State: Eagle River survives wild game with Chugiak

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 27, 2020

Ryan Gray's run-scoring single in the fifth inning produced the go-ahead run that helped Eagle River rally to beat Chugiak 11-8 on Day 4 of the Alliance State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Both teams scored five runs in a wild fifth inning that saw momentum swing back and forth in a game that already featured two lead changes in the first two innings.

 

When the smoke cleared the Wolves were still standing and clinched the Alyeska pool with the win, moving to 3-0 in the tournament.

 

IMG_8373.JPG

 

Eagle River has advanced to the state semifinals and will play Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. Opponent TBD.

 

It was a crazy game, with 10 errors between the two teams.

 

Eagle River benefited from seven Chugiak miscues, usually on poor throws. The Wolves kicked the ball around a little as well but it was contained to just the fifth inning. It seemed to be just a hiccup.

 

Eagle River reliever Josh Thompson picked up the win in relief and closer Garren Henning collected a six-out save.

 

Gray finished 1-for-4 with three RBIs and a run. Thompson also had an RBI. They were the only players to drive in a run.

 

Braden Olmstead went 3-for-3 with a walk and three runs.

 

IMG_8376 (1).JPG

 

Chugiak's Riley Fugere and Austin Bull each had two RBIs.

 

Fugere's sac fly made helped Chugiak pull within 6-5 in the fifth inning and Bull's two-run single put Chugiak up 7-6 for the first time since the Mustangs led 2-0 after the top of the first inning.

 

Justin Nevells reached base four times, scored two runs and played his typical solid defense at shortstop. He also pitched, with seven of his 10 runs being unearned. It was just one of those days.

 

The victory was especially meaningful for first-year Eagle River head coach Bill Lierman, who beat his alma mater at the state tournament for the first time.

 

IMG_1274.JPG

 

The Lierman family played an instrumental role in Chugiak's championship tradition in the 1990s and 2000s, with Bill Sr. leading the Mustangs to several state titles as coach and Bill Jr. winning even more championships as a player and coach.

 

It might take some time to get used to seeing Lierman in Eagle River colors, but seeing a Lierman-led team reach the state semifinals is something we’ve seen for decades.