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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 

Chugiak vs. Kenai to square off for Legion AA title Saturday

The Alaska Legion AA Baseball State Tournament seems like 2012 all over again.

Chugiak Post 33 advances to championship game unbeaten, while Kenai Post 20 battled through the loser's bracket to reach the final.

Kenai won the title that year.

We will see which team walks away with the 2015 trophy Saturday afternoon. No. 1 Chugiak will face No. 6 Kenai at 3 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium. There is an if-necessary game scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Chugiak swept Kenai in all three games during the regular season, including two league games, 6-3 and 11-9. 

Let's take a closer look at both teams:

Chugiak Post 33

The top-seeded Mustangs are 28-2 this season and have been the best baseball team in Alaska since high school. Chugiak won the ASAA state title in June and clinched the No. 1 seed after having the best record in Legion AA this summer.

Head coach Doug Henie's team has won 39 of its last 43 games.

The Mustangs are 3-0 in the state tournament after beating No. 8 Fairbanks 30, No. 5 Valley and No. 2 Juneau.

Chugiak has a .323 team batting average during the tournament and a 1.67 team ERA.

Picking an all-star on Chugiak is like picking a dandelion - they are everywhere.

Kenai Post 20

The sixth-seeded Twins [22-11] are a resilient group, having won four consecutive elimination games to reach Saturday.

They were especially effective Friday, winning consecutive games over No. 3 South and No. 2 Juneau by one run. In fact, both victories were courtesy of a bases-loaded walk.

Kenai's batting stats don't jump off the page, but that doesn't mean they are easy outs.

They are actually tough as nails. 

The Twins take pitches, work the count and wear down a pitching staff with base on balls. Kenai batters have walked 29 times, more than any team in the state tournament.

Past Legion State Champions

10 – East Post 34 [1974, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1988, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006]

7 – Dimond Post 21 [1986, 1987, 1999, 2000 2002, 2010, 2011]

7 – Chugiak Post 33 [1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2008, 2013]

4 – Fairbanks Post 11 [1970, 1973, 1975, 1978]

3 – Kenai Post 20 [1991, 1995, 2012]

3 – South Post 4 [2007, 2009, 2014]

3 – West Post 1 [1967, 1968, 1977]

2 – Bartlett Post 29 [1972, 1981]

2 - Juneau Post 25 [1983, 1984]

2 – Service Post 28 [1991, 2001]

1 – Kodiak Post 17 [1985]

1 – Wasilla Post 35 [1990]

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

Day 4 recap for State Tournament/Matson Invitational


GM12 Kenai 4, South 3, 11 innings

Jacob Sonnen drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded to plate the winning run as No. 6 Kenai outlasted No. 3 South in 11 innings in an elimination game.

Thomas Bowe homered and picked up the win with three innings of relief pitching.

Josh Darrow and Calvin Hills also drove in runs for Kenai, which avenged a first-round loss to South.

South's Sladen Mohl homered and was one of four players to get two hits; Maximilian Costello, Jonny Homza and Trevor McGinnis were the others.

Costello, Homza and Mohl had RBIs.

Both starters pitched wonferfully but neither factored in the decision. Kenai's Matthew Daugherty and Parker Johnson each went eight innings and allowed three earned runs.

South, the defending state champion, was eliminated and finished fourth in the tournament.

GM13: Kenai 3, Juneau 2

Playing its second straight game - just hours after going extra innings - No. 6 Kenai showed little fatigue and scored the winning run in the eighth inning to knock out No. 2 Juneau.

Josh Darrow walked with the bases loaded and two outs to score Michael Swoboda with the winning run.

Swoboda led off the eighth with a walk and was sacrificed to second with a bunt. Jacob Sonnen, the hero for the Twins in the earlier game, walked to load the bags.

It was Kenai's second win of the day via a bases-loaded walk.

Justice Miller pitched three perfect innings of relief to get the win. Starter Tyler Covey tossed six effective innings.

Nathan Klein and Tod Baseden drove in runs for Juneau, which tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning.

Juneau starter Finn Collins allowed three hits and two runs over six innings.

Juneau was eliminated from the tournament and finished third.

Kenai advanced to Saturday's state championship game against No. Chugiak.


