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Castroville [TX] tops Valley in extra innings to win Todd Ryan

Even though he lives in Texas, Castroville Post 460 Legion team manager Jerome Iltis owns property in the Mat-Su Valley.

It’s fitting because his baseball players treat McManus Field in Wasilla like their backyard.

Castroville has never lost in the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament after beating Valley Post 35/15 by a 3-2 score in extra innings tonight. The Texas team is now 8-0 all-time and has another title to go with its 2012 championship.

The Alaskans had more base hits and got a complete-game gem from starter Sam Loyer but let the game slip away in the top of the eighth inning after Wesley Moss scored the winning run from second base after the Valley failed to turn an inning-ending double play.

“The runner was stealing and never broke stride,” Valley coach Gary Skan told me.

The game was back and forth the whole way. Logan Sanders gave the Valley a 2-0 lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the second inning. Ethan Valdez drove in two to tie it in the top of the fourth inning.

“Today’s game is the best game I've been a part of in years,” Skan said. “Both teams had chances; both teams left the based loaded in back-to-back innings. Defense and pitching won the game for Texas.” 

Isaac Lugo pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win for Castroville.

The Napoleon Post 300 River Bandits of Ohio went 3-1 and finished second in the tournament. They lost 10-5 on Day 3.

Napoleon and manager Randy Bachman were seeking the team’s third Todd Ryan Tournament title since 2011.

The third Outside team up here for the 2015 Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour is Team Avenue Academy of California. 

The Valley team went 2-2 over the holiday weekend, beating Team Avenue and Bartlett Post 29 while losing 7-4 to Ohio.

Overall, the Valley team played strong and represented Alaska well.

“This was a very fun tournament to be part off,” Skan said. “I think our team has definitely earned the respect of all three out of state teams. I can't say enough about all the fans that came out and supported us. What a game; wow, is all I can say and very proud of this team for battling every pitch.”

The third leg of the Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour begins Tuesday with the Bill Miller Big Fish Wood Bat Tournament in Kenai. After that the tournament series wraps up with the granddaddy of them all, the 21st annual BP Invitational this weekend at Mulcahy Stadium.

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

Henie, Bonck headline USA Today All-Alaska Team

USA Today and American Family Insurance teamed up to come up with all-state high school baseball teams for all 50 states.

In Alaska, Doug Henie of the Chugiak Mustangs won Coach of the Year honors and Player of the Year honors went to Nathan Bonck of the Ketchikan Kings.

Henie led Chugiak to its first high school baseball state championship and a 15-4 record while Bonck led the state with 7 home runs and 39 RBIs in 24 games while going 5-0 with a 1.72 as a pitcher.

For the complete list of all-state teams, go to: http://usatodayhss.com/2015/2014-15-american-family-insurance-all-usa-state-baseball-teams

USA Today/American Family Insurance

All-USA Alaska Baseball Team

COACH OF THE YEAR

Doug Henie, Chugiak

Henie guided Chugiak to a 15-4 record and the school’s first state championship. The Mustangs shut out two of their three opponents in the state tournament, including a 5-0 victory against South Anchorage for the title. Henie has been with the team since 2004.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Nathan Bonck, INF/P, Ketchikan, 6-5/195, Jr.

The slugging first baseman hit .507 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 24 games for the Southeast Conference champions. On the mound, the hard-throwing lefty had a 5-0 record, a 1.72 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. He was also named the Gatorade state player of the year. He has committed to Seattle University.

FIRST TEAM

Nathan Bonck, INF/P, Ketchikan 6-5/195, Jr.

Sam Hanson, P, Chugiak, 6-1/195, Sr.

Nathan Klein, P, Juneau-Douglas, 6-2/190, Sr.

Nolan Monaghan, P, Wasilla, 6-0/160, Jr.

Julito Fazzini, C, South Anchorage, 5-10/205, Jr.

Lucas Thorp, INF, Dimond (Anchorage), 5-11/180, Sr.

Jonny Homza, INF, South Anchorage, 5-11/160, So.

Willy Homza, INF, South Anchorage, 6-0/185, Sr.

Zach Brueggemann, OF, Chugiak, 5-8/165, Sr.

Sam Loyer, OF, Wasilla, 5-9/120, Sr.

Logan Sanders, OF, Colony (Palmer), 5-9/155, Sr.

SECOND TEAM

Jakob Arnold, P, Kodiak, 6-2/180, Sr.

Tyler Christmann, P, West Valley (Fairbanks), 6-0/175, Sr.

Casey Hendricks, P, Ketchikan, 5-11/160, Sr.

