Crunch time has arrived for some Anchorage high school soccer teams. With the Cook Inlet Conference regular season coming to an end Saturday and no CIC tournament this season, the top three boys and girls teams in the regular-season standings earn berths to next week's state tournament.
CIC coaches voted to do away with a conference tournament at the end of last season and Anchorage School District principals approved the vote, adding importance to each regular-season match.
There are a few critical matches remaining, starting with Thursday's match between the Dimond and Service boys. Both teams own 9-3-0 records and are tied for third place. The winner of Thursday's match at Service will be in solo third with one match to play. Service hosts East and Dimond hosts West on Saturday. West is currently in first place at 10-1-1 and South is in second at 10-2-1.
On the girls side, undefeated Dimond has clinched first place with its 12-0-0 record, but still may factor in deciding the top three teams. Service (7-3-2) and South (7-4-2) are battling for second and Chugiak (6-3-4) still has a shot at sneaking into third place.
The Mustangs need a win against Eagle River (6-7-0) in Saturday's season finale coupled with two losses from Service. The Cougars host Dimond on Thursday and East (2-8-2) on Saturday. Two-time defending state champion South needs a win over Bartlett (0-13-0) on Saturday to assure no worse than third place.
East 15, Bartlett 0
East softball trounced Bartlett 15-0 Wednesday in a Cook Inlet Conference softball game at Albrecht Fields, where the Thunderbirds also bagged a win by forfeit over West.
East's Sydney Smith pitched a complete game against Bartlett, allowing one hit in a game shortened to three innings by mercy rule. Taria Page belted two hits to go with two runs and two RBIs for the Thunderbirds and Hannah Peterson added a triple.
East made it through one inning with West and led 7-1 in the top of the second when West pitcher Nikki Olsen pulled a muscle in her forearm. The Eagles, who were hit with some other injuries last weekend, were left with just eight players and opted to forfeit to East and forfeit a scheduled late game with Chugiak.
Chugiak 16, Bartlett 6
Chugiak's Rachel Gregg blasted two home runs Wednesday to power Chugiak's 16-6 win over Bartlett in a CIC softball game at Albrecht Fields.
Gregg finished with five RBIs to go with three from Elle Gray, who cracked two triples in a 4-for-4 effort. Sammi McMullen also notched a triple for the Mustangs and drove in a run.
Gray and Katy Bakker shared pitching duties for the Mustangs and scattered six hits over five innings in a game shortened due to mercy rule.
East 12, Dimond 2
East's Matthew Schnellbaecher did damage at the plate and on the mound Wednesday at Mulcahy Stadium, sparking a 12-2 win over Dimond in a Cook Inlet Conference baseball game.
Schnellbaecher drove in three runs on two hits and struck out three in two innings pitched. Yeararmy Aristy-Valdez was the winning pitcher, giving up two earned runs in three innings. Aristy-Valdez and Scott Campos each drove in two runs.
Dimond recorded four hits, getting one apiece from Preston Micheletto, Grant Remmer, Sheldon Rouzan and Joe Fitka.
West 8, Bartlett 6
West put up five runs in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 8-6 win over Bartlett in a CIC baseball game at Mulcahy Stadium.
Jacob Hilowitz went 3 for 4 for the Eagles and drove in two runs. He also picked up a win in relief after taking the mound in the third inning and closing out the seven-inning game. L.J. Flex added a triple during West’s five-run fifth.
Bartlett leadoff hitter Zach Schmidt recorded two hits and two RBIs, and Ryan Dudley notched a pair of hits and a run. Logan Williams took the loss, striking out eight and allowing eight hits in seven innings.
Settlers Bay hosts Open qualifier
Anchorage golf professional Billy Bomar will pursue his third straight victory in a U.S. Open local qualifier Thursday at Settlers Bay golf course in Wasilla.
Bomar is one of 12 golfers who will play 18 holes for a chance to advance to a sectional qualifier and ultimately chase the opportunity to represent Alaska in the next month's U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Bomar shot a 2-over 72 to win last year's event at Settlers Bay. The course will play as a par-70 again this year, at a total distance of approximately 6,500 yards.
Thursday tee times
1 p.m. -- Joshua Osvold, North Pole; Tyler Pohler, Anchorage; Chris Mossholder, Eagle River.
1:09 p.m. -- Joe Butler, Wasilla; William Engberg, Morton, Ill.; Tom Geller, Portland, Ore.
1:18 p.m. -- Derek Bayley, Rathdrum, Idaho; Travis Jorgenson, Tucson, Ariz.; Kaleb Nichols, Memphis, Tenn.
1:27 p.m. -- Paul Blanche, Anchorage; Marcus Dolejsi, Palmer; Billy Bomar, Anchorage.