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2015 Alaska Legion AA Baseball Team of Excellence

Starting Pitcher

Nathan Klein - Juneau Post 25

Tommy Koloski - South Post 4

Jimmy Lanier - Chugiak Post 33

Joe Fitka - Dimond Post 21

Dalton McHugill - Valley Post 35/15

Joey Becher - Kenai Post 20

RJ Markovich - Juneau Post 25

Tyler Hill - Fairbanks Post 11

Catcher

Kenny Griffin - Kenai Post 20

Jack Straub - Chugiak Post 33

Jeffrey Forster - Valley Post 35/15

Relief Pitcher

Zachary Brueggemann - Chugiak Post 33

Lucas Thorp - Dimond Post 21

Sam Bennett - Kodiak Post 17

Infield

Jonny Homza - South Post 4

Raleigh Pigg - Service Post 28

Zachary Bohrer - Chugiak Post 33

Jake Kindred - Chugiak Post 33

Nathan Klein - Juneau Post 25

Joe Schactler - Kodiak Post 17

Terrell Ford - Fairbanks Post 30

Ben Hall - Fairbanks Post 30

Preston Micheletto - Dimond Post 21

Outfield

Lian Lincoln - South Post 4

Buddy Dale - Valley Post 35/15

RJ Markovich - Juneau Post 25

Zachary Brueggemann - Chugiak Post 33

Vander Lekites - Chugiak Post 33

Luke Jones - Ketchikan Post 3

Utility

Peter Kott - Eagle River

Michael Fitzpatrick - Fairbanks Post 30

Finn Collins - Juneau Post 25

Coaches of the Year

Andy Macaulay - Juneau Post 25

Doug Henie - Chugiak Post 33

Cliff Butcher - South Post 4

HONORABLE MENTION

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2 recap for State Tournament, Matson Invitational

STATE TOURNAMENT

GM5: Kenai 4, Fairbanks [11] 2

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

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

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

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

Fairbanks 11 was eliminated and finished eighth in the tournament.

GM6: Dimond 17, Fairbanks [30] 10

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

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

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

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

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

GM7: Juneau 8, South 0

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

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

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

Tommy Koloski's double highlighted South's offense.

GM8: Chugiak 7, Valley 3

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

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

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

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

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

STATE TOURNAMENT

Wednesday At Mulcahy Stadium

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

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

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

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

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Eagle River 5, Kodiak 3

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

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

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

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

Service 11, East 7

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

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

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

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

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

Ketchikan 13, West 5

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

Carson worked around six walks to earn the win.

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

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

MATSON INVITATIONAL

Wednesday At Bartlett High School

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

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

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

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

Day 1 recap of State Tournament, Matson Invitational

STATE TOURNAMENT

GM1: South 4, Kenai 3

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

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

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

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

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

GM2: Juneau 5, Fairbanks [11] 2

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

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

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

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

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

GM3: Valley 3, Dimond 0

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

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

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

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

GM4: Chugiak 6, Fairbanks [30] 0

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

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

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

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

MATSON INVITATIONAL

GM1: East 8, Bartlett 3

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

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

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

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

GM2: West 13, Kodiak 6

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

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

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

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

GM3: Ketchikan 4, Eagle River 3

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

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

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

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

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

Day 1 State Tournament

Tuesday At Mulcahy Stadium

[3] South 4, [6] Kenai 3

[2] Juneau 5, [7] Fairbanks 11  2

[5] Valley 3, [4] Dimond 0

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

Day 1 Matson Invitational

Tuesday At Bartlett High School

[14] East 8, [15] Bartlett 3

[13] West 13, [10] Kodiak 6

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

Legion AA postseason starts Tuesday w/ State, Matson

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

Day 1 State Tournament schedule:

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

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

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

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

**radio [93.7-FM]

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

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

Watch live:

https://iframe.dacast.com/b/38132/c/70225

Live scoring:

http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

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

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

State Champions Through the Years

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

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

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

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

3 – Kenai Post 20 [1991, 1995, 2012]

3 – South Post 4 [2007, 2009, 2014]

3 – West Post 1 [1967, 1968, 1977]

2 – Bartlett Post 29 [1972, 1981]

2 - Juneau Post 25 [1983, 1984]

2 – Service Post 28 [1991, 2001]

1 – Kodiak Post 17 [1985]

1 – Wasilla Post 35 [1990]

Matson Invitational

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

Day 1 Matson schedule:

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

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

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

[9] Service bye

Follow the action with live scoring:

 http://iscorecentral.com/7FE5D32A05

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

Anchorage hosted the NWCART last season at Mulcahy Stadium.

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

Legion A Invitational starts Thursday, title game Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gm 12 Sunday  3pm   Championship Game Bartlett

Way earns 6th save for Bellingham in West Coast action

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

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

Way lowered his ERA to 1.42 over 15 appearances.

