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Cook Inlet Conference individual leaders after half dozen games

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

Through May 14 

OFFENSE

Batting Average [min 16 PA]

.563 Maldonado South

.474 Costello South

.462 Lindberg Chugiak

.458 Klancher Service

.438 Wanamaker West

.421 Andresen Dimond

.412 Kley South

.400 Dammeyer West

.400 Kindred Chugiak

.389 Woods Service

Runs Batted In

11 Pigg Service

10 Lindberg Chugiak

8 Costello South

8 Bucolo Chugiak

7 Mohl South

7 Woods Service

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

Doubles

4 Hess Chugiak

3 Klancher Service

3 Woods Service

2 Eleven tied

Triples

2 Pigg Service

1 Five tied

Stolen Bases

8 Wing Chugiak

7 Solberg East

7 Tevasu Bartlett

6 Franklin Bartlett

6 John East

Base On Balls

7 Henrickson Dimond

7 Wing Chugiak

6 Duffy West

5 Nine tied

PITCHING

Earned Run Average [7 IP]

0.00 Homza South

0.78 Lindberg Chugiak

0.88 O'Brien Dimond

0.91 Davis East

1.00 Dooley Service

1.17 Pigg Service

1.17 Koloski South

1.27 Duffy West

1.31 Curfman Chugiak

1.91 Fazzini South

Innings Pitched

16 Curfman Chugiak

15.1 Davis East

14 Fredrick Eagle River

12 Koloski South

12 Jarvis East

11 Duffy West

11 Fazzini South

Wins

3 Curfman Chugiak

2 Fredrick Eagle River

2 Lindberg Chugiak

Saves

1 Hess Chugiak

1 Cooper Eagle River

Strikeouts

25 Duffy West

24 Davis East

17 Koloski South

12 Jarvis East

12 Weigel West

12 Fazzini South

Pickoffs

3 Lindberg Chugiak

1 Eight tied

DEFENSE

Assists

16 Pigg Service

15 Dammeyer West

15 Kindred Chugiak

13 Oberly West

12 Fredrick Eagle River

12 Franklin Bartlett

12 Hess Chugiak

11 Davis East

11 Henrickson Dimond

Legion season only weeks away, here is team tryout information

The Alaska Legion Baseball season is right around the corner.

Here is contact and tryout information for all 17 teams to get your player registered for the 2016 season.

East Post 34

Open Tryout: May 27, 6 pm, Davenport Field

Manager: Kurt Solberg

242-7406

babymoose97@hotmail.com

Dimond Post 21

Open Tryout: Sunday, 3 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Manager: Telon Bremont

360-9384

telon@gci.net

Eagle River

Open Tryout: May 22, 1:30 p.m., Loretta French Field

Manager: Gregg Frost

632-3342

gregg@kodiakbreakers.com

Service Post 28

Open Tryout: Wednesday, 6 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Manager: Willie Paul

280-8439 

williepaul1@live.com

Chugiak Post 33

Open Tryout: May 22, 5 p.m., Loretta French Field

Manager: Mark Bohrer

854-9397

mpbohrer@gci.net

West Post 1

Open Tryout: Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., Romig Middle School Football Field