Logan Williams, C, Bartlett (Anchorage), 5-9/220, Sr.

Matt Palmer, INF, Colony (Palmer), 6-0/185, Sr.

Raleigh Pigg, INF, Service (Anchorage), 6-2/170, So.

Buddy Dale, INF, Wasilla, 5-9, 180, Sr.

Ben Hall, INF, Lathrop (Fairbanks), 5-7/150, Sr.

Frank Carlson, OF, Kodiak, 6-2/170, Sr.

Chris Carter, OF, Lathrop (Fairbanks), 5-8/200, Sr.

Parker Johnson, OF, South (Anchorage), 6-0/165, So.

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

Spink surpasses 100 career games, wins twice in 10 days

Life is pretty unpredictable as a relief pitcher in baseball.

Take Eagle River’s Conor Spink for example.

The left hander earned six winning decisions in 105 previous professional games stretching four years with the Lincoln Saltdogs.

Then he won two games in 10 days.

The 27-year-old has appeared in 15 games this season and has a 2-3 record and 4.80 ERA.

He has pitched a clean sheet nine times.

Spink, of Eagle River fame, has struck out 107 career batters in the American Association independent league.

He is one of only 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.

Way continues to close the door for Bellingham Bells

They say getting the final out is the hardest, but Brian Way of Sitka is making it look easy.

The 19-year-old is 3-for-3 in save situations for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League.

The 6-foot-7 right hander hasn’t allowed an earned run in 5 innings and the Bells are 4-0 on days he pitches.

Including his freshman season at Edmonds CC, Way’s team is 17-2 when he pitches.

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

Arnold to pitch for NCAA D2 Flagler College in Florida

Kodiak baseball player Jakob Arnold had a checklist when it came to finding the perfect college.

He wanted to be near family, but get out of Alaska.

He wanted to play for a competitive program.

And he wanted to pitch in warm weather.

Arnold, 18, got all three wishes at Flagler College, an NCAA D2 school in St. Augustine, Florida.

“It seemed like the perfect fit,” he told me.

The Kodiak pitching ace was one of the top arms in Alaska high school baseball this season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right hander threw a no-hitter against Houston and went all 7 innings in four of six starts.

His only loss of the season came at the state tournament against eventual champion Chugiak.

Arnold, of Kodiak High fame, carved up batters with a 0.92 ERA in 30.2 innings. His 41-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio is lights out.

He was named first team all-conference and second team all-state this year as a senior.

“It’ll be awesome to face some really good hitters at a higher level,” Arnold said. “I think the competition will make me a lot better.”

Arnold found out about Flagler through his older brother and he sent the coach a video with some of his highlights. He sent out probably 15 to 20 videos, he said, and received interest from a handful of schools. A couple even offered him a spot.

“Being in Kodiak, it’s really hard to get out and show people so it’s all do-it-yourself basically,” he said. “If you want play it’s on you to do all the work.”

Flagler invited him to an open tryout, where Arnold did enough to earn a roster spot and partial scholarship.

“I had a ton of adrenaline and it made me throw harder than I’ve ever thrown,” he said. “Being nervous honestly helped a lot.”

He normally throws his fastball in the 83 mph range. In Florida he hit 87 on the radar gun a couple times.

“They liked my size and velocity but said I need to work on secondary pitches,” Arnold said. “As I get there they are going to see if I am ready as a freshman or if I need to redshirt my first year.” 

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

Chugiak baseball bookends state tourney with shutouts, wins title

Using the oldest recipe in baseball, the Chugiak Mustangs mixed brilliant pitching and perfect defense to create a masterpiece that allowed them to eat up the competition.

Jimmy Lanier pitched his team’s second shutout in three days with a 3-hitter in Saturday’s championship game to highlight a 5-0 victory over South Anchorage in the ASAA state baseball tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Chugiak outscored opponents 26-5 in the tournament and in the title game dominated a South squad that has built a reputation as a perennial powerhouse with three straight appearances in the state championship game. 

“It was our year,” Zach Brueggemann told me. “This is a team of destiny. We’re the hardest-working team out there. It’s so nice to have it pay off in the end.”

Lanier carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before South leadoff hitter Lian Lincoln broke it up with a single. The senior pitcher struck out two and walked three, including the first two batters of the game.

Lanier is a notoriously slow starter and he found immediate trouble in the first inning after issuing base on balls to Lincoln and Jonny Homza. That brought up CIC Co-MVP Willy Homza, who ripped the ball to right field. The laser liner initially gave Brueggemann trouble before he made a diving catch.

