Wilson has 16 Ks, Gilbert racks up 13 on Day 1 of State

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 24, 2020

Sensational southpaw Leland Wilson of West pitched a 2-hit shutout and racked up 16 strikeouts as the Eagles prevailed 3-0 over defending champion Juneau on Day 1 of the Alliance State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Wilson was lights out from the jump as he worked fast, mixed speeds and moved location. He had five strikeouts looking and fanned four in the seventh inning.

 

As good as his pitching was, Wilson’s most memorable moment actually came on defense when he used his glove to slap the ball to first baseman Ivan Tillman to get the runner by a half step.

 

The play developed with a slow roller up the line and rather than field the ball – or wait to see if it would roll foul – Wilson reached out and slapped the ball to Tillman.

 

On another play, he covered first base on a ground ball to the first baseman and when Tillman tossed the ball underhand to Wilson, he caught the ball with his bare hand rather than his glove.

 

Wilson’s glove was optional. Same could be said for the guys behind him who watched the Texas Tech University signee mow down the Midnight Suns in impressive fashion.

 

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Wilson’s 16 strikeouts are the most for a West pitcher since Dalton Chapman recorded a Cook Inlet Conference record 20 strikeouts in 2014. The state tournament record is 21 Ks held by Kenai’s Marshall Boze set in 1988.

 

Chapman and Boze went nine innings; Wilson went seven.

 

Wilson struck out six of the first nine batters and seven of the final 11.

 

The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder issued four walks and hit one batter. But nobody reached as far as third base.

 

Third baseman Quinn Bates-Janigo drove in two of the three runs, first with an RBI groundout in the fourth inning and then a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning.

 

Jack Opinsky had the other RBI after he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

 

Tillman missed a home run by only a few feet as he crushed one off the left-field wall.

 

Despite managing only two hits and not making much contact off Wilson, Juneau brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning.

 

Juneau starter Garrett Bryant struck out seven over four strong innings, allowing just one hit and one run.

 

This was only the fourth loss for Juneau in 19 games at the state tournament since 2017.

 

South 7, Chugiak 6

Josh Costello and Reid Brock pitched 3.2 innings of shutout relief to shut the door and help the Wolverines survive on Day 1 of the Alliance State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

South led 7-1 after two innings and hung on for dear life after Chugiak charged back to make the final few innings nail-biting time.

 

Dylan Maltby reached base all four times on a triple, double and two walks. He also had an RBI and run for the Wolverines.

 

Teammate Grant Heikkila drove in two runs while Gage Webster, Josh McGovern and Brandt Hultberg each had one RBI.

 

Costello worked two innings before giving way to Brock, who got the final five outs to record the save.

 

Chugiak’s Zach Cole had two RBIs and Hunter Rau doubled and scored a run.

 

Justin Nevells struck out five batters in three innings of shutout relief.

 

Eagle River 5, Kenai 1

Josh Thompson went 3-for-3, scored the winning run and picked up the win in relief as the Wolves won this first-round matchup at the Alliance State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

This was Eagle River's first postseason win over Kenai since 2012.

 

With two outs in the fifth inning, Thompson got a rally started with a base hit. With the hit-and-run on, Ryan Gray singled to move Thompson to third.

 

Braden Olmstead smashed one to third base, where the infielder did well to get in front of the ball but a slight bobble allowed Olmstead to reach base and Thompson to score the tie-breaking run.

 

Orazio Ramos added a two-run single to top off the three-run breakout.

 

In the sixth inning, Eagle River tacked on another insurance run when Cam Witte walked and eventually came around to score after he stole third and the throw deflected away, allowing him to cruise home to make it 5-1.

 

Kenai had a tough day. Not only did Mose Hayes pitch well enough to win, but the Twins stranded the bases loaded in the first inning and had a runner thrown out at home in the fifth inning on an Olmstead to Connor Johnson to Witte relay.

 

Hayes went the distance, scattering seven hits and allowing only one earned run. He struck out four.

 

Wasilla 2, Dimond 0

The only thing that could stop Wasilla's Jacob Gilbert was the pitch count.

 

The right-hander struck out 13 batters in 6.2 innings to lead the No. 5 Road Warriors to a 2-0 win over No. 1 Dimond in the first round of the Alliance State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

 

Gilbert had to exit the game with two outs in the seventh inning after he reached the 105-pitch max. He finished with 107 because the rules allow you to finish the at-bat once you reach the limit.

 

Even though he lost out on an official shutout, his performance was shutout-worthy

 

Gilbert was great, especially when he got a strikeout to end a bases-loaded threat in the third inning.

 

He was also good in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings when he recorded two strikeouts each inning.

 

In the fourth inning Gilbert was part of a strike-‘em-out, throw-‘em-out double play after catcher Max Wanser threw out a base runner at second.

 

Gilbert retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced before giving way to reliever Logan Bailey, who ended the game with a strikeout to earn the save.

 

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Gilbert also kickstarted Wasilla’s offense after singling to lead off the first inning. Andre Brown moved him to second with a sac bunt and Nolan Murphy's single drove in Gilbert to make it 1-0 three batters into the game.

 

Brown and Murphy also contributed to the second Wasilla run. Brown doubled and then raced home on Murphy’s single, outrunning the ball on a good throw by Dimond left fielder Jack Dolan and just beating the tag on a close play at the plate.

 

Dimond pitchers Ryan Henrickson and Eric Galosich threw the ball well enough to win on most nights – the Lynx just ran into a buzz saw.

 

Henrickson settled down nicely after a bumpy beginning, striking out seven and allowing just three hits over 4.1 innings. Galosich gave up only two hits and one run in 2.2 innings of work.