Wasilla is first Alaska team to reach NWCART final
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 11, 2019
Slugger Kyle Graham hit a grand slam and pitcher Jacob Gilbert went the distance as Wasilla Post 35 beat Burley (ID) 9-6 on Day 3 to guarantee a spot in the championship game of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Cody, Wyoming.
At 3-0, the Road Warriors are the lone undefeated team in the double-elimination tournament and earned an automatic berth to Tuesday’s final – the first Alaska Legion team to reach the NWCART title game since we started sending teams in 2000.
Wasilla (32-8) will also play Monday against one-loss Layton (UT) at 5 p.m. ADT. Only four teams remain alive for the title hunt.
Graham went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and six RBIs. The center fielder actually drove in his team’s first six runs of the game with a two-run double in the first inning and a grand slam in the second inning.
Graham is batting 6-for-10 on the weekend and owns a tournament cycle with two singles, a double, two triples and a homer. He leads all players with 11 RBIs.
Nobody in the tournament is hotter than Clancey O’Donnell. The Wasilla first baseman went 2-for-3 in this game to make him 8-for-10 at the NWCART.
O’Donnell has also drawn a walk to give him an .818 on-base percentage. That’s tough to do on a video game, yet this dude is doing it in real life.
That early offense was music to the ears of Gilbert, who found his rhythm on the mound to pitch a complete. He scattered eight hits and two walks mixed with seven strikeouts. Two of the runs he surrendered were unearned.
Gilbert was his usually steady self in the batter’s box as he went 2-for-3 with three runs, a walk and RBI. He is batting 6-for-11 in the tournament with a pair of RBIs and six runs.
Wasilla’s Clayton Boyett – the pitching hero in each of the first two teams – went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. He smacked a two-run double in the fifth inning to push his team’s lead to 9-4.
Burley fell to 37-7 on the season and 2-1 in the NWCART and will face Cheyenne (WY) in an elimination game before the Wasilla/Layton game.
Alaska and Wyoming are the only two states in NWCART history never to have had a tournament champion. Washington owns the most NWCART titles with 11, followed by Oregon (8), Montana (5), Idaho (3) and Utah (1). Alberta (CAN) plays in the same region as Montana and three Canadian teams have won the NWCART.
Alaska teams are now 8-18 at this tournament since 2013. That’s twice the number of wins Alaska teams posted at the tournament between 2000 and 2012.