Friday at Mulcahy Stadium

[6] Kenai 5. [3] South 4 - elimination game

[6] Kenai 3, [2] Juneau 2 - elimination game

Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium

3pm [6] Kenai Post 20 vs. [1] Chugiak Post 33 - championship game

6:30pm If-necessary game


West 5, East 2

Sean Duffy was brilliant on the mound and combined with reliever Declan Dammeyer for a 2-hitter as No. 13 West beat No. 14 East in an elimination game.

Duffy allowed just one hit over seven innings of work. He struck out 11 and walked just three. Only one run he allowed was earned.

West scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to build a 3-0 lead.

East got within 3-1 in the fifth before West responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Joseph Quinn drove in two runs for West. Dillon Oberly doubled, scored a run and collected an RBI.

East was eliminated from tournament action.

Ketchikan 6, West 5

Spencer Erickson scored the winning run and Austin Erickson was the winning pitcher as No. 11 Ketchikan edged No. 13 West in a loser-out game.

Spencer Erickson led off the seventh inning with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Luke Jones's bunt.

Ketchikan's Jacob Shay, Kadin Hallstrom, Casey Hendricks and Trevan Scott all drove in runs for the Kings.

Austin Erickson came in relief in the fourth inning and pitched the final five innings, allowing four hits and just one run.

Dyson Dammeyer went 2-for-2 with a run and RBI  for West. Teammates Declan Dammeyer, Joseph Quinn, Sean Smith and Luis Montilla also had RBIs.

West was eliminated from the tournament.

Ketchikan advanced to Saturday's Matson Invitational championship game against No. 9 Service at 10 a.m. at Bartlett High School.


Friday at Bartlett High School

 [13] West 5, [14] East 2 - elimination game

.[11] Ketchikan 6, [13] West 5 - elimination game

Saturday at Bartlett High School

10am Ketchikan Post 3 vs. [9] Service Post 28 - championship game

1pm If-necessary game

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

Day 3 recap for State Tournament, Matson Invitational


GM9: Kenai 6, Valley 3

Joey Becher tossed six shutout innings and Kenneth Griffin tripled and scored twice as No. 6 Kenai doubled up No. 5 Valley in an elimination game.

Jake Conver went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Griffin and Justice Miller each drove in single runs. Josh Darrow had two hits and two stolen bases.

Becher scattered three hits and seven walks. He struck out six. Thomas Bowe got the final four outs for the save.

The Valley's Buddy Dale collected three of his team's seven hits. Cooper McLaughlin, Dalton McHugill and Joshua Finch drove in runs for the Twins.

The Valley was eliminated and finished sixth in the tournament.

GM10: South 6, Dimond 1

Jonny Homza fired a 2-hitter over seven shutout innings of work to lift No. 3 South over No. 4 Dimond in an elimination game.

Homza was lights out on the bump, issuing no walks and striking out four.

He swung the ball well, too, banging out two hits with a run and RBI.

Tommy Koloski went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.

Dimond's Joe Fitka homered in the ninth off Lian Lincoln.

The Lynx finished with five hits, with Noah Alexander getting two of them.

Dimond was eliminated and finished fifth in the tournament.

GM11: Chugiak 13, Juneau 5

Jake Kindred's two-run double in the fourth inning capped a five-run rally that carried No. 1 Chugiak past No. 2 Juneau in a winner's bracket game.

Trailing 4-0, Chugiak scored five straight runs with two outs to take the lead. Juneau tied it in the sixth but Chugiak again responded with a three spot in the bottom half.

Chugiak put the game away with four runs in the eighth, earning a spot in Saturday's state title game.

The teams came into the game with a 52-4 combined record.

Chugiak's Sam Hanson drove in three RBIs and four other players finished with 1 RBI.

Juneau outhit the Mustangs 10-7, with JR Markovich's 4-for-5 leading the way. He also scored a run and drove in two.


Thursday at Mulcahy Stadium

[6] Kenai 6, [5] Valley 3 - elimination game

[3] South 6, [4] Dimond 1 - elimination game

[1] Chugiak 13, [2] Juneau 5 - winner's bracket


West 11, Bartlett 3

Sean Smith pitched eight strong innings as No. 13 West beat No. 15 Bartlett to survice in the loser's bracket.

Smith allowed seven hits and three runs while striking out eight. He also collected an RBI with the bat.

