Wasilla beats Ketchikan 8-6 to claim first state title

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 1, 2019

Wasilla 8, Ketchikan 6

Byson Malave stroked a go-ahead double in the fourth inning and relief pitcher Carter Huston was lights out down the stretch as the Warriors walked away their first state title thanks to a come-from-behind win in the championship game of the ASAA/First National Bank State Baseball Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Wasilla rallied back from deficits of 2-0, 4-1, 6-4 to make school history and give the Mat-Su Valley its first state championship in high school baseball. It’s also just the second title for the Southcentral Conference since Kodiak won it all in 2004.

 

The Warriors (22-2) took the lead for good thanks to a four-run fourth inning. Clayton Boyett scored to get Wasilla within 6-5 and Malave’s extra-base knock put his team ahead for good. Malave later scored after an error to make it 8-6.

 

Malave finished with three RBIs, adding a run-scoring single in the third inning.  Boyett went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and four innings pitched as starting pitcher.

 

Wasilla tied the game at 4-4 in the third inning after executing a suicide squeeze – with Max Wasner laying down a bunt and Jacob Gilbert scoring from third base.

 

Wasner and Jacob Hanson finished with RBIs and Gilbert scored a pair of runs. Nolan Murphy reached base three times on a walk and twice getting hit by pitch.

 

And then there was Huston, who provided remarkable relief when his team needed it the most. He held Ketchikan (15-2) to just two hits and two walks in 3.2 innings.

 

Huston has pitched well all season, improving his record to 4-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.22 in 23 innings.

 

The Warriors had several stars and they needed every one of them to beat the Southeast Conference champion Kings, who boast a loaded lineup led by sluggers Liam Kiffer and Wyatt Barajas.

 

Together, they combined for a 12 home runs – more than the rest of the teams at state combined. Maybe the entire state of Alaska.

 

Kiffer crushed his sixth dinger with a solo shot in the third inning to give Ketchikan a 3-1 lead. He finished 2-for-3 with a home run, double and two RBIs. He also drew a 10-pitch walk with two outs in the sixth inning.

 

Barajas was 1-for-4 with a run. Barajas finished the season with six home runs and 39 RBIs.

 

Ketchikan pitcher Cody Kemble started the title game and struck out five batters over four innings. Three of the runs he surrendered were unearned. Kemble also doubled at the plate.

 

Hayden McGarrigan finished the game and kept Wasilla off the scoreboard over the final two frames.

 

Ketchikan was making its first appearance in the state championship game since 2012. For the Warriors, it was their first since all the way back in 2001. It was so long ago it was almost forgettable.

 

But nobody will ever forget the 2019 state champion Wasilla Warriors.

 

ASAA State Baseball Tournament

Most Championships

6 Juneau – 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2018

5 Sitka – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014, 2017

3 South – 2011, 2013, 2016

1 Wasilla – 2019

1 Chugiak – 2015

1 Dimond – 2009

1 Kodiak – 2004

1 Service – 2001

1 East – 2000

*ASAA tournament began in 2000

**In 2007 the field expanded from 4 to 8 teams