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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.

Manzer collects career-high 3 RBIs with just one swing

Anchorage's Adam Manzer hit his third home run of the season and set a career-high with 3 RBIs for Sonoma State University in California.

He collected all his RBIs on one swing, a three-run shot in the third inning against Cal State Monterey Bay in NCAA D2 action.

The junior outfielder finished 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .289 in 24 games. This is his first season with Sonoma State.

Manzer, of West High fame, has driven in 11 runs this season, which ranks second among players with fewer than 100 at-bats.

He missed nearly half the season after suffering two hamstring injuries.

Manzer's 3 home runs is second Alaska college sluggers. Tyler Thompson of NCAA D3 Pacific Lutheran University and Aaron Miller of NAIA Mayville State each have hit 4 bombs this year.

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

Miller has career highs in power numbers across the board

Anchorage’s Aaron Miller was good in high school, but he’s become an even better player in college.

The junior left fielder has put it all together for Mayville State University in North Dakota, where he has a .353 batting average in 119 career games with the NAIA school.

“In high school I was a good player but never had the consistency that I have achieved in college,” he told me. “I’ve worked a lot on my mental game to get to that next level in my game, which is why I believe I have had the success I’ve had recently.”

Miller is hardly a one-hit wonder. This guy has been tearing the cover off the ball since he arrived at Mayville State.

But this year has been extra special for the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder as he has career highs in his power numbers across the board – home runs [4], doubles [11], RBIs [37] and slugging percentage [.500].

“The home runs just started coming,” he said. “I’ve always had the power. It just now is starting to translate to games.”

Miller, of Service High fame, is batting .342 in 48 games this year and has hit safely in 23 of the last 25 games. 

“My swing feels great right now I’ve been able to spray the ball to whole field,” he said.

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

Bynum ties college career-high with 4 RBIs, now w/ 37 in 52G

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks hit his second career home run and finished with two hits and tied his career high with 4 RBIs as Arizona Western College beat South Mountain College 9-4.

The freshman outfielder lifted his batting average to .302 in 52 games. He played eight games as highs school senior.

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic fame, leads his team with 8 stolen bases while ranking second with 24 walks, 27 runs and 3 triples, and third with 37 RBIs.

Defensively, he told me he has improved his arm strength to make him a better all-around player.

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

Ibesate caps big week, helps Jamestown extend win streak

Juneau’s Lance Ibesate had quite the week for the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.

The junior second baseman batted .476 [10-for-21] in six games and hit first college home run as the Jimmies pushed their win streak to 13 games.

Ibesate drove in 6 runs this week and now has 22 RBIs for the season.

He is hitting .383 in 40 games and is one of only four Jamestown players to hit for the cycle on the season.

Ibesate leads the team with 44 hits, 3 triples and 18 stolen bases. He is second with 36 runs.

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

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