“I was just so happy I caught the ball because it was a shot off the bat,” Brueggemann said. “I didn’t want to get burned so I was kind of hesitant and I made that catch look a lot harder than it was.”

Lanier was lights out the rest of the way.

“You gotta let him settle in,” Chugiak head coach Doug Henie told me. “Once he gets through that first inning he goes after people.”

Chugiak [15-4] scored four runs in the third inning with multiple players doing their job, whether it was a base hit, a sacrifice bunt or stolen base.

Charlie Bucolo’s RBI single scored Jake Kindred for the first run. Then Sam Hanson singled and Brueggemann walked to load the bases. A wild pitch scored one run and an overthrow to third base by pitcher Parker Johnson allowed another run to score. A run-scoring double by Matthew Hess made it 4-0.

Two innings later, Zach Bohrer lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Bucolo and make it 5-0. 

Chugiak won all three games against South this year. 

The third victory was the most important, giving the Mustangs their first state championship in high school baseball. They made the finals in 2004 and 2009 – and the Chugiak Post 33 team has won 7 American Legion state titles – but this was the first title for a proud program steeped in tradition.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Henie, who has been on the Chugiak coaching staff since 2004 and was part of the team’s 2008 and 2011 Legion titles. “I don’t know if it’s set in yet.”

Chugiak all week made it clear it was the most complete team. 

The Mustangs pitched two shutouts [Lanier, Hanson], compiled a tournament-high 19 stolen bases, batted .284 as a team and did not commit an error in 21 innings.

“We’re always talking about playing clean baseball, doing what you can do, don’t try to do too much, and we got decent speed throughout the lineup,” Henie said. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year.”

TOURNAMENT NOTES

^ South is now 12-3 in the state tournament since 2011.

^ The Cook Inlet Conference and Southeast Conference have won every state title since 2007, alternating from year to year with the CIC winning in old years and Southeast in even years.

^ Juneau-Douglas assistant coach Chad Bentz is one of only three Alaskans to play Major League Baseball. The left-handed pitcher played for the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins. He played in 40 MLB games, the most by an Alaskan, and has our state’s only base hit.

^ All-tournament team: Nolan Monaghan, Wasilla; Sam Hanson, Chugiak; Grant Ainsworth, Juneau-Douglas; Willy Homza, South; Charlie Bucolo, Chugiak; Zach Brueggemann, Chugiak; Nathan Klein, Juneau Douglas; Sam Loyer, Wasilla; Nathan Bonck, Ketchikan; Frank Carlson, Kodiak; Jonny Homza, South Anchorage; Tyler Christmann, West Valley.

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

Chugiak, South cruise to semifinal wins on Day 2 of state

The hitting bug remained highly contagious for the Chugiak Mustangs on Friday night. 

The Cook Inlet Conference champions banged out 11 hits and scored runs in six of seven innings in a 14-5 victory over West Valley in the semifinals of the ASAA state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Mustangs have produced 21 runs, 17 stolen bases and 19 hits in the last two days. 

“Our bats are coming through and it’s been nice,” Chugiak senior Zach Brueggemann told me.

The all-conference outfielder went 4-for-4 and tripled for his second extra-base hit in two games. Sam Hanson got two hits for the second consecutive night. Five others got one hit.

“Every guy on this team can hit,” Zach Bohrer told me. “It’s nice when everyone has their bats going like we did today.”

Chugiak [14-4] advanced to Saturday afternoon’s state title game against 2013 state champion South Anchorage, an 8-3 winner over Juneau-Douglas in Friday’s early semifinal.

South moved into the state championship game for the third straight year. Chugiak hasn’t been this far since 2009.

The Mustangs ran wild on the base paths against West Valley, stealing 11 bags. Vander Lekites [4] and Brueggemann [3] combined for more than half.

“We have a very fast team, so it makes it a lot easier and it puts pressure on the other team’s defense,” Brueggemann said. “We’re definitely stealing more bases than we have all season.”

Brueggemann was a terror all night – 4 hits, 3 stolen bases, 3 RBIs and 3 runs.

“I was just seeing it really well. It was nice,” he said with a laugh. “No extra motivation, we took it like a regular game.”

Chugiak led 3-2 before tacking on runs in five straight innings to bury the shorthanded Wolfpack, which upset Ketchikan on Day 1 and brought only 10 players from Fairbanks.

“We have a lot of depth on our team,” Bohrer said. “A lot of guys are on right now and it’s really nice. I haven’t been hitting the ball well recently but pretty much the whole team has been hitting at state and understanding how big these games are.”

