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Alaska Baseball Academy goes 3-2 at Arizona Fall Classic

The Alaska Baseball Academy closed out the annual Arizona Fall Classic in style, winning a pair of games to finish the showcase tournament with a 3-2 record.

The Alaska all-stars beat Mountain West Baseball Academy out of Utah 5-4 and then let the bats rip in a 7-3 win over a highly touted Colorado Rockies scout team.

In the win over Utah, pitchers Nathan Klein of Juneau and Nolan Monaghan of Wasilla each threw four innings while Bartlett’s Logan Williams pitched the final inning for the save.

Ketchikan's Nathan Bonck delivered at the plate with three of his team’s 11 hits, including a double. South’s Willy Homza and Eagle River’s Mike Rosenberg each had two hits.

In the nightcap, the Alaskans clubbed 16 hits to beat Colorado. Williams, Rosenberg and both Homza boys [Willy and Jonny] all collected a pair of hits.

Eagle River’s RJ Derscherl picked up the win on the mound with an assist from his relievers Palmer’s Elias Stratton and Williams.

The Alaska Baseball Academy split a two-game series the day before, beating Baseball Northwest of Oregon 2-1 before losing a 5-4 decision to Team California in 10 innings.

The ABA team is made of some of the best high school baseball players in the 907.

The team won three of five games and posted a team ERA of 2.40. Here is a breakdown:

Tommy Koloski 5IP 5Ks 1ER South

Nolan Monaghan 5IP 3Ks 2ER Wasilla

Joe Fitka 5IP 4Ks 3ER Dimond

Nathan Klein 5IP 4Ks 2ER Juneau-Douglas

Elias Stratton 3IP 1K 1ER Palmer

Josh Fetko 2IP 1K 3ER Service

RJ Dirscherl 4IP 3Ks 2ER Eagle River

Julito Fazzini 2IP 2Ks 2 ER South

Logan Williams 2IP 4Ks 0R Bartlett

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

All-stars Bonck, Homza turning heads at Arizona Fall Classic

A smooth-hitting first baseman from Ketchikan and a slick-fielding shortstop from Anchorage are gaining the most attention among a group of Alaska Baseball Academy players participating in this week’s Arizona Fall Classic.

Ketchikan’s Nathan Bonck has hit and pitched well while Anchorage’s Willy Homza has fielded beautifully and held his own at the plate, each drawing interest from professional and college scouts.

Bonck shined against the Diamondbacks of British Columbia, pitching two innings of scoreless relief in last night’s 1-0 loss. 

“He wasn’t throwing super hard, mid-80s, but he’s a big 6-5 lefty up there throwing free and easy,” ABA director Tony Wylie told me.

Bonck has the same relaxed look at the plate. He crushed a triple to provide Alaska with its best scoring opportunity. 

“He’s got a really pretty left-handed swing with bat speed,” Wylie said.

Pro scouts are keen on Bonck while the college guys like Homza.

“He’s getting a lot of looks, especially from Ivy League schools,” Wylie said. “He’s a switch hitter, a smooth fielding shortstop.”

Homza and Eagle River’s Mike Rosenberg were selected to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall Classic Academic game, which is open only to players with a 3.5 GPA and SAT score of 1,700 or better.

“I gave the kids a speech about the importance of grades and how that helps create leverage because if schools are competing for you, it’s going to provide a better opportunity and there’s a higher probability of getting your college paid for,” Wylie said.

“We stress the importance of the classroom. That’s why we’re here, to help kids get into school. But they can help themselves. Our job is between the lines. Their job is in the classroom.”

Both Bonck and Homza banged out base hits in today’s 2-1 win in seven innings over Baseball Northwest of Oregon. South’s Jonny Homza, Juneau’s Nathan Klein and Wasilla’s Nolan Monaghan also collected hits for Alaska.

ABA manufactured runs after Bartlett’s Logan Williams was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and South’s Julito Frazzini plated the winning run thanks to an RBI groundout.

On the mound, South’s Tommy Koloski started and pitched five innings before giving way to relievers Josh Fetko of Service and Monaghan.

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

Frost pitches, misses cut at Women’s National Team Trials

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but the only jewelry Lauren Frost of Eagle River is interested is championship rings.

Frost is Alaska’s greatest women’s baseball player and among the best in the country.

