Eagle River pitcher David Fuller went all Houdini on Saturday night -- he escaped tight spot after tight spot in a masterful performance that delivered an upset at the American Legion state baseball tournament.
Fuller pitched a complete-game five-hitter to propel eighth-seeded Eagle River to a 6-0 victory over top-seeded Kenai at Mulcahy Stadium.
Fuller stranded all 13 Kenai batters that reached base -- he gave up five singles, walked six and hit two batters -- and stranded seven of them in scoring position.
Fuller, who struck out six, did not allow a leadoff batter to reach base until the seventh inning in earning Eagle River its second straight win at state after arriving with one state-tournament win in program history. Fuller also scored two runs, as did Chris Parker.
Eagle River also played error-free defense.
Kenai, which beat Eagle River in all four previous meetings this season and scored 33 runs in those games, committed three errors.
Kyle Frost drove in two runs for Eagle River, which plated three runs in the fifth, when it went small ball and twice scored on bunts -- Wesley Bennice and Richard Ayala provided the RBIs -- to boost its lead to 5-0.
Earlier Saturday, locating the strike zone seemed like the impossible dream in a couple of other games.
Exhibit A was South Post 4's 15-10 victory over Service Post 28 in a winner's bracket game that checked in at nearly three and half hours.
The team's pitching staffs combined for 23 walks (12 for Service), four hit batters (two aside) and five wild pitches (three for Service). Each team also made three errors.
The free passes were flowing so, well, freely, that South scored seven second-inning runs on six walks, two hit batters, two wild pitches and two hits. Of course, Service racked five fifth-inning runs on five walks, a South error and three hits.
South's Bryan Baker and Conner Cucullu each were walked four times, and Baker scored three runs and accounted for three of his club's seven steals. South's Andy Schafer went 3 for 4 and stole two bases, and Scott Hodgson went 2 for 5.
Baker was also a relative control freak among the eight combined pitchers used in the game. He threw 3 1/3 innings of relief and walked two. Of course, he hit two batters and uncorked a wild pitch, but he also picked up the victory.
Service's Jacob Ridley went 4 for 5 and Aaron Miller went 2 for 4.
Wasilla pitchers also endured control problems, which Chugiak Post 33 exploited to the tune of a 7-5 victory.
Wasilla Post 35 issued eight walks, hit four batters and threw two wild pitches.
Chugiak scored six runs in the fourth inning on five walks, two hit batters, an error and one hit, that at infield single.
Chugiak's staff, by comparison, was sharp. Starter Chase Wilson went six innings and gave up two earned runs, walking two and striking out one. Conner Cimmiyotti pitched a scoreless inning of no-walk, one-strikeout relief and Cameron Fritz bagged the save with two innings of scoreless no-walk relief in which he struck out three.
The double-elimination tournament continues Sunday at Mulcahy and runs through Friday.
Dimond 5, Bartlett 2
Sagan Osborne did plenty of everything to spur Dimond to a victory that rendered Bartlett the first team eliminated from the tournament.
Osborne surrendered four hits and two runs, one unearned, in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked six. Osborne also drove in two runs, one with a double in Dimond's three-run first inning and the other with a second-inning sacrifice fly.
Dylan Lauwers and Mitchell McCoy each generated two hits for Dimond, and Lauwers scored twice. And Payton Lauwers, roughed up in relief in Friday's opening-round 11-6 loss to Fairbanks, rebounded with two innings of scoreless relief to earn the save. He struck out three.
Anchorage Daily News