Manager: Matt Kays

529-9289

matthewkays@gmail.com

South Post 4

Open Tryout: Sunday, 2 p.m., Taylar Young Field

Manager: Eric Holland

306-5520

ewholland@outlook.com

Bartlett Post 29

Open Tryout: Sunday, 4 p.m., Bartlett High School

Manager: Bernardo Ortero

717-9311

bernardo.otero@alaska.gov

Wasilla Post 35

Open Tryout: Sunday, & May 21, 1 p.m. McManus Field

Manager: Ken Ottinger

301-4084

ottworksales@gmail.com

Fairbanks Post 11

Open Tryout: Sunday & May 22 & May 29, 1 p.m., Marlin Field

Manager: Rod Perdue

978-1995

rod.perdue@bannerhealth.com

Fairbanks Post 30

Open Tryout: May 22 & May 29, 12 p.m., Arco Field

Manager: Tyler Hollister

590-0454

tchollister@alaska.edu

Kenai Post 20

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: Lance Coz

398-9077

lancecoz@hotmail.com

Juneau Post 25

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: Joe Tompkins

321-0001

josephtompkins@hotmail.com

Ketchikan Post 3

Open Tryout: Contact coach

Manager: John Milner

220-7453

redmilner@gmail.com

Kodiak Post 17

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Leonard Pickett

539-2600

lwpickett@acsalaska.net

Palmer Post 15

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Tim Rockey

982-8939

timothy.rockey@gmail.com

Delta Post 22

Open Tryout: TBD

Manager: Sonny Zarecki

804-994-4200

zareckiconstruction@hotmail.com

Karnos first Alaskan since 2009 to pitch all 9 innings at D1 level

Sacramento State pitcher Max Karnos of Anchorage didn’t just throw his first 9-inning complete game over the weekend.

It was the first time in seven years that an Alaskan went all nine innings in a NCAA D1 game.

The junior right-hander pitched a 3-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Utah Valley, facing just one batter over the minimum. 

“I was getting ahead of a lot of batters and they were a really aggressive team, so early in counts they were getting out,” Karnos told me. 

He walked one and allowed three singles, each of which was erased on double plays the following batter.

He got the job done on just 94 pitches.

“I wasn’t tired at all. I could have thrown a couple more innings,” Karnos said with a laugh.

“It felt awesome. It’s always nice to be able to finish the games I started.”

It was his second complete game of the season, although the first one April 16 was cut short after eight innings by the mercy rule in a 10-0 win over Chicago State.  

Plus, he said, the coaching staff had planned to pull him in the ninth inning anyway.

Karnos is the first Alaska pitcher since Matt Way with Washington State in 2009 to throw a 9-inning complete game. Way fired a 5-hitter in a 7-2 win over UCLA.

Karnos [5-3] is tied for the most wins on his team. He also has the most innings [70.1] and lowest ERA [2.94]. 

In fact, his ERA is a full run better than the team average [4.24]. 

“Compared to the first day this season I am way better,” Karnos said. “I think it's a combination of getting on the same page as my pitching coach who calls pitches and just settling down and pitching to my strengths.”

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

Cook Inlet Conference individual leaders after week one

Cook Inlet Conference Leaders

LEAGUE GAMES ONLY

Through May 7 

OFFENSE [min 9 PA]

Batting Average

.727 Solberg East

.556 Maldonado South

.500 Mohl South

.500 Woods Service

.444 Kley South

.417 Costello South

.400 Pigg Service

.400 Curfman Chugiak

.400 Bailey-Parsons Service

.385 Klancher Service

Home Runs

1 Mohl South

1 Costello South

1 Bucolo Chugiak

1 Andresen Dimond

Runs Batted In

8 Pigg Servce

7 Mohl South

5 Costello South

5 Davis East

4 Andresen Dimond

4 Woods Service

4 Lindberg Chugiak

4 Bucolo Chugiak

4 Gatter East

Stolen Bases

6 Solberg East

4 John East

4 Lewis East

4 Malo Bartlett

4 Franklin Bartlett

4 Frosie Eagle River

4 Wing Chugiak

Base On Balls

4 Opinsky West

4 Bautista West

4 Scoggins Service

3 Ten players tied

PITCHING [min 4 IP]

Innings Pitched

8.1 Davis East 

8 Fredrick Eagle RIver

7.2 Jarvis East

7 Homza South

7 Koloski South

7 Oberly West

7 Weigel West

Earned Run Average

0.00 Homza South

0.00 Koloski South

0.00 Lindberg Chugiak

0.84 Davis East

1.17 Duffy West

1.40 Hess Chugiak

1.75 Jaidinger Service

Strikeouts

15 Davis East

14 Duffy West

10 Koloski South

9 Jarvis East

8 Homza South

8 Weigel South

7 Henrickson Dimond 

Pickoffs

1 Malo Bartlett

1 Jaidinger Service

1 Lindberg Chugiak

1 Curfman Chugiak

1 Miles Eagle River

DEFENSE

Assists

10 Pigg Service

10 Oberly West

9 Andresen Dimond

9 Fredrick Eagle River

7 Franklin Bartlett

7 Kindred Chugiak

6 Three players tied

 

Torres a torrid hitter for Mesabi Range, lifts average to .368

It didn't take long for Dimitri Torres of Anchorage to establish himself as one of the top playmakers for Mesabi Range College in Minnesota.

