Matson Invitational Day 4 coverage: Eagle River sweeps
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 29, 2019
Game 15 Eagle River 4, Service 2
The battery of pitcher Ryan Gray and catcher Cameron Witte took command of the game as Gray carried a shutout into the seventh inning and Witte drove in a run and threw out two baserunners to send the Wolves back to the championship game.
Gray finished with a 2-hitter in 6.2 innings, getting within one strike of a complete game. He left after reaching the 105-pitch limit and issuing a walk to his final batter.
In frustration of just missing a postseason shutout, Gray squeezed the brim of his cap and slapped it against his knee. He’s a gamer and you could feel his disappointment, but if anything, he deserved a tip of the cap for a job well done.
Gray’s pitching pushed the Wolves into Tuesday morning’s title game against tournament unbeaten Ketchikan. The game begins at 9 a.m. at Mulcahy Stadium, with an if-necessary game scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
Witte was a difference maker at the plate and behind the plate. His sacrifice fly in the fourth inning gave Eagle River a 2-0 lead. In addition to throwing out a pair of would-be base stealers, he also made two nice catches on high pop ups up the elevator shaft.
Service made things interesting at the end, but for the most part it was all Eagle River (11-22). This win also avenged a 7-3 loss to Service two days ago.
In the third inning, Deven Wesolowski stole second base and third base and scored after the throw from the catcher skipped past the third baseman.
In the fourth inning, Eagle River plated three runs on Witte’s sac fly, Braden Olmstead’s RBI fielder’s choice and Gray’s RBI groundout. At the time, it seemed like a four-run cushion would be more than enough. But things got closer.
In the seventh, Service took advantage of five walks to Nathaniel Cole, Simon Kouloo, Josh Smith, Sean Giffen and Hutton Stiles to crawl within 4-2. The Cougars had the bases loaded and the tying run at second base when the final out was recorded by Wesolowski, who earned the save.
Service (11-21) closed the season strong after a 1-17 start and finished third in the Matson Invitational.
Game 14 Eagle River 11, North Pole 6
Sterling Retzlaff went 3-for-4 with a triple as the Wolves used a 13-hit attack to remain alive in the tournament and knock out the Wild.
Retzlaff added two runs and RBI. Ryan Gray, Noah Lower and Damien Fredrick each had two RBIs.
Eagle River (10-22) improved to 3-1 in the tournament and inched closer to making a third straight finals appearance in the Matson Invitational.
Stefan Retzlaff and Fredrick combined on a 6-hitter.
Eagle River went ahead 5-1 after a four-run second inning. And when North Pole closed within 5-4, the Wolves responded by scoring three in the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth to break open the game.
North Pole's Ethan Wolfe went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and run.
Wyatt Kammer drove in three runs and Alex Garcia doubled, scored twice and drove in one run.
North Pole finished the season 11-18.