LJ Felix, Sean Duffy and Joseph Quinn each had two RBIs.

Eight of nine West starters got a hit.

Bartlett's Halquay Haoli had two hits, two stolen bases and an RBI.

Bartlett was eliminated from tournament play.

East 11, Eagle River 1

Ryan Solberg went 2-for-4 with four RBIs as No. 14 East ran away from No. 12 Eagle River in a loser-out game.

East amassed 10 hits and scored four times in the third inning, twice in the sixth and three more in the eighth.

Starter Balas Buckmaster went the whole way; the game was called after eight innings due to mercy rule.

He allowed just four hits, although he walked six. He struck out five.

Buckmaster also scored three times and finished 1-for-3.

Eagle River's Cody Keith drove in his team's lone run. Pete Kott went 2-for-3 and scored the run.

The loss knocked Eagle River out of the tournament.

Service 10, Ketchikan 6

The top of the lineup collected six of eight hits and drove in all six runs as No. 9 Service beat No. 11 Ketchikan 10-6 in a winner's bracket game.

Hitters Nos. 1-4 Ronan Klancher, Raleigh Pigg, Nick Hall and Derek Scoggins were the hitters that did the most damage.

Pigg and Hall each had two hits and two RBIs. Daltin Johson scored three times.

Service built a 5-0 lead only to see Ketchikan get within 5-4 in the top of the fourth inning.

By the bottom of the fourth ended, though, Service pushed its lead back to a comfortable margin at 9-4.

Ketchikan's Spencer Erickson went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Tony Tocco delivered a pair of RBIs.

Service advance to Saturday's championship game.


Thursday at Bartlett High School

[13] West 11, [15] Bartlett 3 - elimination game

[14] East 11, [12] Eagle River 1 - elimination game

[9] Service 10, [11] Ketchikan 6 - winner's bracket

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

2015 Alaska Legion AA Baseball Team of Excellence

Starting Pitcher

Nathan Klein - Juneau Post 25

Tommy Koloski - South Post 4

Jimmy Lanier - Chugiak Post 33

Joe Fitka - Dimond Post 21

Dalton McHugill - Valley Post 35/15

Joey Becher - Kenai Post 20

RJ Markovich - Juneau Post 25

Tyler Hill - Fairbanks Post 11


Kenny Griffin - Kenai Post 20

Jack Straub - Chugiak Post 33

Jeffrey Forster - Valley Post 35/15

Relief Pitcher

Zachary Brueggemann - Chugiak Post 33

Lucas Thorp - Dimond Post 21

Sam Bennett - Kodiak Post 17


Jonny Homza - South Post 4

Raleigh Pigg - Service Post 28

Zachary Bohrer - Chugiak Post 33

Jake Kindred - Chugiak Post 33

Nathan Klein - Juneau Post 25

Joe Schactler - Kodiak Post 17

Terrell Ford - Fairbanks Post 30

Ben Hall - Fairbanks Post 30

Preston Micheletto - Dimond Post 21


Lian Lincoln - South Post 4

Buddy Dale - Valley Post 35/15

RJ Markovich - Juneau Post 25

Zachary Brueggemann - Chugiak Post 33

Vander Lekites - Chugiak Post 33

Luke Jones - Ketchikan Post 3


Peter Kott - Eagle River

Michael Fitzpatrick - Fairbanks Post 30

Finn Collins - Juneau Post 25

Coaches of the Year

Andy Macaulay - Juneau Post 25

Doug Henie - Chugiak Post 33

Cliff Butcher - South Post 4


Infield - Sam Bennett Kodiak Post 17; Zeb Storie Juneau Post 25; Joe Fitka Dimond Post 21; Lucas Thorp Dimond Post 21; Josh Darrow Kenai Post 20; Tommy Bowe Kenai Post 20; Trent Chiu Fairbanks 11; LJ Felx West Post 1; Ryan Dudley Bartlett Post 28; Ryan Solberg East Post 34.

Outfield - Frank Carlson Kodiak Post 17; Matt Cunningham Juneau Post 25; Tod Baseden Juneau Post 25; Colin King Fairbanks Post 30; Parker Johnson South Post 4; Nick Hall Service Post 28; Noah Alexander Dimond Post 21; Cody Keith Eagle River; Carl Gatter East Post 34.