The freshman third baseman hit a game-winning, three-run home run in his first game.

After 29 games, he leads the team with 27 runs and ranks second with a .368 batting average and 10 stolen bases.

Torres, of Bartlett Legion Post 29 fame, has driven in 21 runs, including five RBIs in his last five games.

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

Ross brings precision, power to the plate for Blue Mountain

Ben Ross of Palmer has always had some pop in his bat, but the right-handed slugger suffered a power outage as a freshman at Blue Mountain Community College in Washington.

So he changed his approach at the plate and it was like a light went on.

“I’ve learned that power can be substituted with precise hitting,” he told me.

Ross is no longer just a pull hitter as he’s now able to take pitches the other way, which has helped make him one of the top run producers in the NWAC.

The sophomore outfielder is hitting .336 in 34 games and ranks 10th in the league with 28 RBIs. He is also riding a 16-game hitting streak, the second longest among Alaskans playing college baseball. 

Just call him the 907’s Comeback Player of the Year.

“This year has been one for the books for me so far,” he said. “I'm finally getting the playing time I've been seeking in college, and enjoying every minute of it.”

Ross has more home runs [3] as a sophomore than he did base hits [2] as a freshman. He also has 10 doubles and a triple.

His new approach hasn’t kept him from swinging a big bat either. It’s just now he’s smarter about it. For example, he has struck out only nine times in his last 70 plate appearances.

“This approach has greatly helped when there are guys in scoring position,” he said. “Instead of trying to hit a bomb shot I relax and contain my swing to drive the ball the other way to give that greater chance of getting those runs in.”

Ross, who played high school ball at Colony and Legion for Wasilla Post 35, is hitting .389 during his hitting streak that dates back to April 6. He entered that day hitting .281 on the season. Now he’s up to .336. 

“I'm usually aggressive in the box so I'm not afraid to hack at a first-pitch strike,” he said. “I'm really anxious to hit the ball, so if it’s there, I'm hackin.”

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

Osborne has 10 RBIs in 4-game series with Dickinson State

Have a series, Sagan Osborne.

The Dickinson State junior from Anchorage enjoyed a huge weekend against the University of Winnipeg during NAIA action in North Dakota, going 9-for-15 [.600] with five extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in four games.

Osborne, of Dimond Post 21 fame, continued his career season by lifting his batting average to .383 in 46 games. 

He also extended his hitting streak to 12 games, one shy of his season-high 13-game streak earlier this season.

Osborne isn't just getting on base - he's driving the ball in the gap, driving in teammates and scoring lots of runs.

He leads Dickinson State with 18 doubles and 21 extra-base hits, ranks second with 38 RBIs and third with 32 runs.

Osborne has also doubled in five straight games.

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

Thompson homers, Brown closes the door as PLU wins conference

For the third time this college baseball season Anchorage's Tyler Thompson homered and Garrett Brown earned the save in the same game for Pacific Lutheran University.

This time, though, it helped the Lutes capture the Northwest Conference championship and punch their ticket to the NCAA D3 regional tournament in May.

Thompson crushed a two-out solo home run in the second inning that proved to be the game winner and Brown pitched the final two innings as PLU beat Whitworth 6-5 in Spokane, Washington.

“It’s funny because me and Garrett always talk about him getting a save and me getting a home run in a game, and it’s happened a few times,” Thompson told me. “We both just get pumped up for each other when we do well.”

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, ranks third in the Northwest Conference with a career-high eight home runs.

Brown, of Service Post 28 fame, leads the league with a career-high nine saves.

Together, they are a big reason why the Lutes have posted a 10-2 record this month and are red hot entering the regional playoffs.

Today, PLU opened the game by scoring five runs in the top of the first only to have Whitworth answer with five of their own to tie the game.

Thompson hit the go-ahead homer the next inning.

“My mentality for my at-bat was just to try and get a rally going,” he said. “The pitcher left the ball up and I put a good swing on it.”

From there, PLU pitchers threw nothing but goose eggs.

“Our pitching shut them down,” Thompson said. “It’s just an awesome feeling winning the conference tournament after all the ups and downs our team went through to get to this point.”

With 16 career homers, Thompson is the active leader among Alaskans playing college baseball. His latest dinger was memorable, but he hopes there are more to come.

