Dimond Post 21 concluded pool play Saturday at the 19th annual BP Exploration Invitational Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium as the only undefeated American Legion team in pool A and the only Alaska team to defeat a team from Outside.
Dimond knocked off Castroville Post 460 of Texas 6-3 in the day's first game. Service Post 28 slipped past West Post 1 with an 8-7 win in another morning game, and Columbia Post 19 of Tennessee earned a 7-5 win over Wasilla Post 35.
In later games, South Post 4 triumphed 4-2 over Wasilla, and Tennessee remained undefeated with its second win of the day, 13-2 over Chugiak Post 33.
Sean Bradley's complete-game seven hitter was the key to Dimond's win. Though Bradley's only strikeout came against the game's last hitter in the bottom of the seventh, he managed to induce 12 fly-ball outs.
"Going into tomorrow with a possible doubleheader, we needed to see if we could get some innings, so if we would have gotten four or five out of Sean we would have been ecstatic," Dimond coach Brad Lauwers said in a press release. "The way it turned out, he was the ideal pitcher to kind of frustrate them a little bit, getting them to hit the ball in the air; and our outfield played well."
The win clinched the top spot in pool A for the Lynx, putting them in Sunday's first semifinal game against South. Texas clinched the second seed from pool A and a spot in the second semifinal against Tennessee.
Jordan Clevenger set the tone for the Dimond offense early, smacking a two-run double in the first inning to put the Lynx up 2-0. Texas trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning, but a four-run outburst from Dimond in the top of the fifth helped put the game away.
Service's win required some final-inning heroics, as Ryan Caron provided a two-out, walk-off single that plated Ryan Bailey from third base. Bailey started the seventh inning with a single, then advanced to second and third on ground outs by Michael Choy and Trace Woodruff.
Service's Matt Yandell pitched a scoreless top of the seventh to earn a win in a game West led most of the way. West led 7-5 after scoring a run in the top of the sixth, but Service's Zach Ferntheil tied it at 7-7 with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth.
Tennessee trailed 4-2 to Wasilla when it put together a five-run rally in the sixth inning to forge a come-back win. Blake Phillips drove in two of the five runs, with Garrett Ring, Heath Slatton and Clay Hughes each driving in one.
Tennessee didn't waste any time getting hot in its late win over Chugiak, putting up nine runs in the second and four more in the fourth. Eight different players scored for Tennessee. Garrett Ring pitched all five innings for a win, surrendering a two-run single to Chugiak's Deven Ferriss in the first inning.
All the runs in South's win over Wasilla arrived in late innings, the Wolverines breaking a scoreless tie with a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. Matt Ilalio drew a bases-loaded walk for the game's first run and Bryan Baker broke things open later in the inning with a three-run triple.
Josh Crapps pitched a complete game for a win, striking out nine in seven innings. Wasilla, which posted a couple of runs in the top of the sixth, only managed three hits against Crapps.
Wasilla starter Damon Hammer also allowed three hits in going the distance for the Warriors.
East splits DH on road against Fairbanks
In other American Legion baseball action Saturday, East Post 34 split a doubleheader with Fairbanks Post 11-30-57, losing the first game 9-1 and winning the second 10-0.
East's Scott Campos pitched a complete five innings in the second game, striking out five in a game shortened by mercy rule. East's Daelin Livingston went a combined 4 for 5 over the two games, with Matt and Luke Schnellbaecher each adding three hits on the day.