The 17-year-old this week participated at the USA Baseball Women’s National Team Trials in Malibu, Calif., where she among the top 40 players to play in a three-game series that determined final roster spots.

Frost started Game 1 and pitched well, but unfortunately she didn’t make the final cut. That shouldn’t take the shine away from her accomplishment of being invited to the national team trials for the second straight year, though.

She is our Mo’ne Davis.

Frost, of Eagle River High fame, is an all-star infielder and No. 2 hitter who was voted to the all-state team during the American Legion season and was selected to the USA Today’s All-Alaska baseball team for the high school season.

The 5-foot-8 right-hander has a pony tail and can play both middle infield positions. She can bunt and is as fundamentally sound as most Alaska boys baseball players.

Frost has already committed to play NCAA D1 softball at powerhouse Stanford University in 2015. But until then, her focus is baseball.

At the National Team Trials, she played for the Blue team and started Game 1. She didn’t allow a run until the fourth inning and then wiggled out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam. Her team eventually won 2-1, but she earned a no decision.

Frost is entering her senior season of high school.

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

Baker becomes 8th Alaska pro pitcher to reach double digits

Juneau right-hander Dylan Baker has moved into elite company among Alaska’s best professional pitchers by picking his 10th career win.

It may not seem a lot but only eight Alaskans have reached double figures in minor league baseball. We’ve never had anybody win a game in the major leagues among the three pitchers that made it.

Baker improved to 3-2 on the season after the Carolina Mudcats beat Myrtle Beach 6-5 in Class A Advanced action. He didn’t have his best stuff but still got the win, scattering five hits and three walks across 5.1 innings.

Baker is now 10-9 with a 3.86 ERA in 42 career starts in the minors.

All-time wins by Alaska pitchers in minor pro leagues:

62 - Marshall Boze, Soldotna

30 - Chris Mabeus, Soldotna

30 - Matt Way, Sitka

27 - Ryan Shaver, Fairbanks

24 - Joey Newby, Soldotna

19 - Corey Madden, Anchorage

11 - Chad Bentz, Juneau

10 - Dylan Baker, Juneau

Pocatello caps amazing 57-1 season with NWCART title

The Cody Cubs never stood a chance. The Pocatello Razorbacks has had destiny riding shotgun all year long.

Pocatello capped an epic season with a runaway victory in the championship game of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament, winning 20-1 at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Idaho state champs went 5-0 in the NWCART and finished the season with an incredible 57-1 record. They played American Legion Baseball for three months and lost one game. That’s just awesome.

There was no beating Pocatello Tuesday night.

The Razorbacks banged out 19 hits and scored four runs in the first inning, three in the second, two in the fifth and 11 in the sixth. 

Cleanup hitter Kam Farnsworth earned player-of-the game honors after going 4-for-5 with three doubles and five RBIs. Spencer Bray and Trevor Bowers also had four hits. Kaden Sweat went 2-for-5 to bump his tournament average to .450.

Bowers also pitched, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The right-hander finished with a two-hitter across seven innings of work.

Bowers was named the tournament’s top pitcher after racking up a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings with 21 strikeouts.

The tournament MVP was Mason Foltz.

This guy did it all, a dual threat who beat you on the mound and in the box.

Foltz pitched 13 innings over three appearances, earning two wins and a save. He had a tidy 1.38 ERA with 12 strikeouts.

At the plate, Foltz hit .450 with nine hits in 20-bats. He drew five walks, scored eight runs and hit a double and a triple.

In five NWCART games, Pocatello outscored their opponents 50-11 and batted .324 as a team.

In other tournament awards, Cody Cubs right fielder Shad Moir won the Gold Glove award and the Big Stick award went to Whitefish Glacier Twins first baseman Vincent Smith. The Montana slugger led the tournament in batting average [.500], slugging percentage [.875] and extra-base hits [5].

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

Idaho, Wyoming win on Day 4, will square off for NWCART title

Runs were at a premium Monday at Mulcahy Stadium with championship game berths on the line.

The Pocatello Razorbacks of Idaho and Cody Cubs of Wyoming each picked up pivotal wins, moving into the title game of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament.

Tuesday’s championship game is at 2 p.m. There is an if-necessary game at 6 p.m. if Wyoming beats the undefeated Idaho in the first game.