“This moment means a lot to me, to come through for my team in that situation definitely got me going,” he said. “It was an awesome day for our team.”

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

Caron stays aggressive for Dawson, hitting .394 at leadoff

The job of a prototypical leadoff hitter is to take as many pitches as possible.

But Anchorage’s Ryan Caron has a different strategy. 

“I’m usually swinging first pitch,” he told me with a laugh. “I don’t see many pitches.”

He doesn’t miss many either.

The Dawson Community College sophomore centerfielder is hitting .394 [37-for-94] in 27 games with the NJCAA team in Montana.

He has banged out at least two hits in nine of his last 16 games.

Caron, of Service Post 28 fame, started the season pitching and playing in the field. He has since focused on just hitting and the results speak for themselves.

 “I really changed my approach,” he said. “When I was doing my best last year I was really being aggressive and then I got away from it after I got moved up in the lineup.”

He promised himself to stay aggressive no matter what, even after he was promoted to the top of the Dawson batting order.

Thing is, though, most coaches want their leadoff hitters to see lots of pitches. Then again, his .394 batting average gives him a long leash.

“I talked with my coach about it and he said, ‘As long as it works, keep doing you,’” Caron said. “If the pitcher isn’t around the zone, I will back off.

“Thing is, though, pitchers are going to throw you stuff they want you to hit, so if they start me out with a fastball I’m going to smack that.”

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

Thompson, Ibesate tied for longest hitting streak in college

Tyler Thompson of Anchorage didn’t waste any time extending his hitting streak.

The Pacific Lutheran University third baseman delivered a first-inning double to push his consecutive hits streak to 15 games.

Thompson, a senior, is hitting .308 on the season with six home runs and 24 RBIs in 38 games.

Thompson’s streak tied him with Juneau’s Lance Ibesate of the University of Jamestown for the longest among Alaska college players.

Ibesate, a senior second baseman, is hitting .362 with one home run and 30 RBIs in 44 games.

Here is a look at the longest hitting streaks by Alaskans playing college baseball this season:

*15 – Tyler Thompson, Pacific Lutheran University

15 – Lance Ibesate, University of Jamestown

13 – Sagan Osborne, Dickinson State University

*10 –  Scooter Bynum, Western Arizona College

*8 – Ben Ross, Blue Mountain Community College

8 – Ryan Caron, Dawson Community College

*6 – Stephen Ferntheil, Mayville State University

6 - Dimitri Torres, Mesabi Range JC

5 – Adam Manzer, Sonoma State University 

4 – Willy Homza, Brown University

4 – Aaron Miller, Mayville State University

[*] active

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

Manzer crushes 1st homer, has 3 RBIs in one game for Sonoma St

Adam Manzer of Anchorage hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning and finished with three RBIs for Sonoma State before the bullpen gave it away in a 9-7 loss to Cal State San Marcos.

He finished 3-for-4 with a run-scoring walk, an RBI single and a solo home run. It was his first bomb this season and the fifth for his two-year NCAA D2 career.

"The home run felt great. The best feeling I've had all year at the plate," he told me. "Been seeing the ball better as of late been working on some things lately in practice to help me at the plate."

Manzer, of West Post 1 fame, is hitting .282 with 14 RBIs in 32 games.

The senior outfielder has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage on defense.

"I've been playing a lot of left field and a little right field lately," he said. "Hopefully I can move around a little bit and showcase my skills at other postitions too.

"Of the outfield I like the centerfield the best because I have free range and authority to run down and catch any ball."

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

Prep season has earliest start in Anchorage, thanks to FieldTurf

The boys of summer hit the field Saturday in Anchorage in the earliest start date in more than 25 years of high school baseball.

Ten years ago, teams prepared for the season by taking ground balls and batting practice in parking lots. And when the players finally did get on the fields, the conditions were terrible: muddy and wet.

But FieldTurf has changed how the game is played in Alaska.

In past years Anchorage teams from the Cook Inlet Conference had gone elsewhere in Alaska to play in mid-April, but not this year. 

West vs. Bartlett, 10 a.m.

Service vs. Eagle River, 1 p.m.

Colony vs. South, 4 p.m.

Bartlett has one of just three all-FieldTurf baseball fields in Alaska – the other locations are Sitka and Kodiak.

