Six teams combined for 46 runs Thursday in the opening round of the American Legion state baseball tournament at Mulcahy Stadium, where Fairbanks Post 11, Bartlett Post 29 and Chugiak Post 33 all earned wins in the week-long, double-elimination event.
Fairbanks rolled by defending champion Kenai Post 20 with a 6-4 win, Bartlett benefitted from a late rally for an 11-9 win over Eagle River Post 8 and Chugiak pummelled Dimond Post 21 in a 14-2 affair that was shortened to seven innings due to mercy rule.
Fairbanks starter Taylor Kelsey pitched a complete nine-innings in the win over Kenai, despite falling behind early. Kelsey, who struck out four and walked seven, surrendered a run in the first, but the 49ers came back to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the second and extend it to 4-1 in the top of the seventh.
Terrell Ford blasted a two-run home run for Fairbanks, which outhit Kenai 10-6 and committed one error to Kenai's three.
Aliober Rivera led Kenai with two RBIs and a run, and starter Brandon Mahle took a loss after striking out eight and surrendering eight hits over seven innings.
Bartlett trailed Eagle River by as many as four runs, but rallied for six in the top of the seventh inning to advance to a showdown with top-seeded Wasilla Post 35 on Friday.
Bartlett's Dawayne Wilson drew two walks and stole two bases in the seventh, as the Golden Bears batted around. Jimmy Gephart scored the go-ahead run and Deray Alex tacked on the game's final run. Sean Breslin led the Golden Bears with three hits to go with a pair of RBIs.
Breslin also pitched three scoreless innings to close the game. Starter Andrew Dickey surrendered all nine Eagle River runs, but earned a win with five strikeouts in six innings of work.
Cameron Fabacher scored three runs on two hits for Eagle River, but was also saddled with a loss. He pitched a scoreless sixth inning, but had the misfortune of still being on the mound when Bartlett caught fire in the seventh. Kyle Frost drove in three runs for the Wolves and scored one run on two hits.
Six Chugiak players scored two runs in the Mustangs' pummelling of Dimond. Chase Gall drove in four runs on two hits for the Mustangs, who led 6-0 through two innings and put the game away with a two more runs in the fourth and six in the sixth.
Chase Wilson was the winning pitcher, striking out eight and walking seven over six innings.
American Legion team of excellence
Voted on by Post managers and coaches
Infielders -- Mike Rosenberg, Eagle River; Tal Norvell, Juneau; Bryan Baker, South; Conner Cimmiyotti, Chugiak; Ben Ross, Wasilla; Kellen Johansen, Juneau; Deven Ferriss, Chugiak; Hector Rivera, Kenai. Outfielders -- Matt Ilalio, South; Ricky Ayala, Eagle River; Deray Alex, Bartlett; Ryan Caron, Service; Tod Baseden, Juneau; Jacob Hilowitz, West. Utility -- Brad Butcher, South; David Fuller, Eagle River; Zach Schmidt, Bartlett; Zach Ferntheil, Service. Catchers -- Alec Valdez, South; Chase Wilson; R.J. Dirscherl, Eagle River. Starting pitchers -- Josh Crapps, South; Tanner Petrie, Juneau; Chase Wilson, Chugiak; Jonathan Boyer, Wasilla; David Fuller, Eagle River; Brandon Mahle, Kenai. Relief pitchers -- Tyler Boensch, Wasilla; Grant Remmer, Dimond. Coaches of the year -- Andy Macaulay, Juneau; Devin Morgan, Bartlett; Bill Lierman, Chugiak.
Anchorage Daily News