SOUTH 8, JUNEAU 3

The Homza brothers make up the best middle infield in the state. Shortstop Willy and second baseman Jonny are quick on their feet and get rid of the ball quickly.

They also have quick bats.

Jonny and Willy drilled back-to-back triples in the first inning to ignite a quick start that carried the Wolverines.

“We always try to get back-to-back hits,” Willy told me. “Mine was more opposite field, I think; I wasn’t watching. I just was hoping it would drop. I thought the center fielder had a beat on both of them, but luckily they dropped in.”

The Homza Bros. combined to go 5-for-7 with 3 RBIs and 5 runs.

South [15-3] scored three runs in the first, two in the third, two more in the fifth and another in the sixth.

“That early start, that was huge,” Willy said. “We’ve had trouble getting going in the first few innings, but today we got it going right away. That was helpful.”

Starter Alex Schlegel scattered seven hits and three walks over six innings to collect to 2-0 on the season. He carried a shutout into the sixth inning.

South started the state tournament without giving up a run for 12 consecutive innings – seven by Tommy Koloski and five by Schlegel.

“Tommy threw a good game yesterday and Schle just kept it going,” Willy said. “Schle pitches to contact a little more and that was nice getting a lot of good plays in the field, lots of grounders.”

South is solid around the horn, but especially up the middle.

“Anytime there’s a ground ball up the middle, it’s a good thing for us; you have to hit it pretty good to get it by them. They are really quick laterally,” South head coach Taylor Nerland told me. 

They have an unspoken language on the field like they’ve played together their whole loves. Oh yeah, they have.

“This is my last year with him I like being in there,” Willy said. “I always know where he’s going to be and he knows where I’m going to be. It’s pretty sweet.”

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

West Valley stuns Southeast champ on Day 1 of state tourney

Mark Wade has never been so happy to lose a bet.

The West Valley baseball coach from Fairbanks challenged his players before Thursday’s opening round of the ASAA state tournament against Southeast Conference champion Ketchikan.

He bet them they couldn’t win to spark their competitive spirit. Call him crazy, but it worked.

West Valley won 4-0 at Mulcahy Stadium to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2011.

“I kept asking them after every half inning, ‘Can you play with these guys?’” Wade told me. “And their answer was, ‘We can beat them.’”

Tyler Christmann pitched a 7-hit shutout and Connor Soden, Trenton Woods and Blake Swarthout each had RBIs to make sure the Wolfpack dined out on the town Thursday night.

“I promised the kids,” Wade said. “I don’t have to pay up very often, but I’m taking them to the steakhouse tonight.”

Christmann deserved filet mignon.

“A whole cow,” cracked Wade.

The senior pitcher was sensational, striking out six batters and shutting down a Ketchikan team that came into state with a tournament-high 18 victories and Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Nathan Bonck [1-for-3, double].

“When he’s on the mound my team takes on a different persona,” Wade said. “Those kids get out there and believe they can beat anybody.”

SOUTH 1, WASILLA 0

Tommy Koloski fired a 3-hit shutout, Lian Lincoln drove in the game’s only run and the Wolverines marched into the final four for the third consecutive year.

But, really, this game came down to one play.

Nolan Monaghan was thrown out at home after a broken squeeze play in the bottom of the seventh inning. Monaghan had a terrific game, pitching a 5-hitter and leading off the seventh with a double; it was the game’s only extra-base hit.

He was sacrificed to third base after a bunt and then was tagged out at the plate by catcher Julito Fazzini after Koloski threw a high fastball.

“I saw him running, but I had already started my wind up and so I just rushed my second half to just get it down and over the plate,” Koloski told me. “I was just focused on getting it to where the hitter couldn’t touch it, so I just threw it high and it worked out for us.”

Koloski struck out seven and walked none. He threw only fastballs and sliders, he said. His command was spot on.

“I missed a few spots here and there, but mostly I was on point,” he said. “That’s the one thing I’ve been working on with pitching, getting on my target.”

Lincoln’s single in the fifth inning scored Matt Kley from second base.

JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 15, LATHROP 0

Freshman Michael Cesar continued to be big bat for the Crimson Bears, walking twice and driving in three runs, as they cruised past the Mid Alaska champions in the morning game.

Bryce Swofford had a nice day, going 2-for-3 with three runs and a pair of RBIs.

Juneau pitcher Nathan Klein allowed only three base runners over four innings of work. Reliever Jacob Thibodeau cleaned up the fifth and final inning.

The Crimson Bears broke the game open with a 7-run third inning.