Catcher - Kyle Bremont Dimond Post 21; Dmitri Torres Bartlett Post 28.

Utility - Spencer Erickson Ketchikan Post 3; Logan Sanders Valley Post 35/15; Ronan Klancher Service Post 28.

Pitcher - Matt Hess Chugiak Post 33; Jake Andresen Dimond Post 21; Alex Schlegel South Post 4; Casey Lewandowski Fairbanks Post 11; Sean Duffy West Post 1.

Day 2 recap for State Tournament, Matson Invitational


GM5: Kenai 4, Fairbanks [11] 2

The No. 6 Twins manufactured two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to escape a close call with No. 7 Fairbanks Post 11 in an elimination game.

Kenneth Griffin scored on a fielder's choice and Thomas Bowe came home on a passed ball. Josh Darrow, Justice Miller and Jake Conver each had RBIs.

Kyle Johnson started and went seven strong innings but did not factor in the decision. Reliever Klayton Justice pitched two innings to get the win.

Fairbanks starter Casey Lewandowski pitched an 8-inning CG but suffered a hard-luck loss. He struck out a half dozen and walked zero.

Fairbanks 11 was eliminated and finished eighth in the tournament.

GM6: Dimond 17, Fairbanks [30] 10

The No. 4 Lynx broke out the bats with 19 hits and three big innings en route to a slugfest victory that knocked No. 8 Fairbanks 30 out of the state tournament.

Lucas Thorp went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored as eight of nine starters found the hit column.

Kyle Bremont and Jack Hoen each had three RBIs, and Joe Fitka and Tony Hillman each had three hits.

Fairbanks showed plenty of fight, scoring in six of nine innings and rallying for three runs in the seventh to stave off the mercy rule.

Terrell Ford went 2-for-6 with three RBIs and Colin King had two RBIs for Fairbanks 30, which finished seventh.

GM7: Juneau 8, South 0

Bryce Swofford threw a 4-hit shutout with seven strikeouts to lead No. 2 Juneau past defending state champion and No. 3 South in a winner's bracket game.

Tod Baseden went 4-for-5. He and JR Markovich had two RBIs and two runs. Alex Muir drove in three runs.

Juneau broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning.

Tommy Koloski's double highlighted South's offense.

GM8: Chugiak 7, Valley 3

Jimmy Lanier continued to pitch beautifully in big games this season, collecting another win as No. 1 Chugiak picked up its state-best 27th victory this season.

Lanier scattered five hits and five walks over 6.2 innings. The right hander won the high school state championship game and beat Castroville [Texas] during the BP Invitational, the team's only loss in 13 games in Alaska.

Zachary Bohrer, Charlie Bucolo and Jack Straub drove in runs. Bohrer also swpited a pair of bags.

The game was 2-2 in the fourth inning when Chugiak plated the next four runs to take control.

The Valley's Matthew Palmer, Blake Marks and Dalton McHugill collected RBIs.


Wednesday At Mulcahy Stadium

[6] Kenai 4, [7] Fairbanks (11) 2 - elimination game

[4] Dimond 16, [8] Fairbanks (30) 5 - elimination game

[2] Juneau 8, [3] South 0 - winner's bracket

[1] Chugiak 7, [5] Valley 3 - winner's bracket


Eagle River 5, Kodiak 3

Pete Kott pitched four innings of scoreless relief as No. 12 Eagle River rallied past No. 10 Kodiak to avoid elinimation.

The Wolves scored three unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit.

Kott also collected two base hits and scored twice. Brendan Miles drove in his team's lone RBI.

Sam Bennett and Jakob Arnold each went 2-for-5 for Kodiak, which was kocked out of the tournament.

Service 11, East 7

Ronan Klancher tripled and finished with two hits and three RBIs as No. 9 Service defeated No. 14 East in a winner's bracket game.

Cobey Cupp and Luke Giffin each had RBIs while Jake Wasson, Jaren Childs and Daltin Johson also drove in runs.

Service led 6-1 before East roared back to tie the game 7-7 in the seventh inning.

Balas Buckmaster and Yerarmy Valdez-Aristy had had two hits including a double. They each scored twice and stole a base. Buckmaster also had two RBIs.

