No tiebreakers needed: Eagle River, West ride victories into state baseball semifinals

Eagle River and West took tiebreakers out of the equation by picking up wins Monday on the final day of pool play in the Alliance Baseball League state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.

Eagle River knocked out rival Chugiak 11-8 in a wild, error-filled game, and West parlayed several walks into final-inning insurance runs in a 7-4 victory over top-seeded Dimond.

Had either game gone the other way, a tiebreaker would have been needed to determine Tuesday’s semifinalists.

Eagle River goes into the semifinals as the top team from the Alyeska pool with a 3-0 record. South is the No. 2 team with a 2-1 record.

In the Denali pool, Wasilla secured the No. 1 spot by going 3-0. West went 2-1 to secure the No. 2 spot.

Wasilla and South (2-1) will face off at 2 p.m. and Eagle River will play West at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mulcahy. The winners will meet in Wednesday’s championship game.

Eagle River finished undefeated in pool play by surviving a sloppy game with Chugiak. Thirteen of the game’s 19 runs were unearned, including all 10 in the fifth inning when each team scored five runs and each team committed three errors.

The Wolves made the most of seven Chugiak errors -- eight of their 11 runs were unearned. Ryan Gray drove in three runs and Braden Olmstead was 3 for 3 and scored three times for Eagle River.

Olmstead, the No. 7 hitter, helped make the bottom of Eagle River’s batting order dangerous. No. 8 hitter Cam Witte and No. 9 hitter Stefan Retzlaff both scored twice, and along with Olmstead they reached base a total of 10 times.

Four pitchers combined to limit Chugiak to five hits. The Mustangs briefly led 8-6 after scoring five runs in the top of the fifth, an outburst highlighted by Hunter Rau’s one-run single and Austin Bell’s two-run single. But Eagle River matched that output in the bottom of the inning.

In Monday’s late game, West scored three runs in the first inning and two in the fourth. Dimond, scoreless through three innings, came alive to slice West’s lead to 5-4 going into the seventh inning.

The Eagles didn’t get a hit in the final inning but they worked three Dimond pitchers for five walks, two of them with the bases loaded. Garrett Lick, the third Dimond pitcher of the inning, entered with no outs and the bases loaded, gave up one run-scoring walk but struck out the side to limit the damage.

Lick led off the bottom of the seventh with a bloop single, but West reliever Max Fink retired the next three batters. Carter Stolp made a diving catch in center field for the second out, robbing Ryan Henrickson of a base hit.

Stolp made an impact everywhere. He drove in two runs, went 2 for 3 and pitched the first 3.33 innings, allowing one run on two hits. to pick up the victory. He moved to center field in the fourth inning and three innings later made his big defensive play.

Alex Wright and Logan Sweet led Dimond at the plate with two hits apiece. Both of Wright’s hits were doubles.

Alliance Baseball League

Monday’s Results

Eagle River 11, Chugiak 8

West 7, Dimond 4

Tuesday’s Semifinals

2 p.m. -- Wasilla vs. South

5:30 p.m. -- Eagle River vs. West

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