State Semifinal: West beats Eagle River in 15-12 slugfest

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 28, 2020

In a wild game where the final two innings took longer than the first five, the West Eagles held off Eagle River in a 19-hit, 15-12 slugfest in the semifinals of the Alliance State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Both teams had busy bullpens as seven pitchers combined to issue 21 walks and hit four batters. Hard to believe, but this game was relatively low scoring early on and featured five lead changes through the first five-plus innings.

 

Then the Eagles scored nine runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh inning to construct a 15-5 cushion. All they needed to get was three outs.

 

For a minute there it looked sketchy as Eagle River plated seven runs before West’s Revy Mack was summoned to extinguish the threat.

 

When the smoke cleared, the Eagles had secured West’s first berth to the state championship game since 1988.

 

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West will take on Wasilla in Wednesday’s state championship game at 5:30 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

West will be looking for its first state title since 1977.

 

Wasilla will be looking for its first state title since 1990.

 

West (16-12) reached the title game after holding off a hard-charging Eagle River (18-9) team that never wanted to quit.

 

The game was back and forth with five lead changes and early on featured strong pitching by starters Quinn Bates-Janigo of West and Braden Olmstead of Eagle River.

 

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Bates-Janigo (6IP) needed only four pitches to get out of the first inning and ended the second, fourth and fifth inings with a strikeout.

 

Olmstead (5IP) picked off a runner, induced a double play and retired West 1-2-3 in the third and fifth innings.

 

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Carter Stolp and Jack Opinsky had RBI base hits to give West a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning, and then Eagle River's Cam Witte hit a run-scoring double to tie the game in the bottom half of the fourth inning.

 

In the fifth inning, Sterling Retzlaff (3-5, 3 runs, 3 RBI) reached on an error and stole two bases before scoring the tying run. The game looked to be a classic postseason game.

 

But that all changed in the sixth inning when West sent 15 batters to the plate and scored nine runs, fueled by eight walks and two hit batsmen.

 

Eagle River batted around in the seventh inning and scored seven runs, capped by Retzlaff's two-run double.

 

This was the highest scoring game at the state tournament since 2015 when Dimond beat Fairbanks 17-10.