East's Ryan Solberg pitched 7.2 innings of relief, limiting Service to three earned runs.

Ketchikan 13, West 5

Jack Carson was the man, throwing seven strong innings and getting three hits with an RBI at the plate to lead No. 11 Ketchikan over No. 13 West in the winner's bracket.

Carson worked around six walks to earn the win.

Five Ketchikan players had two or more hits. Luke Jones had two hits, two RBIs and three stolen bases.

West's Sean Smith doubled and drove in two runs.


Wednesday At Bartlett High School

[12] Eagle River 5, [10] Kodiak 3 - elimination game

[9] Service 11, [14] East 7 - winner's bracket

[11] Ketchikan 13, [13] West 5 - winner's bracket

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

Day 1 recap of State Tournament, Matson Invitational


GM1: South 4, Kenai 3

Parker Johnson's RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed No. 3 South to be a walk-off winner over No. 6 Kenai.

Lian Lincoln scored the winning run and starting pitcher Tommy Koloski went the whole way.

Koloski gave up six hits, one walk and one earned run. The big boy struck out 10.

Kenai looked to be in control after building a 3-0 lead and then held a 3-2 advantage going into the ninth inning.

Twins starter Matthew Daugherty allowed just one hit over 6.2 innings of work.

GM2: Juneau 5, Fairbanks [11] 2

Nathan Klein outdueled Tyler Hill in a pitcher's battle as both guys went the distance in No. 2 Juneau's win over No. 7 Fairbanks 11.

Klein finished with a 3-hitter with 11 strikeouts. Only one run was earned, but he did walk a half dozen.

Hill gave up seven hits with six Ks in an eight-inning CG.

JR Markovich, Finn Collins, Alex Swofford Klein all finished with RBIs.

Stanley Skorulski went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Fairbanks.

GM3: Valley 3, Dimond 0

Dalton McHugill pitched a masterful 2-hit shutout as No. 5 Valley silenced No. 4 Dimond.

McHugill walked 5 and struck out 8 en route to a 116-pitch gem.

Buddy Dale went 3-for-5 as seven of nine Valley starters got base knocks. Dale, Blake Marks and McHugill had RBIs in a 10-hit attack.

Dimond's Noah Alexander and Joe Fitka produced Dimond's only hits, both singles.

GM4: Chugiak 6, Fairbanks [30] 0

 Top-seeded Chugiak showcased a little bit of everything en route to beating No. 8 Fairbanks 30 in the final game of the day.

The Mustangs had 15 hits behind Charlie Bucolo's 3-for-4 effort. Matthew Hess and Brady Lindberg each had two hits and two RBIs. Vander Lekites went 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs.

Blake Kutch and Sam Hanson combined on a 7-hit shutout. Kutch started and scattered five hits and three walks over seven innings of work. He fanned 8. Hanson went the final two for the save.

Fairbanks starter Terrell Ford threw seven innings and was the only player on his team with two hits.


GM1: East 8, Bartlett 3

Stanley Nolberto and Ryan Solberg each finished with 2 RBIs as East's 12-hit attack led the No. 14 T-birds over the No. 15 Bears.

Laauli Tosi and Balas Buckmaster combined on a 2-hitter. Tosi started and went the first 5.1 before Buckmaster came in and collected a rare 3.1-inning save.

Logan Herman and Yerarmy Valdez-Aristy each drove in runs for East and Azzur Neely scored three times.

Bartlett's Alex Franklin had two RBIs, Dimitri Torres drove in a run and scored a run, and Eddy Cordero doubled for his team's only extra-base hit.

GM2: West 13, Kodiak 6

LJ Felix tripled and finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and four runs as the No. 13 Eagles upset No. 10 Kodiak.

Dillon Oberly pitched eight innings to earn the win and he collected a pair of hits with an RBI at the plate.

Sean Duffy, Joseph Quinn and Dyson Dammeyer each added two RBIs for West.

Kodiak's Giovanni Martinez, Louie Rocheleau and Trenton Foxworthy each drove in runs.

GM3: Ketchikan 4, Eagle River 3

Spencer Erickson wiggled out of some ninth inning trouble to save the win for starter Austin Erickson as No. 11 Ketchikan edged No. 12 Eagle River.

