Chugiak Post 33 has already played teams from Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas this year. So don't expect Alaska's American Legion baseball champions to be intimidated at this week's Northwest Regional tournament in Eugene, Ore.
"We know we're good enough to compete with these teams," shortstop Deven Ferriss said. "We're not going in there thinking these teams are way better than us. If we play clean baseball, they are going to have to play well to beat us. They're not just going to walk all over us."
Chugiak earned the right to represent Alaska at the tournament by winning the state championship game 4-3 in 11 innings over South Post 4.
The Mustangs were 4-1 at the state tournament and are 22-18 going into the regional tournament. Ferriss is among the team's leaders, an all-star infielder who's hitting .350 with a state-best 36 stolen bases.
"I don't feel like my role is to be the lead statistic guy because I feel like we have a good enough team that it can come from anywhere," Ferriss said. "My main goal is to not let my team get content with just winning a state championship. I feel like we have a good enough team to go down there and compete with those teams."
The Mustangs face the host Eugene Challengers in a first-round game Thursday at 7 p.m. ADT. Eugene won the Oregon state title and is 35-12.
The tournament concludes with Monday's championship game. The winner advances to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C.
Abbott-O-Rabbit claims 3rd place
Cody Leslie belted a two-run walkoff single Wednesday to lift Abbott-O-Rabbit to an 11-10 victory in the third-place game at the Little League Western Region junior baseball tournament in Vancouver, Wash.
Leslie's seventh-inning heroics beat Washington 11-10 and capped a great tournament for Abbott-O-Rabbit, which left Vancouver with a 4-1 record. Its only loss came in Tuesday's semifinals.
Kevin Lake was strong in relief to earn the victory. With his team trailing 10-4 after four innings, Lake pitched three shutout innings to keep Alaska in the game. Alaska rallied with one run in the fifth and four in the sixth to enter the seventh inning down 10-9.
The Alaskans finished third in a field of 12 teams made up of players ages 13-14. It's the highest regional finish on record for an Abbott-O-Rabbit team. The team of all-stars was 15-1 in district, state and regional play.