For the game they managed 15 runs on five hits and 13 walks.

Lathrop’s James Kardash managed two of his team’s three hits.

CHUGIAK 7, KODIAK 0

After the first three games of the day ended with shutouts, the Cook Inlet Conference champions joined the party too.

Senior Sam Hanson remained undefeated on the season as he tossed a 2-hitter with four walks and four strikeouts in the nightcap. He is now 3-0.

Vander Lekites, Charlie Bucolo and Jake Kindred were the only players to each have at least one hit, one run and one RBI. 

Hanson also swung the ball well, going 2-for-4 with a double.

The Mustangs enjoyed a 4-0 edge in doubles and a 6-2 advantage in stolen bases. They also played error-free baseball.

Kodiak starter Jakob Arnold carried a shutout into the fifth inning.

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

Follow every pitch of the state tournament from wherever

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For live scoring go to: http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

ASAA releases opening round games of state tournament

Here are opening round games for the 2015 ASAA State Baseball Tournament, which begins Thursday at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

10 AM MAC #1 Lathrop vs. SEC #2 Juneau-Douglas

1 PM SEC #1 Ketchikan vs. MAC #2 West Valley

4 PM SC #1 Wasilla vs. CIC #2 South Anchorage

7 PM CIC #1 Chugiak vs. SC #2 Kodiak

Looking back to 2014

Last year, Sitka held off South 11-10 in a three-hour slugfest at Moller Park in rainy Sitka in a state championship game that featured 18 hits, a grand slam and five lead changes. There was drama until the last pitch. Sitka reliever Erickson Fish struck out South’s Willy Homza and Spencer Floyd with the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh inning to seal the deal. It was the fourth state title for longtime Sitka coach Ed Conway, who retired after the game.

Past State Champions

2014 Sitka

2013 South Anchorage

2012 Juneau-Douglas

2011 South Anchorage

2010 Juneau-Douglas

2009 Dimond

2008 Juneau-Douglas

2007 Sitka

2006 Sitka

2005 Sitka

2004 Kodiak

2003 Juneau-Douglas

2002 Juneau-Douglas

2001 Service

2000 East Anchorage

Thorp, Homza share Don Rabung CIC MVP Award honors

Dimond’s Lucas Thorp and South’s Willy Homza were two-way terrors on the baseball field in the Cook Inlet Conference this season, so it made sense the league’s player-of-the-year award would be split two ways.

Thorp, a power-hitting third baseman and lights-out relief pitcher, and Homza, a clutch-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop, were both selected the 2015 Don Rabung CIC MVP Award in a vote by league coaches.

Thorp was Dimond’s closer and saw action in seven of the team’s 10 games, earning a 1-1 record, two saves and a 2.69 ERA in 13 innings.

He batted .414 with two home runs and nine RBIs. Both of his home runs were game winners, including a two-run shot in the 10th inning in a conference playoff pool game to beat conference champion Chugiak 5-3.

Homza was the best player for a South team going back to the state tournament. The Ivy League-bound infielder hit .518 in 10 games and flashed a .938 fielding percentage.

Half of his 14 hits went for extra bases. He also drove in 10 runs, stole 10 bags and scored 11 times.

Homza is headed to Brown University this fall.

Bartlett’s Logan Williams won the league’s Big Stick award. The senior slugger hit .500 with 12 RBIs and seven extra-base hits in nine games.

The league’s Gold Glove award was given to South catcher Julito Fazzini, who did not commit an error and threw out nine base runners and picked off four more.

Coaches could not vote for their own players and the number of team nominations was based on league wins during the 10-game regular season. All stats were provided by teams.

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

Cook Inlet Conference

All-League Baseball Team

Don Rabung MVP Award

Co-winners

Lucas Thorp, Dimond, Sr., 1B/RP, .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG, 1-1, 2 saves, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP

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

Big Stick

Logan Williams, Bartlett, Sr., C, .500 BA, 12 RBI, 7 XBH, .765 SLG

Gold Glove

Julito Fazzini, South, Jr., C, 1.000 FLD, 9 CS, 4 PO

FIRST TEAM

Starting Pitcher

Zach Brueggemann, Chugiak, 2-0, 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 19 K