Ketchikan threw out a baserunner at home trying to score the tying run. It was the second out of the inning. But there were still runners at second and third when a flyout ended the threat.

Jackson Pool and Luke Jones each had RBIs and Spencer Erickson went 2-for-3 with a double and run.

Quincy Cooper pitched 5.2 innings and banged out two base hits. Lauren Frost scored twice and Christan Fredrick and Aaron Davis each drove in runs.

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

Day 1 State Tournament

Tuesday At Mulcahy Stadium

[3] South 4, [6] Kenai 3

[2] Juneau 5, [7] Fairbanks 11  2

[5] Valley 3, [4] Dimond 0

[1] Chugiak 6, [8] Fairbanks 30 0

Day 1 Matson Invitational

Tuesday At Bartlett High School

[14] East 8, [15] Bartlett 3

[13] West 13, [10] Kodiak 6

[11] Ketchikan 4, [12] Eagle River 3

Legion AA postseason starts Tuesday w/ State, Matson

The road to the Northwest Regional begins Tuesday when the Alaska Legion Baseball State Tournament gets started at Mulcahy Stadium.

Day 1 State Tournament schedule:

9 AM [6] Kenai Post 20 vs. [3] South Post 4

12 PM [7] Fairbanks Post 11 vs. [2] Juneau Post 25

3:15 PM [5] Valley Post 35/15 vs. [4] Dimond Post 21

**6:30 PM [8] Fairbanks Post 30 vs. [1] Chugiak Post 33

**radio [93.7-FM]

The double-elimination tournament runs through Saturday’s championship game at 3 p.m., with an if-necessary game at 6:30.

Follow every pitch of the state tournament thanks to our live viewing and scoring links.

Watch live:

Live scoring:

The ALB state champion will represent Alaska at the Northwest Regional, Aug. 5-9 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The second-place finisher at the ALB state tournament will also travel Outside, qualifying for the NWCART regional event, Aug. 7-11 in Logan, Utah.

State Champions Through the Years

10 – East Post 34 [1974, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1988, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006]

7 – Dimond Post 21 [1986, 1987, 1999, 2000 2002, 2010, 2011]

7 – Chugiak Post 33 [1989, 1994, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2008, 2013]

4 – Fairbanks Post 11 [1970, 1973, 1975, 1978]

3 – Kenai Post 20 [1991, 1995, 2012]

3 – South Post 4 [2007, 2009, 2014]

3 – West Post 1 [1967, 1968, 1977]

2 – Bartlett Post 29 [1972, 1981]

2 - Juneau Post 25 [1983, 1984]

2 – Service Post 28 [1991, 2001]

1 – Kodiak Post 17 [1985]

1 – Wasilla Post 35 [1990]

Matson Invitational

The second annual Matson Invitational begins Tuesday afternoon at Bartlett High School.

Day 1 Matson schedule:

11 a.m. [15] Bartlett Post 28 vs. [14] East Post 34

2:30 p.m. [10] Kodiak Post 17 vs. [13] West Post 1

6 p.m. [12] Eagle River vs. [11] Ketchikan Post 3

[9] Service bye

Follow the action with live scoring:

 The Matson Invitational winner will play the third-place finisher from the state tournament on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. for Alaska’s third regional berth. The winner of that game will also qualify for the NWCART.

Anchorage hosted the NWCART last season at Mulcahy Stadium.

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

Legion A Invitational starts Thursday, title game Sunday

Gm 1 Thursday  6pm  9 Eagle River vs 8 Service at Polar

 Gm 2  Friday     4pm   7 Fairbanks 11 v 2 Dimond at K-4

Gm 3  Friday     4pm   6 Fairbanks 30 v 3 Kenai  at  K-3

Gm 4  Friday      7pm   5 Chugiak vs. 4 South-Black at K-3

Gm 5  Friday     7pm   Gm #1 winner vs. 1 South-Gold at K4

 Gm 6  Saturday    11am  winner gm 2 vs winner gm 3 at K-3

Gm 7  Saturday    11am  winner gm 5 vs winner gm 4 at K-4

Gm 8  Saturday    11am    loser of Gm #1 vs loser gm 4 at  K-1 **

Gm 9  Saturday    11am  loser of Gm #2  vs loser gm  3 at K-2  **

** will be made up at 2pm on K-3 and K-4 if rained out. 

 Gm 10  Sunday    12noon   Loser Gm #5 vs winner of gm #9  Polar

Gm  11 Sunday    12noon   3rd place  Loser Game 6 vs Loser Gm 7  Bartlett

Gm 12 Sunday  3pm   Championship Game Bartlett

Way earns 6th save for Bellingham in West Coast action

After experiencing his first rough outing of the season, Brian Way of Sitka jumped right back in harm’s way and came away unscathed. 

