The more the merrier for American Legion baseball in Alaska, where the number of varsity AA teams will increase next summer.
Palmer, Fairbanks, Kodiak and Ketchikan are being considered for new teams, which means Fairbanks could have two teams for the first time since the 1990s. Palmer, Kodiak and Ketchikan have all fielded teams in the past, but not for many years. Kodiak just completed installation of FieldTurf this summer and is already hosting some junior varsity A games.
Juneau Post 25 rejoined American Legion baseball this summer for the first time in more than a dozen years, raising the number of competing teams to 12.
More than 100,000 youths annually play American Legion baseball in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Most Alaskan teams play roughly 25 to 35 games in June and July each summer.
Dimond 12, E. River 1
A six-run fifth inning helped Dimond Post 21 cement a 12-1 American Legion baseball victory over Eagle River Post 8 on Tuesday at Loretta French Field.
Jordan Clevenger pitched all five innings for Dimond, allowing one hit and striking out four. Mahlon Cleveland singled, doubled and tripled for the Lynx, Lucas Thorp drove in two runs on two hits and Payton Lauwers scored twice and drove in two runs.
A Mike Rosenberg triple drove in Ricky Ayala for Eagle River's only run.
E. River wins pair
Eagle River Post 8 swept Service Post 28 in an American Legion baseball doubleheader Monday at Loretta French Field. The Wolves won 3-2 in the first game and 12-11 in the second.
Eagle River starter David Fuller scattered five hits in a complete nine-inning effort to pick up a win the first game, in which Colby LeBlanc drove in the winning run in the seventh inning. Mike Rosenberg went 2 for 4 with an RBI and R.J. Dirscherl doubled and scored.
The second win involved a dramatic comeback, the Wolves scoring seven runs in the seventh and final inning to overcome an 11-5 deficit. Rosenberg drove in Dirscherl for the winning run. Fuller notched three of the Wolves' 16 hits, belting two doubles and driving in three runs. Christian Fabacher drove in three runs on two hits and Kyle Frost drove in two runs on two hits.
Brandon Sakamoto paced Service with three hits and three runs, with Ryan Bailey, Lucas Lapointe and Mike Shuler each collecting two hits.
The Wolves also swept a doubleheader with Kenai last weekend, earning a 6-5 league victory in the first game and a 19-10 non-league win in the second game.
Johnson takes lead
North Pole's Jeff Johnson took over the lead of the Valdez Halibut Derby last weekend after reeling in a 208.6-pound halibut.
The big catch was more than 50 pounds heavier than previous leader Laurie Deakin of Litchfield Park, Ariz. Her 158-pounder held the top spot since late May. Anchorage's Robert Lamberty took over the third spot with a catch of 140.6 pounds last weekend.
First prize is worth $15,000 and the derby closes the first of September.
Sanders wins a fourth
Anchorage's Greg Sanders won his fourth state match play golf championship last weekend, put on by the Alaska Golf Association at Eagleglen golf course, where Terri McAngus won her first women's state match play title.
Sanders and McAngus, who will both defend titles in next month's state amateur stroke play competition in Fairbanks, each turned in convincing victories in their final matches. Sanders defeated Marcus Dolejsi 6 and 5, and McAngus knocked off Jamie Berge 4 and 2.
Alaskans win gold
Three Anchorage Jundokan Karate athletes accounted for six gold medals last weekend at the Traditional Karate Championships in Oxnard, Calif., where nearly 300 competed.
Mary Belluomini claimed three golds, Michael Young earned two gold medals to go with two silvers, and Giuliano Belluomini won a gold and a bronze.
Tandem takes Quest
Tim Lynch and Dave Lewis of Yukon and Nova Scotia, respectively, became the first tandem canoe team since 2004 to win the overall title in the Yukon River Quest last weekend, finishing the 438-mile wilderness adventure paddling race on the Yukon River in 45 hours, two minutes.
Ontario's Jeff Brainard won the solo open division of the race from Whitehorse to Dawson City of Canada's Yukon Territory, finishing in 49:36:34.