Catch every pitch with live scoring:

Or watch the games:

Here is a breakdown of Day 4:

Game 13: Pocatello Razorbacks [ID] 4, Juneau Midnight Suns [AK] 2

Pocatello got a combined four-hitter from starting pitcher Breadeon Boyer [win] and reliever Mason Foltz [save]. Boyer went the first six, with Foltz coming in with three innings of one-hit relief. The Idaho state champs improved to 56-1 on the year. Kaden Sweat drove in two runs for the Razorbacks, with Ethan Hunt and CC Burrup each knocking in one. Kam Farnsworth and Foltz each had two hits. Juneau led 1-0 and got within 3-2. Matthew Cunningham and Nathan Klein drove in the runs and Tod Baseden scored both runs. It was the second time Idaho beat Juneau, including an epic 3-2 13-inning victory in the first game of the tournament. Juneau ended the season 21-13.

Game 12: Cody Cubs [WY] 3, Whitefish Glacier Twins [MT] 1

Cubs starter John Beaudrie and Glacier Twins starter AJ Wetsch each went the distance in this old-fashioned pitcher’s duel. Beaudrie picked up the win, scattering seven hits across nine innings. Wetsch took the hard-luck loss, allowing just four hits, one earned run and zero walks over eight innings. With the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth, the Wyoming state champions plated a pair of runs. Cameron Wright and Cap McClure each had RBIs, and Wright, Brock Goodwin and Kevin Page each scored runs. Vincent Smith went 2-for-4 with the team’s lone RBI. Whitefish finished the season 39-22.

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

Idaho still unbeaten, Utah withdraws on Day 3 of NWCART

The Idaho state champion Pocatello Razorbacks continued its winning ways Sunday, beating the Cody Cubs of Wyoming 8-2 in a winner’s bracket game at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Meanwhile, after recognizing that the Northern Utah Eagles had used ineligible players in both victories during the NWCART the Utah state director removed his team from the American Legion tournament.

Utah Legion Department Chair Jeff Nakaishi made the decision to withdraw the Eagles from competition in a move that was accepted by NWCART director Clayton Burtsfield.

Each state's American Legion Department Chair as the authority over all teams playing American Legion Baseball in their state. Nakaishi cited multiple violations on official documents.

Going into Monday’s action, only four states remain alive in the hunt for the title – Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. All four play Monday.

Monday’s NWCART schedule

2 PM Cody Cubs [WY] vs. Whitefish Glacier Twins [MT]

6 PM Juneau Midnight Suns [AK] vs. Pocatello Razorbacks [ID]

Catch every pitch with live scoring:

Or watch the games:

Here is a breakdown of Day3:

Game 9: Whitefish Glacier Twins 13, North Medford Mavericks 11

Up and then down, the Glacier Twins plated six unanswered runs in the seventh inning and ninth inning to survive this slugfest and avoid elimination in this loser bracket game. Colton Gove, Jayce Fagerland, Vincent Smith and Kyler Howke each had two RBIs for the Montana state champs [39-21]. Gove tripled twice. Colten Parker picked up the win with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. It was Parker’s RBI double in the top of the ninth inning that proved to score the game winner. The Mavericks trailed 7-5 before exploding for six runs in the sixth inning. Tate Cowden homered and scored three times. Kasey Buchanan and Greyson Wolff each had two RBIs for the Oregon state champions, which were knocked out to end the season 28-22.

Game 11: Pocatello Razorbacks 8, Cody Cubs 2

Kaden Sweat had three hits and two RBIs, and starting pitcher Saben Rodriguez scattered seven hits and four walks over a nine-inning, complete-game effort. Spencer Bray, Cory Meyer and Trevor Bowers each had two hits and an RBI. The Razorbacks outhit the Cubs 12-7. Nursing a 4-2 lead, they scored in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Pocatello is the only unbeaten team in the tournament, improving to 3-0. The Idaho State champs have won 56 of 57 games this season. Shade Noir and Walker Williams had two hits apiece for the Wyoming state champs. The Cubs bullpen did its job, allowing just one hit over the final four innings. 

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

Idaho, Utah stay undefeated after Day 2 of NWCART

The Pocatello Razorbacks of Idaho and the Northern Utah Eagles each won games Saturday to remain undefeated at Day 2 of the NWCART, setting up a Sunday showdown at Mulcahy Stadium.