Joe Fitka, Dimond, 2-1, 2.25 ERA, 13.2 IP, 16 K

Sam Hanson, Chugiak, 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 15 IP 

Jonny Homza, South, 2-1, 1.88 ERA, 13 IP, 14 K

Relief Pitcher 

Alex Schlegel, South, 1-0, 5 GM, 12 IP, 16 K

Lucas Thorp, Dimond, 1-1, 2 saves, 2.69 ERA, 13 IP

Catcher

Julito Fazzini, South, .360 BA, 7 RBI, 1.000 FLD

First Baseman

Joe Fitka, Dimond, .310 BA, 2 HR, 4 RBI, .552 SLG

Second Baseman

Jonny Homza, South, .419 BA, 5 XBH, 8 RBI, 9 SB

Shortstop

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

Third Baseman

Lucas Thorp, Dimond, , .414 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .759 SLG

Outfielder

Zach Brueggemann, Chugiak, .320 BA, 6 R, 4 RBI, .379 OBP

Lian Lincoln, South, .413 BA, 9 RBI, 10 SB, 0 K in 37 PA

Parker Johnson, South, .300, 7 RBI, 8 R

Designated Hitter

Matt Kley, South, .368 BA, 9 R, 6 RBI, .520 OBP

Tristen Woods, Service, .346 BA, 8 RBI, .500 OBP

Utility

Brendon Hayhurst, South, .400 BA, 6 RBI, 6 R, 4 SB

Kyle Henrickson, Dimond, .269, 1 3B, 5 RBI, .713 OPS

SECOND TEAM

Starting Pitcher

James Lanier, Chugiak

Josh Fetko, Service

Cody Curfman, Chugiak

Tommy Koloski, South

Jake Andresen, Dimond

Relief Pitcher

Billy Orth, Dimond

Matt Hess, Chugiak

Catcher

Logan Williams, Bartlett

First Baseman

Sam Hanson, Chugiak

Derek Scoggins, Service

Second Baseman

Charlie Bucolo, Chugiak

Shortstop

Raleigh Pigg, Service

Preston Micheletto, Dimond

Third Baseman

Zach Bohrer, Chugiak

Outfielder

Carl Gatter, East

Vander Lekites, Chugiak

Stephen Jacobs, Dimond

Utility

Jake Kindred, Chugiak

HONORABLE MENTION

Catcher

Josh Linn, Eagle River

Kyle Bremont, Dimond

Dyson Dammeyer, West

Jack Straub, Chugiak

First Baseman

Ryan Solberg, East

Ryan Dudley, Bartlett

Sean Duffy, West

Second Baseman

Cobey Cupp, Service

Shortstop

Alex Franklin, Bartlett

Third Baseman

Bryce Schwarz, South

Outfield

Quincy Cooper, Bartlett

Tony Hillman, Dimond

Utility

Matt Jarvis, East

Kody Keith, Eagle River

South-Gold secures No. 1 seed for CIC JV Invitational

The South-Gold junior varsity scored a perfect 10-0 record in the regular season to secure the No. 1 seed for the Cook Inlet Conference JV Invitational, which runs Wednesday through Saturday.

Dimond is the No. 2 seed at 9-1.

Chugiak and South-Black round out the top four, which all earned the right to be home team for Thursday's games.

The tournament will conclude Saturday at noon at Taylar Young Memorial Field.

JV Invitational Schedule

[Better seed is HOME TEAM]

GAME#    Field    Time     Teams

WEDNESDAY, MAY 27

GM1      BA       6:30 PM  [9] Bartlett vs. [8] East

THURSDAY, MAY 28

GM2      MS       6:30 PM  WG1 vs. [1] South-Gold

GM3      BA       6:30 PM  [7] West vs. [2] Dimond

GM4      OB       6:30 PM  [6] Eagle River vs. [3] Chugiak

GM5     TY        6:30 PM  [5] Service vs. [4] South-Black

FRIDAY, MAY 29

GM6      MS       6:30 PM  WG5 vs. WG2

GM7      K4       6:30 PM  WG4 vs. WG3

GM8      K3       6:30 PM  LG5 vs. LG2

GM9      K1       6:30 PM  LG4 vs. LG3

SATURDAY, MAY 30

TITLE    TY       12 PM    WG6 vs. WG7

BA [Bartlett High School] MS [Mulcahy Stadium] OB [Oberg Field] TY [Taylar Young] K [Kosinski Fields]

Thompson drives in 4 as Pacific Lutheran moves to 2-0 in NCAAs

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson stayed hot in the NCAA playoffs today as he banged out a double and 4 RBIs to lead Pacific Lutheran University to a 7-2 victory over Birmingham Southern on Day 2 of the NCAA D3 Tournament’s South Regional in Georgia.

One day after clubbing a solo home run, the former Dimond High star delivered a three-run double in the fifth inning to make it 6-0 and basically cement the team’s second postseason win in two days.