However, FieldTurf baseball /softball infields through the advocacy of American Legion baseball is now becoming a growing trend because the surface allows for a longer season with more consistent bounces and game play and less maintenance required. 

Current FieldTurf infields constructed by Alliance for ALB with partnerships forged with Anchorage Parks and Recreation, Anchorage Parks Foundation, Eagle River Parks and Recreation and Mt View Lions include: 

Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage: Opened April 2010;

Polar LL Blackburn Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2014 repurposed from AFS; 

Polar LL Peck Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2014 repurposed from AFS;

Kosinski 4 Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2015;

Kosinski 3 Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2015;

Loretta French Field in Eagle River: Opening May 2016;

Oberg Field in Chugiak: Opening May 2016.

Other areas of the state have also looked to add FieldTurf baseball/softball infields constructed by the Mat Su Borough and the Mat Su School District:

Joe Redington High School near Wasilla: Scheduled to open Fall of 2016 FieldTurf Baseball and Softball infields;

Wasilla High School near Wasilla: Schedule to open Fall of 2016 FieldTurf Baseball and Softball infields.

Future plans discussed by the Alliance with its partner American Legion programs is FieldTurf fields in Fairbanks, Ketchikan and Juneau as well as partnership with statewide Little League baseball and softball organizations to use repurposed FieldTurf for infields.

Here's a look at the non-league [NL] schedule:

SATURDAY, APRIL 16

BA West vs. Bartlett   10:00 AM 

BA Service vs. Eagle River  1:00 PM 

BA Colony vs. South   4:00 PM 

THURSDAY, APRIL 21

BA Delta vs. Chugiak 6:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 22

BA Palmer vs. Dimond 6:30 PM 

K4 Delta vs. Eagle River 6:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 23

ASD-APPROVED JAMBOREE 

Scrimmages limited to 2 innings or 1 hour

K4 Service vs. West 10:00 AM

K3 Delta vs. Dimond 10:00 AM

K4 West vs. Dimond 11:15 AM

K3 Delta vs. Service 11:15 AM

K4 Dimond vs. Service 12:30 PM

K3 West vs. Delta 12:30 PM

ASD-APPROVED JAMBOREE 

Scrimmages limited to 2 innings or 1 hour

K4 Eagle River vs. Bartlett 2:00 PM

K3 Chugiak vs. East 2:00 PM

K4 Bartlett vs. East 3:15 PM

K3 Chugiak vs. Eagle River 3:15 PM

K4 East vs. Eagle River 4:30 PM 

K3 Bartlett vs. Chugiak 4:30 PM

***Jamboree Rules

A baseball Jamboree shall include three or more teams. A team is limited to no more than 6 innings total with no more than 2 innings against any other team. Each pitcher is limited to no more than 2 innings. A team may not play in more than one Jamboree each season. No scores are kept in a Jamboree.

MONDAY, APRIL 25

K4 Colony vs. Eagle River 6:30 PM

K3 Palmer vs. Service 6:30 PM

TUESDAY, APRIL 26

K4 Wasilla vs. Bartlett 6:30 PM

K3 Dimond vs. West 6:30 PM

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27

K4 Palmer vs. South 6:30 PM

K3 East vs. Chugiak 6:30 PM

THURSDAY, APRIL 28

BA Wasilla vs. Dimond 6:30 PM

K4 Colony vs. Service 6:30 PM

K3 South vs. Chugiak 6:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 29

BA Wasilla vs. West 6:30 PM

K4 Bartlett vs. Dimond 6:30 PM

K3 Service vs. East 6:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 30

BA Eagle River vs. West 10:00 AM

BA Lathrop vs. Chugiak 1:00 PM

BA Lathrop vs. South 4:00 PM

BA East vs. Bartlett 7:00 PM

Ibesate is one crazy consistent college hitter for Jamestown

The University of Jamestown's Lance Ibesate of Juneau is crazy consistent with the bat.

The second baseman has nearly an identical batting average, slugging percentage and stolen base totals in each of the last two NAIA seasons.

He hit .368 in 46 games last year and .366 in 41 games this year while his slugging percentage has been .485 and .486. He's also swiped exactly 20 bags each year.

There hasn't been a more a consistent hitter from Alaska than Ibesate at the college level over that time.