Pocatello will face Northern Utah at 5:30 p.m. ADT, with the winner putting itself in prime position to win the five-day regional tournament.

Meanwhile, the Juneau Midnight Suns – the lone Alaska team still alive – and North Medford Mavericks each survived to play another day while the Whitefish Glacier Twins and Cody Cubs dropped into the loser’s bracket.

Sunday’s schedule features three games at Mulcahy Stadium, the premier field in Alaska. If it’s a big game, it’s played at Mulcahy.

Catch every pitch with live scoring:

Or watch the games:

Here is a breakdown of Day 2:

Game 5: Juneau Midnight Suns 14, Fairbanks Wild 0

Nathan Klein was nearly unhittable for seven innings, giving up just two base knocks and two walks while striking out nine. Klein and Augustus Swanton each finished with two RBIs as Juneau avoid elimination by winning the loser’s bracket game. Robert Markovich had two hits, including a double, as Juneau improved to 21-12 on the year. The game was shortened to seven innings because of the mercy rule. The Wild’s Benjamin Hall and Camron Walker had their team’s only hits. Fairbanks was an expansion team that won the Horizon Lines Invitational last month and finished the season 17-14.

Game 6: North Medford Mavericks 8, Dimond Lynx 5

The Mavericks erupted for four runs in the top of the ninth inning to win the loser's bracket game and stay alive in the double-elimination tournament. That rally made a winner out of starting pitcher Larsen Kindreich, who went all nine innings for North Medford [28-21]. Dimond's Mahlon Cleveland drove in two runs and pitched 8.2 innings. Kyle Henrickson, Payton Lauwers and Kyle Bremont all had RBIs for the Lynx. Only three of the seven runs surrendered by the Alaska team were earned. Dimon won the Midnight Sun Tournament champions in June and finished the season 21-14.

Game 7: Pocatello Razorbacks 15, Whitefish Glacier Twins 4

One day after playing 13 innings, the Razorbacks scored early and often to put this game out of reach. They scored once in the first inning, five in the second and four more in the third. Kam Farnsworth tripled and drove in five RBIs, and Trevor Bowers had three RBIs. Connor Lamont smacked a home run and Mason Foltz pitched another five innings. The Idaho state champs improved to 55-1 on the year, 2-0 in the tournament. Whitefish mounted a comeback and pulled within 10-4 after the sixth inning. Colton Gove went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Vincent Smith banged out two hits, including a double, and didn’t give up an earned run in 5.2 innings on the mound. The Montana state champs [38-21] are now in the loser’s bracket. 

Game 8: Northern Utah Eagles 5, Cody Cubs 0

Precise pitching and slugger Zach Hansen's bat powered Northern Utah once again, keeping the Eagles undefeated in Alaska, 17-5 on the season. Tonight’s pitching hero was Hunter Porritt, who threw a five-hitter with one walk and eight strikeouts across nine innings. Hansen rapped out two hits which brought home two runs; other RBIs were collected by Porritt and Hayden Smoot. The game featured just two walks between the two teams. Cameron Wright and Jordan Wasia pitched for the Wyoming state champs. Cody’s Cap McClure sure came to play, going 3-for-5 while the rest of his team managed only two hits. The Cubs don’t lose often, slipping to 45-15 on the season and falling into the loser’s bracket.

Sunday’s Schedule

11 AM North Medford Mavericks vs. Whitefish Glacier Twins

2 PM Juneau Midnight Suns vs. Cody Cubs  

5:30 PM Pocatello Razorbacks vs. Northern Utah Eagles

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

Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah win on Day 1 of NWCART

Pitching was the theme for the four winning teams Friday on the first day of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Pocatello Razorbacks of Idaho, the Cody Cubs of Wyoming, the Whitefish Glacier Twins of Montana and the Northern Utah Eagles all picked up victories to advance to the winner’s bracket final four.

Saturday's showdowns will see Idaho face Montana at 3:15 p.m. ADT and Wyoming play Utah at 6:30 p.m. ADT.