This one came over a 35-win Birmingham Southern team and kept the second-seeded Lutes undefeated in the double-elimination regional.

Thompson now has 39 RBIs in 41 games this season.

The all-league third baseman drove in his first run in the third inning on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-0 PLU. Then in the fifth he cleared the bases with a double.

PLU [32-12] will play again Friday at 3 p.m. ADT.

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

Brown, Thompson spark PLU to dramatic NCAA playoff win

The Pacific Lutheran University baseball team out of Washington won a huge playoff game today and Alaska’s fingerprints were all over it.

Anchorage’s Garrett Brown earned the win and Tyler Thompson hit a home run in a 9-6 win over Emory on opening day of the NCAA D3 Tournament South Regional in Georgia.

Brown, of Service High fame, threw 5.1 innings of one-run relief to keep his team in the game after the Lutes fell behind 5-3 in the third inning. He allowed just four hits and two walks. He struck out five and the run he allowed wasn’t even earned.

“He gave us a chance to win,” Thompson told me.

After Brown got the final out in the top of the third inning, Thompson came up in the bottom half and hit a home run that pulled PLU within 5-4.

“When Tyler hit his home run it pumped me up especially since I was pitching at the time,” Brown told me. “He’s been clutch all year.”

It was Thompson’s fifth homer of the season, which is the most among college players from Alaska this season.

But Brown was the story here.

The junior right-hander was a starter much of the season before getting moved to the bullpen for the NCAA playoffs. Rather than pout, he pounced on his opportunity, and shined bright when his team needed him most.

He pitched 5 scoreless innings before Emory – last year’s NCAA D3 runnerup –plated an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning.

“I just threw strikes and worked the ball to the outside of the plate. I threw majority all fastballs and was commanding both sides of the plate,” said Brown, who improved to 5-1 and lowered his ERA to 3.72 in 14 games.

“It felt amazing. I knew if I kept us close then we were gonna get some runs because we always come through late in games.”

And that’s exactly what happened. PLU rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eight to pull away, improving to 31-12 on the season and remain undefeated in the double-elimination tournament.

PLU plays again Thursday. First pitch is 3 p.m. ADT.

“We need to take care of business tomorrow then we will be sitting in great position into the weekend,” Brown said.

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

Thompson, Brown, Miller to participate at Nationals

This week is the start of the college baseball playoffs and we have three Alaskans taking part in national tournaments at NCAA D3 and NAIA.

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson and Garrett Brown helped Pacific Lutheran University of Washington earn its first postseason berth since 2007.

Meanwhile, Aaron Miller of Anchorage has Mayville State University of North Dakota back in the playoffs.

PLU earned the No. 2 seed in the South Region of the NCAA tournament and will travel to Georgia to begin play Wednesday in the six-team double-elimination tournament.

“This is huge for our program,” Thompson told me. “There’s been years in the past before I was here where the team thought they did enough to get in and didn’t, so it feels really good to finally get a shot at a regional tournament.”

There was no denying the Lutes, who have posted a 30-12 record and won the Northwest Conference regular-season championship.

But they had to wait for the NCAA to make the official announcement late Sunday night.

That’s not the case with Mayville State, which has known for a week it was bound for the NAIA tournament after winning the North Star Athletic Association tournament title. 

The Comets [39-20] are the No. 5 seed in the Bellevue bracket in Nebraska and will face Madonna University on Tuesday in the opening round.

“My first two years we made nationals by an at-large bid from rankings, but this year we made it by winning our conference and it is a sweeter feeling getting in by winning the conference tourney,” Miller told me.

Miller, of Service High fame, is batting .341 in 53 games this season. He leads Mayville State with 50 RBIs to go with 4 home runs, 13 doubles and 15 stolen bases.

“It feels great being a contributing part of this team’s success,” he said.

The junior outfielder is a major cog in an offensive hitting .319 as a team.

“I like our chances this year,” Miller said. “We have a senior-dominated team and a close group of guys that all believe we are going win this and make it to the World Series in Lewiston.”

At PLU, Thompson and Brown have also played a key role in helping the Lutes get back to the national stage.

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, is batting .305 in 39 games and ranks second on the team with 4 home runs, 34 RBIs and 29 runs.

“My mindset will be the same it’s been all year,” the junior third baseman said. “Don’t add any pressure. Just be myself and play my game.

“To me, I try to not make it any different than the regular season, but I know it won’t always be that way.”

Brown, of Service High fame, has started 8 of 13 games and is 4-1 with a 4.10 ERA. The junior right-hander has 56 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.