The 20-year-old relief pitcher tossed a perfect ninth inning and collected his sixth save as the Bellingham Bells beat Victoria 2-0 in West Coast League action.

Way lowered his ERA to 1.42 over 15 appearances.

The 6-foot-7, 270-pound right hander was coming off his worst performance of the season against the same Victoria team. He gave up three runs in 1.1 innings of work.

It was only the second time in 15 games that gave up a run.

Way, of Sitka High fame, has a 4-0 record with 20 strikeouts in 20 innings.

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

Spink back on track after tough start with Lincoln Saltdogs

His season didn’t start well, but Eagle River’s Conor Spink is doing everything he can to get it back on track.

The 27-year-old left-handed relief pitcher with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association professional independent league is currently enjoying one of the best stretches of his four-year career.

Spink will carry a 9-inning scoreless streak into his next appearance.

That might not sound like much, but you have to consider he pitches no more than two innings a game and bounced back from the kind of sorry start that forces an early retirement.

Take a closer look at his turnaround that makes Spink a candidate for the league’s comeback player award.

First 9 games: 6.92 ERA

Next 17 games: 2.63 ERA

Spink, of Chugiak High fame, went from the doghouse to the penthouse in a matter of weeks. He’s back to his eighth inning role and picked up a save in last night’s 5-2 win over the Grand Prairie AirHogs.

Spink is one of only two Alaskans currently playing professional baseball and is one of seven Alaskans to pitch in more than 100 pro games.

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

Castroville [TX] beats Dimond for title in BP Invitational

Castroville [TX] 10, Dimond 0

They ran the bases like wild horses so it was fitting the Castroville [TX] Post 460 Cannons won the triple crown in this year's Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

The Texas team won tournaments in Wasilla and Kenai before claiming the championship in the BP Invitational at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

Castroville ran away from Dimond Post 21 for a 10-0 victory in just five innings, capping a 12-1 trip to The Last Frontier.

Starter Isaac Lugo tossed a 4-hitter with 5 Ks in the title tilt, handing Dimond its first loss in five games during BP.

Castroville benefited from sloppiness early and straight skills late.

In the first inning, the Cannons loaded the bases and then took a 3-0 lead after the Dimond right fielder misplayed a fly ball that cleared the bases.

In the second inning, speedster Wesley Moss practically walked home from third base after a delayed steal with Ethan Valdez at first base in which the Dimond pitcher never looked his way.

Moss and Valdez put pressure on opponents all weekend.

Moss won the BP Big Stick award after hitting .615 [8-for-13] with two doubles and 6 RBIs. He also stole six bases and scored eight times.

Valdez, a dynamic shortstop, earned BP MVP honors after proving to be the biggest game changer. In addition to his glove love, Valdez hit .533 [8-for-15] with a home run, two doubles and 7 RBIs.

Castroville put the game away with a six-run fifth inning, ending on a Moss sacrifice fly.

Dimond was led all tournament by Joe Fitka, who was a finalist for the MVP award.

At the plate he had a homer, two triples and 12 total bases in five games.

But he made the biggest difference on the mound. He was named the BP Top Pitcher after going 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA, beating Napoleon [OH] and Team Avenue Academy [CA].

Dimond shortstop Preston Micheletto won the BP Gold Glove award with a .950 fielding percentage and an unassisted double play.

Dimond 6, Napoleon [OH] 3

Dimond was the last team from Alaska to win the BP Invitational, and Dimond will have another shot tonight at 7:30 p.m at Mulcahy Stadium.

Dimond moved into the title game with a 6-3 victory over Napoleon [OH] in the semifinals. It was the second victory over an Outside team for Post 21 during the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

Joe Fitka's three-run triple triggered a four-run first inning that gave Dimond all the momentum it needed.

Napoleon - the 2013 BP champion - pulled within 5-2 in the fifth inning and 6-3 in the sixth inning.