Here is a breakdown of Day 1:

Game 1: Pocatello Razorbacks 3, Juneau Midnight Suns 2, 13 innings

CC Burrup doubled home Mason Foltz with the winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning to provide a walkoff win. A batter earlier, Juneau right fielder Matthew Cunningham threw out the would-be winning run at the plate. Foltz scored the winning run and earned the win on the mound after pitching five innings of scoreless relief of starter Trevor Bowers [8 IP]. The game looked long [13 innings] but played fast [3 hours]. Burrup, Foltz, Connor LaMont and Kaden Sweat all had two hits for the Idaho state champions, which improved to 53-1 on the season. Grant Ainsworth had two hits for Juneau [20-12] and Nathan Klein and Jacob Thibodeau each had RBIs. Juneau starter Tanner Petrie pitched nine innings.

Game 2: Cody Cubs 12, North Medford Mavericks 1

Big game John Beaudrie came through again for the Cody Cubs, striking out 11 batters over eight innings, hitting a triple and driving in three runs. It was just another day at the office for the two-time Wyoming state tournament MVP. Cameron Wright went 3-for-4 with a double, two walks and three runs for the Cubs [45-14]. Brent Bray drove in two runs and was hit by pitch twice. Cody cemented the game with a seven-run ninth inning. North Medford’s Justin Geyer scored his team’s lone run in the second inning when he singled, stole second and later stole home. The Oregon state champions managed only three hits and fell to 27-21. Medford pitchers allowed just eight hits but were hurt by eight walks and five errors.

Game 3: Whitefish Glacier Twins 8, Fairbanks Wild 4

The Montana state champions scored four runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back, doubling up the expansion team from the Golden Heart City. Jesse Walburn had two hits and three RBIs, and Vincent Smith doubled, tripled and drove in two runs for the Glacier Twins [38-20]. Tristin Steinwand had two RBIs and two runs. Colton Gove was hit by pitch three times. Starter AJ Wetsch picked up the win with five innings and Jonny Sapa earned the save with four innings of shutout relief. Down 4-0 and 6-2, Fairbanks battled back to get within 6-4. Jose Sanchez rapped out three hits and an RBI. Terrell Ford and Carmon Teel each had two hits for the Wild [17-13].

Game 4: Northern Utah Eagles 9, Dimond Lynx 1

Zach Hansen twirled a thing of beauty, striking out 17 batters and allowing just three hits and one walk en route to a nine-inning complete-game effort. He allowed a run in the first and then it was nothing but goose eggs, retiring 17 straight Lynx from the second inning to the seventh inning. Oh yeah, and he drove in three runs with his bat. Hansen finished 2-for-5 at the plate. Spenser Triplett and Spencer Gleave had two hits for the Eagles [16-5]. The game started well for Dimond after Preston Micheletto led off with a single, took second on an error, moved to third on a sac bunt by Kyle Hendrickson and scored on a wild pitch. Micheletto [2-for-4] and Hendrickson [1-for-3] got the only hits off Hansen. The Lynx fell to 21-13.

Saturday’s Schedule

9 AM Juneau Midnight Suns vs. Fairbanks Wild

12 PM North Medford Mavericks vs. Dimond Lynx

3:15 PM Pocatello Razorbacks vs. Whitefish Glacier Twins

6:30 PM Cody Cubs vs. Northern Utah Eagles

Catch every pitch with live scoring:

Or watch the games:

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

South rallies late but can’t avoid elimination in Oregon regional

Just when the South Post 4 Wolverines got their footing on the diamond, their number was called and they were eliminated from the Northwest Regional in Eugene, Ore.

South fell 18-8 to the Boise Gems of Idaho in a Friday morning consolation game, ending the Alaska Legion state champion’s season at 19-14-1.

The Wolverines joined a long list of Alaska teams to go 0-2 at the regional, but they should hold their heads high in the way they finished strong.

South pitchers tossed a goose egg in the top of the seventh inning, ending a streak of 12 innings of giving up at least one run, and then the bats came alive with a five-run sixth inning and three-run seventh inning.

Losing is never easy, but manager Cliff Butcher’s boys battled all the way to the end.

State tournament MVP Alec Valdez went 2-for-3 and collected two RBIs and Parker Johnson and Tyler Kile each had two hits as well. Johnson scored twice and Kile had an RBI.

Valdez, Kile, Sage Dudick, Brendon Hayhurst were the only South players to get hits in both games. Bryce Schwartz and Valdez were the only ones to score in both games. Kile was the only Wolverine to have an RBI in each game.

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

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