI single in the seventh inning that made it 5-3.

Luke Jones and Casey Hendricks had two hits apiece.

Service manager Willie Paul's team will now face state third-place finisher Juneau Post 25 on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium. The winner of that game will receive Alaska's second berth to the Northwest Category A Regional Tournament [NWCART] Aug. 7-11 in Logan, Utah.

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

Matson Invitational Individual Awards

Gold Glove

#24 LJ Felix 21 for 22 .957 fielding percentage West Post 1 

Top Pitcher

#5 Balas Buckmaster 11 2/3 IP 1-0 1 ER 0.77 ERA 8 Ks East Post 34 

Big Stick

#1 Spencer Erikson 4 runs 2 2B 4 RBI 3BB 3 HBP .333 BA .478 OBP Ketchikan Post 3 


#23 Ronan Klancher 5 runs 1 3B 6 RBI 2 SB .428 BA .466 OBP Service Post 28 

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2015 Legion AA Standings

Team Points League
**Chugiak Post 33 69 17-1
Juneau Post 25 66 16-2
South Post 4 54 12-6
Dimond Post 21 51 11-7
Valley Post 35/15 51 11-7
Kenai Post 20 51 11-7
Fairbanks Post 11 51 11-7
Fairbanks Post 30 48 10-8
Service Post 28 45 9-9
Kodiak Post 17 45 9-9
Ketchikan Post 3 39 7-11
Eagle River 30 4-14
West Post 1 27 3-15
East Post 34 24 2-16
Bartlett Post 29 23 2-16

Points: 4 Win 2 Tie 1 Loss 0 Forfeit
Each team plays 18 league games [top 8 advance to State Tournament; the rest Matson Lines Invitational]

**State champion


2015 High School Standings

Cook Inlet Conference
Team League

Championship Group




**South Anchorage 8-2
Dimond 6-4
Service 4-6

Consolation Group




Eagle River 5-5
West Anchorage 2-8
East Anchorage 2-8

Each team played 10 league games

$State champion

#Conference champion

**Qualfied for ASAA State Tournament

Mid Alaska Conference
Team League
**#Lathrop 10-0
**West Valley 8-2
North Pole 5-5

Monroe Catholic

Delta Junction 1-9
Eielson 1-9

Each team played 10 league games in the regular season

**Qualified for ASAA State Tournament

Southcentral Conference
Team League
**#Wasilla 9-1
Colony 8-2
**Kodiak 8-2
Soldotna 5-5
Homer 5-5
Palmer 4-6
Kenai 1-9
Houston 0-10

Each team played 10 league games in regular season

#Conference champion

**Qualified for ASAA State Tournament

Southeast Conference
Team League
**Juneau-Douglas 10-2
**#Ketchikan 9-3
Sitka 6-6
Thunder Mountain 3-9
Petersburg 2-10

Each team played 12 league games in regular season

#Conference champion

**Qualified for ASAA State Tournament

Legion AA Schedule

Revised July 1st:

Legion A Schedule

Revised July 6th:

Alaska Legion Baseball

2014 Alaska Legion AA American League

Team Points League
Wasilla Post 35 63 15-3
Service Post 28 57 13-5
Dimond Post 21 54 12-6
Juneau Post 25 51 11-7
**South Post 4 48 10-8
Ketchikan Post 3 39 7-11
East Post 34 33 5-13
West Post 1 06 0-18

**State champion

Alaska Legion AA National League

Team Points League
Chugiak Post 33 57 13-5
Eagle River 57 13-5
Kenai Post 20 54 12-6
Kodiak Post 17 48 10-8
Fairbanks Post 30 45 9-9
Bartlett Post 29 42 8-10
Fairbanks Post 11 32 5-13
Palmer Post 15 21 1-17

2013 Legion AA Standings

Team Points League
Wasilla Post 35 76 18-4
Juneau Post 25 73 17-5
South Post 4 70 16-6
**Chugiak Post 33 65 14-7-1
Dimond Post 21 59 12-9-1
Service Post 28 55 11-11
Kenai Post 20 55 11-11
Eagle River 52 10-12
Bartlett Post 29 46 8-14
Fairbanks Post 30/11 46 8-14

**State champion

2012 Legion AA Standings

Team Points League
**Kenai Post 20 71 17-3
South Post 4 62 14-6
Wasilla Post 35 62 14-6
Dimond Post 21 59 13-7
Fairbanks Post 11 59 13-7
Chugiak Post 33 52 11-9
Service Post 28 50 10-10
Eagle River 41 7-13
East Post 34 35 5-15
Bartlett Post 29 32 4-16
West Post 1 26 2-18

**State champion