Castroville [TX] 11, Team Avenue Acaedemy [CA] 4

A six-run sixth inning carried the Cannons into the championship game of the 21st annual BP Invitational.

With the game tied at 3-3, Castroville broke open the game with an offensive outburst.

Trestan Pool, Frank Bosmans and Heath Clary each had two RBIs. Jaren Gamez scores three runs.

Castroville is 11-1 in Alaska entering tonight's 7:30 p.m. title game against the winner of the second semifinal between Dimond and Napoleon [OH].

Team Avenue's Pedro Almaguer drove in two runs and Pierre Martinez and Trevor Wever each had one RBI.

Castroville starter Isaiah Limon went all seven innings.

Chugiak 8, South 3

In the game between No. 3 seeds, Chugiak broke things open with a six-run third inning.

Zach Brueggemann, Brandy Lindberg, Matthew Hess and Brandon Neal each had 2 RBIs.

Vander Lekites scored three times and stole two bases.

Each team managed just five hits.

Jonny Homza and Parker Johnson drove in runs for South.

Chugiak won three of four games at this year's BP Invitational, but was victimized of a tiebreaker that denied them a spot in the semifinals.

Service 10, Eagle River 5

Jaren Childs and Daltin Johnson had two RBIs apience as Service picked up its first win in the BP between No. 4 seeds.

Raleigh Pigg and Nick Hall doubled, and Daren Tatum stole two bases.

Eagle River's Cody Keith had a pair of RBIs, Pete Kott had a pair of hits and Quincy Cooper had a pair of stolen bases.

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

Chugiak hands Castroville first loss on Day 3 on BP Invitational

Castroville [TX] 10, Napoleon [OH] 3

Ethan Valdez's three-run homer keyed an 11-hit attack as the Cannons remained unbeaten in Alaska.

Valdez, Frank Bosmans, Robert Lopez and Trestan Pool each had two hits. Seven of nine starters got at least one base hit.

The Texas team is 10-0 during the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour.

Eddie Gomez and Heath Clary combined on a 5-hitter.

Napoleon's Nate Rau, Jimmy Bauer and Brevin Renollet drove in runs for the River Bandits.

Napoleon [OH] 11, Eagle River 1

River Bandits starter Michael Hendricks pitched a 5-inning no-hitter with four walks.

Hendricks allowed an unearned run in the first inning after Quincy Cooper reached on an error and later scored on a passed ball.

He stuck out 6.

Micheal Gilliland went 3-for-3 and Cody Caudill finished with three RBIs.

Napoleon is 7-3 in Alaska this summer.

Dimond 12, Service 7

Joe Fitka blasted a home run to left field with a wood bat and finished with 4 RBIs as Dimond remained undefeated during the tournament.

Fitka finished 2-for-3. Noah Alexander was 3-for-3 and Jake Andresen as 3-for-4. Alexander also drove in three runs.

Nick Hall, Hunter Johnson and Daltin Johnson each had RBIs for Service.

Dimond led 7-0 before Service battled back for six runs in the top of the third. 

Chugiak 8, Castroville [TX] 7

Jakub Kindred's two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed the Mustangs to hand the Texas team its first loss in Alaska.

In a 6-6 game, Kindred delivered a two-out base hit to scored Brandon Neal and Alex Hess.

Jimmy Lanier started and pitched into the fifth inning before Zach Brueggemann replaced him.

Kindred, Brueggemann and Hess each finished two hits.

Rico Trevino, Wesley Moss, Ethan Valdez and Noe Garza had two hits for Castroville.

The loss dropped Texas to 10-1 during this 2015 road trip to The Last Frontier.

Chugiak was the third Alaska team to beat an Outside team this summer, joining Dimond and the Valley.

Team Avenue Academy [CA] 7, South 3

Jose Castruita struck out seven over seven innings and Preston Scott and Jullian Vasquez collected two RBIs as the Aces advanced to the semifinals.

Castruita allowed only one run over the final six innings.

With the team tied at 2-2, Team Avenue exploded for five runs in the fifth inning to put the game away.

South's Lian Lincoln, Jonny Homza and Hunter Johnson drove in runs.

Live scoring

Follow every pitch of the 21st annual BP Invitational:


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

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