Look for all three Alaskans to continue playing well, even though the circumstances are much different. Now every play, every pitch and every at-bat matter more than ever.

“It’s do–or-die baseball,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be really fun to get out there and compete with my teammates.”

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

Chapman earns first college win as Alaskans duel in NWAC

Anchorage’s Dalton Chapman earned his first college at the expense of another Alaskan.

The freshman righty pitched two scoreless innings of relief as Everett Community College won 7-2 over first-place Edmonds Community College and previously unbeaten starter Brian Way of Sitka.

Chapman [1-2] lowered his ERA to 4.09 in 11 games, although he has pitched better than his numbers suggest.

The 6-foot-5 pitcher has a 2.45 ERA in the nine games he didn’t suffer a losing decision. He also has 22 strikeouts in 22 innings on the year.

Way has been sensational this year and Edmonds had been unbeatable in the 12 previous days he pitched before today.

The 6-foot-7 righty didn’t pitch poorly but suffered his first college loss after allowing 4 runs [two earned] over 5 innings.

Way is now 6-1 with a 1.43 ERA in 13 games. He’s only issued seven walks in 37.2 innings.

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

Rosenberg to play baseball, serve at Coast Guard Academy

Just because his father was a Marine and his sisters are active duty Air Force didn’t mean Michael Rosenberg of Eagle River was destined for a military life.

Then again, that’s exactly what it means.

Rosenberg continued a family tradition after the 18-year-old signed his letter of acceptance of appointment and commitment to play baseball for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.

“I never felt any pressure as far as them wanting me to join. It’s just the way I was raised,” Rosenberg told me. “The honor of serving in the military, that’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.”

The senior all-star first baseman for the Eagle River Wolves won the Gold Glove defensive award in the Cook Inlet Conference last year when he led Eagle River to the ASAA state tournament for the first time in school history.

During the Legion season he was selected to the All-State Team of Excellence for the second straight year. Then he participated with the Alaska Baseball Academy in the Arizona Fall Classic, where he turned heads and held his own to validate his desire to play at the next level.

“It’s a dream come true to serve in military and get to play baseball,” he said. “I’ve been in contact with the baseball coach. Guys from all over the country are coming to this academy and it’s going to be tough because we have to go through Coast Guard basic training. We’re going to build that brotherhood I hear a lot of people talk about.”

Rosenberg is also a star in the classroom, where he carries a 4.12 GPA.

“My dad always told me to give 100 percent,” he said “Not only do I take that advice to school but I take it to the baseball field too. If I’m diving for a ball, if I give it 100 percent, I’m happy with myself. In terms of grades, coaches want players that are going to be responsible to be able keep playing. It shows responsibility."

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

South-Gold takes early lead in Cook Inlet Conference JV

Cook Inlet Conference

JV Standings [through May 4]

Points  Team  Record

16 - South-Gold [4-0]

13 - Dimond [3-1]

11 - Service [2-1-1]

10 - Chugiak [2-2]

10 - Eagle River [2-2]

10 - East [2-2]

10 - South-Black [2-2]

05 - West [0-3-1]

04 - Bartlett [0-4]

Points - 4 Win, 2 Tie, 1 Loss, 0 Forfeit

Undefeated Way continues to be lucky charm for Edmonds

Sitka’s Brian Way was 4-0 as a reliever and now he’s undefeated after two starts.

And Edmonds Community College is 12-0 when he pitches.

There’s no doubt the 6-foot-7, 270-pound freshman has been a lucky charm, but there’s nothing lucky about what he’s done on the mound.

The right hander is 6-0 with a pair of saves and a 1.10 ERA in 12 games.

His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 23-6 in 32.2 innings.

“I just go out there and try to best the guy at the plate by any means, whether that’s coming out of the pen or starting,” Way told me. “I just do all I can to win us games.”

From the start, he showed no fear. He recorded a save in his second college appearance.

“Being raised playing Juneau and Ketchikan in very intense games since I was 11, I think it made me be able to handle the pressure that college baseball has brought to the game,” Way said. 

Edmonds has won 31 of 38 games in the NWAC and have captured the North Region pennant and secured a playoff berth.

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

Anderson wins, pitches into eighth inning for first time

Centralia College left-hander Austin Anderson of Anchorage picked up his third win in a 6-2 win over Green River during NWAC play in Washington.

The freshman pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in eight starts this season.

He threw 7.1 innings and allowed just three hits and a pair of walks. He struck out three.

Anderson, of East High fame, is 3-4 with a 5.51 ERA. Take away his last start, though, and his ERA is 3.53 since April 10.

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

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