"My approach at the plate is a gap-to-gap approach," Ibesate told me. "It's something we've been working on all year and it's showing with our team."

The former Juneau Post 25 all-star currently is riding a 14-game hitting streak for Jamestown, which has won 38 of 41 games this year.

"I've been having success at the plate not because of myself but because of the teammates I have," he said. "With the pitch staff and hitters I have, makes my job simple."

Ibesate's 14-game hitting streak is the longest of any player from Alaska this season. Anchorage's Sagan Osborne of Dickinson State had a 13-game hitting streak earlier this season and Pacific Lutheran's Tyler Thompson of Anchorage owns a current 11-game hitting streak.

Ibesate and Osborne were on the same field last weekend during a four-game series in North Dakota.

Ibesate went 6-for-14 [.428] with four runs and three RBIs as his team won three of four. Osborne went 5-for-17 [.294] with five RBIs.

“Facing another Alaskan is always a pleasure,” Ibesate said. “It’s always fun competing with someone you have something in common with, and that’s having played in The Last Frontier.”

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

PLU cleanup hitter Thompson does not get cheated at dish

Anchorage's Tyler Thompson doesn't go to the plate trying to hit a home run, but he doesn't get cheated either.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior slugger at Pacific Lutheran University takes a healthy cut and sometimes he gets enough to knock it out of the ballpark.

"I go up trying to do damage and if I get a good swing on it then home runs will follow," he told me.

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, is crushing the ball this season with the NCAA D3 Lutes of Tacoma, Washington, where he leads the team with five home runs.

Even better, he is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak. 

Overall the cleanup hitter is batting .294 in 34 games with 18 RBIs and 25 runs.

He is averaging a home run every 6.8 games this year compared to 12.6 in 2014.

Thompson is Alaska's career leader among active players with 13 career home runs in three seasons at PLU.

"The home runs have meant a lot to me for a couple of reasons," he said. "I was never a home-run hitter growing up. I would hit one here and there, but never on a consistent basis.

"I always wanted to be a home-run hitter, but never thought I actually would be."

Who could blame him? Chicks dig the long ball.

Things changed for Thompson when he hit a growth spurt in high school. He also started lifting weights. By the time he got to college he was stronger than ever.

Crushing bombs, however, is more than just being buff.

You have to be able to actually hit, including pitches other than just fastballs.

"My approach at the plate is be aggressive. I've always been an aggressive hitter," Thompson said. "One thing that I've had to work on more this year is staying balanced and hitting more off-speed pitches.

"Being in the 4-hole for the majority of my games I get more off-speed pitches. I would say probably four of my five home runs this season have been on off-speed pitches."

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

Bynum adds punch to his bat, bumps slugging to .485 for AWC

There is a power surge happening at Arizona Western College, courtesy of Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks.

The 20-year-old sophomore centerfielder has seen his slugging percentage climb to new heights on the baseball field this season, thanks to career-high totals in doubles, triples and home runs.

Best of all his batting average hasn’t taken a hit as a result of his added power.

Bynum, of Fairbanks Legion Post 11/30 fame, is hitting .311 in 37 games compared to .314 in 54 games as a freshman.

“The weight room and the reps from JUCO ball, it’s different than in Alaska, where you get the chance to fail and then pick yourself back up.”

He played in eight games as a senior in high school. In two years at Arizona Western College he has played in 91 – and counting. There are 14 games left in the regular season.

“I’m looking to get really hot here and make the playoffs,” he said.

Bynum’s slugging percentage of .485 is the highest among active Alaskans playing college baseball; better than other notable hitters from the state like Sagan Osborne [.472], Lance Ibesate [.472] and Tyler Thompson [.470].

Bynum has 13 extra-base hits on six doubles, four triples and three home runs.

“That’s good, but I can be better and I know that so I’m gonna do it,” he said.

His slugging percentage is 72 points higher than his freshman season when he had eight extra-base hits [3-3-2].

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

Jensen pitching well for GHC even if record does not show it

Talk about getting no love. Nick Jensen of Anchorage is actually pitching much better than anybody would expect with a 0-5 record.

The Grays Harbor College starting pitcher has a 3.16 ERA and he has allowed just one earned run in each of his last two starts.

His losing record is a combination of hard luck, little run support and poor defense.