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

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

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

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

Spink back on track after tough start with Lincoln Saltdogs

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

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

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

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

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

First 9 games: 6.92 ERA

Next 17 games: 2.63 ERA

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

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

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

Castroville [TX] beats Dimond for title in BP Invitational

Castroville [TX] 10, Dimond 0

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

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

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

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

Castroville benefited from sloppiness early and straight skills late.

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

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

Moss and Valdez put pressure on opponents all weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dimond 6, Napoleon [OH] 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Castroville starter Isaiah Limon went all seven innings.

Chugiak 8, South 3

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

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

Vander Lekites scored three times and stole two bases.

Each team managed just five hits.

Jonny Homza and Parker Johnson drove in runs for South.

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

Service 10, Eagle River 5

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

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

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

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

Chugiak hands Castroville first loss on Day 3 on BP Invitational

Castroville [TX] 10, Napoleon [OH] 3

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

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

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

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

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

Napoleon [OH] 11, Eagle River 1

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

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

He stuck out 6.

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

Napoleon is 7-3 in Alaska this summer.

Dimond 12, Service 7

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

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

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

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

Chugiak 8, Castroville [TX] 7

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

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

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

Kindred, Brueggemann and Hess each finished two hits.

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

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

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

Team Avenue Academy [CA] 7, South 3

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

Castruita allowed only one run over the final six innings.

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

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

Live scoring

Follow every pitch of the 21st annual BP Invitational:

Link: http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

Get updates and schedules at www.alaskalegion.com.

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

Martin Ks 11 as Ohio snaps Chugiak 16-game win streak

Team Avenue [CA] 6, Service 1

Jonathan Sloan pitched a 5-hitter with his arm and drove in a run with his bat.

Sloan stuck out seven and threw six shutout innings after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning.

Pierre Martinez had two hits and two RBIs, and Trevor Wever had an RBI for Team Avenue Academy.

Service's Nick Hall and Hunter Johnson each colleced two hits, and Johnson drove in his team's lone run.

South 4, Service 3

Austin Weller scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to deliver a walk-off win.

Weller walked, moved to second on a sac bunt and went to third on a single before scoring the winning run.

Tommy Koloski and Max Costello each drove in runs for South.

Service trailed 3-0 all game before tying the run in the top of the seventh, thanks to a three-run triple from Raleigh Pigg.

Napoleon [OH] 7, Chugiak 2

Bailey Martin fanned 11 and was masterful over his seven innings of work on the mound, snapping Chugiak's 16-game winning streak.

He allowed only two hits and a pair of unearned runs in the first inning. He yielded only one hit after the first inning.

Tyler Weaver and Brice Rankin each had two RBIs and Nate Rau and Jimmy Bauer each had one.

Weaver, Rau and Rankin also banged out the games only extra-base hits.

Napoleon is now 7-2 in Alaska this summer.

Castroville [TX] 14, Eagle River 3

Wesley Moss didn't start the game, but he ended up making the biggest difference.

The speedy outfielder went 4-for-4 and had 4 RBIs and scored three times. He headlined a 12-hit attack as the Cannons improved to 9-0 on their Alaska road trip.

Trestan Pool, Robert Lopez, Frank Bosmans, Heath Clary, Ethan Valdez and Noe Garza each drove in a run.

Each team had a player [Valdez, Pete Kott] who stole home outright.

Eagle River's Caleb Garcia tripled and scored.

Dimond 10, Team Avenue Academy [CA] 6

Kyle Bremont and Stephen Jacobs each drove in two runs as Dimond clinched a semifinal spot.

Jacobs doubled, giving him three in two games. Preston Micheletto, Noah Alexander and Jacobs collected two hits apiece.

Dimond pitchers Joe Fitka, Billy Orth and Lucas Thorp limited Team Avenue to six hits. The Aces started slowly but finished fast, scoring four runs in their final at-bat.

Nate mcGill had two hits and two RBIs for Team Avenue. Tyler Sovig drove in a run and Jullian Vasquez scored twice.

Dimond became just the second Alaska team to win a game against Outside competition during the 2015 Alaska Airlines Tournament Tour in Wasilla, Kenai and Anchorage.

Live scoring

Follow every pitch of the 21st annual BP Invitational:

Link: http://data.iscorecentral.com/iscorecast/baseball/scorecast.html?c=954B47E74E

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

Chugiak no-hitter highlights Day 1 of BP Invitational

Chugiak 7, Eagle River 1

Jared Phearson, Brady Lindberg and Jimmy Lanier combined to throw a no-hitter over seven innings.

Phearson started and went the first 5 innings before the other two cleaned up with an inning apiece.

Alex Hess drove in three runs on a base hit and sacrifice fly. Matthew Hess had the other RBI.

Eagle River scored on an error in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead.

Dimond 9, South 1

Stephen Jacobs ripped two doubles and drove in two runs to highlight an 11-hit attack.

Kyle Bremont went 2-for-2 with four runs, two walks and an RBI.

Dimond starter Jake Andresen went the distance, scattering three hits and three walks over seven innings. He struck out 7.

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

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.

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