In fact, only 9 of his last 19 runs allowed were earned.

Jensen, of South Legion Post 4 fame, has only 14 strikeouts in 31.1 innings, so he pitches to contact and relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

Nonetheless, his winless record shouldn't overshadow his pitching performance for the NWAC school in Washington.

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

Karnos has a 1.29 ERA over his last 21 innings with Sac State

Even though a winning decision in back-to-back starts wasn’t in the cards, Anchorage’s Max Karnos is still pitching like an ace.

The Sacramento State right-hander has a sparkling 1.29 ERA over his last 21 innings of work, although his record is just 1-0 during that stretch.

He threw seven strong innings in consecutive starts against Cal Poly and North Dakota – both 3-2 wins, but he didn’t factor in the decision.

“What has improved most is my strike percentage and also I’m throwing a lot more first-pitch strikes, which is helping me get ahead of batters early,” he told me.

Karnos, of South Legion Post 4 fame, had a career-high 5 Ks against North Dakota and said he uses his slider more than ever to help get routine outs.

“Lately our defense has been awesome,” he said, “so my confidence that almost anything put into play will be an out has boosted my confidence to throw strikes in any count.”

In six games, including five starts, the 6-foot-4 junior has a 1-1 record and 3.86 ERA in 28 innings.

“I love being a starter because I know what my job is, which is to get to the eighth inning and then hand it off to our bullpen,” Karnos said. “A lot of innings shows that I’m doing my job.”

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

Brown hasn’t allowed a run in the month of March for PLU

Lots of baseball players are superstitious and Garrett Brown of Anchorage is no different. 

Things are going so well for the Pacific Lutheran University right-handed pitcher that he refuses to shave his beard.

Brown hasn’t allowed a run in the month of March, a scoreless streak that extends 15.2 inning over six relief appearances.

Nobody dare talks about the streak, though, in fear of upsetting the baseball gods.

“Baseball is a weird sport like that,” Brown told me. “Only way I won’t perform well is if I do it to myself. If I throw the ball down the middle I’ll get smacked. If I hit spots, and locate, no one will hit me.

“So it’s all up to me – no superstitions involved.”

Brown, of Service Legion Post 28 fame, has a 3-3 record with two saves in 13 games and a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings.

The senior is one of the first options out of the bullpen because of his durability and consistency. Take last weekend’s doubleheader against George Fox when he closed out the game on back-to-back days.

“The trainers at PLU, specifically Aaron Gunther, have been helping me keep my arm healthy as the season goes on,” Brown said. “Throwing back-to-back days is tough, so managing arm tenderness is important. Adrenaline helps minimize the pain a lot, though.”

Brown’s success is based on location, getting ahead in the count and pitching to his defense – a winning formula at any level.

“Our defense is ranked top 5 in the nation right now so I’ve been attaching batters with my fastball,” he said. “I’ve learned that coming out of the pen isn’t as easy as people make it seem. It requires extreme focus as one bad pitch can lose a game.”

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

Osborne knocks in game winner, lifts batting average to .406

Never mind flirting with .400, Sagan Osborne of Anchorage is straight going steady with the benchmark batting average.

The Dickinson State shortstop banged out two more hits today to raise his average to .406 in 27 games this season.

Osborne, of Dimond Legion Post 21 fame, went 2-for-4 and drove in the game-winning run with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning to key a 3-2 victory over the University of Mary in NAIA baseball action in Bismarck, North Dakota.

He now has 39 hits in 96 at-bats. He came into the game hitting .402.

Osborne leads Dickinson State in batting average, doubles [9] and ranks second with 19 runs and 18 RBIs.

He has struck out just seven times in 108 plate appearances.

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

Ross has turned into a RBI machine for Blue Mountain

When Blue Mountain Community College baseball has ducks on the pond, the team wants Palmer's Ben Ross at the plate.

The right fielder has turned into RBI machine over the four games, driving in six runs, including two more in a 10-0 win over Olympic during NWAC play in Pendleton, Oregon.

Ross, of Wasilla Post 35 fame, went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored.

The sophomore outfielder has a current five-game hitting streak that seen his batting average soar from .158 to a more respectable .242.

He has made good contact over that time, striking out just twice in 24 at-bats.

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

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