The Rewind: Oregon team wins American Legion Midseason Classic, Alaskans thrive at 2023 Special Olympic World Games

Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska’s world of sports.

In summer baseball action, the Alaska American Legion hosted its annual Midseason Classic. In college sports news, several University of Alaska Anchorage nordic ski team members received academic recognition. On the national and international scene, a pair of Alaskans shined at the 2023 Special Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, and a mountain runner earned a bronze medal at the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.

Headlines and highlights

The Alaska American Legion held its annual Midseason Classic tournament, and the Emerald Challengers from Eugene, Oregon, were crowned champions Sunday night after beating two-time defending state champion Eagle River twice in the same weekend.

In their first meeting Friday, it was the lights-out performance by Top Pitcher award-winner Collin Hernandez who pitched his first career no-hitter that paved the way to a 1-0 victory. Rising senior Eli Crist was responsible for the lone score in that game thanks to an RBI single and Sunday, he recorded an RBI double to cement his tournament MVP status in the Challengers’ 4-1 win over the Wolves.

“It feels good, it’s a good win, and we’re on a pretty good streak right now,” Crist said. “It’s awesome being up here. They welcomed us and (gave us) good competition that gets our guys ready and fired up.”

[Oregon pitcher creates memory of a lifetime at the 2023 Alaska Legion Midseason Classic]

This marked the first time to Alaska for him and several of his teammates and coaches, but he doesn’t want it to be his last. He hopes he can return to the Last Frontier for both leisure and baseball again some day.


“I’ll be back,” Crist said. “I love it out here. I’m a big outdoors guy and all the landscape and beauty is amazing.”

On the Alaska Baseball League front, the two Anchorage clubs combined for six wins and just two losses over the past week. The Bucs improved their record to 10-7 after winning five of their six games against the Peninsula Oilers including each of the last four while the Glacier Pilots spilt with the Mat-Su Miners during the week and rolled the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks on Saturday.

UAA Nordic skiers Leon Nikic and Tuva Bygrave earned Academic All-American honors from the College Sports Communicators last week. Nikic was a second-team selection and also earned All-American honors after placing sixth in the slalom at the NCAA National Championships. He won the giant slalom and finished third in the slalom at the NCAA West Regional while maintaining a 3.77 GPA in psychology.

Bygrave was a third-team selection after having a 4.0 GPA in political science and finishing 18th in the five-kilometer freestyle and 35th in the 20-kilometer classic at the NCAA National Championships. She also represented Australia at the 2023 FIS U23 World Championships in Whistler, British Columbia.

“It’s great to see two of our most deserving and accomplished student-athletes recognized for their athletic achievements and for their excellence in the classroom,” said head coach Sparky Anderson in a statement. “Leon and Tuva truly embody what it means to be a Seawolf.”

[UAA men’s basketball is proving that the talent pipeline in Alaska can flow both ways given time]

Alaska stars shining Outside

Eagle River’s Bobby Hill III and Palmer’s Gretchen Winter represented both Alaska and the U.S. exceptionally well at the 2023 Special Olympic Games in Berlin. Hill won four medals in powerlifting, including gold in the bench press and silver in squat, deadlift, and combination. Winter finished fourth in the 1500 meter race and was on the USA’s sixth-place 4x100 relay team.

[With medals and mettle, Special Olympics Alaska athletes shine at 2023 World Games]

Anchorage’s Klaire Rhodes helped Team USA earn a bronze team medal at the at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck-Stubai, Austria. The 24-year-old covered the course in 5 hours, 29 minutes and 49 seconds, which was fourth-fastest among Americans and 21st out of 114 women.

Anchorage’s Adam Hendrix currently leads all Alaskans at the 54th annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada, with nine cashes totaling $143,145 and includes winnings from single events as large as $50,000 and $48,800 per

[Anchorage’s Adam Hendrix went all in on his passion for poker, and parlayed it into a career]

The Juneau Soccer Club recently took five teams to the Seattle’s Starfire Spring Classic soccer tournament and the 2010 Boys team won the U14 Silver division. The 2011 boys team took second and the 2013 boys team took third. The 2009 boys and the 2008/09 girls logged wins in their bracket plays, which were club milestones.

“Competing at Starfire is a huge deal for our players, who have limited opportunities to play against teams Outside of Juneau,” said JSC board president Stacy Diouf in a statement. “These kids work hard all year — we couldn’t be prouder!”

Last week’s results

American Legion


Chugiak 7, Eagle River 6



Eagle River 4, Wasilla 1


Wasilla 9, East 5

West 16, Bartlett 5


Eagle River 10, Dimond 2

Service 9, South 0

South 12, Chugiak 2


Emerald Challengers 20, Kenai Twins 4

Emerald Challengers 17, AK Wild 1

Wasilla 22, Bartlett 1


Emerald Challengers 1, Eagle River 0

Lower Columbia 12, South 4

Chugiak 12, Service 2

West 13, Dimond 2


AK Wild 7, Palmer 5

Service 17, Bartlett 0

Dimond 13, South 3


Eagle River 3, Chugiak 1

Wasilla 5, Kenai 4

Kenai 13, Wasilla 2

West 13, Ketchikan 5

Chugiak 7, Lower Columbia 5

Eagle River 9, West 4



Service 4, West 0

Emerald Challengers 13, Lower Columbia 1

Eagle River 11, Chugiak 1

Emerald Challengers 4, Eagle River

Alaska Baseball League


Glacier Pilots 7, Miners 2


Chinooks 5, Miners 3


Miner 10, Glacier Pilots 5

Oilers 5, Bucs 1


Bucs 2, Oilers 1

Bucs 6, Oilers 5


Bucs 6, Oilers 5

Chinooks 4, Miners 1


Glacier Pilots 11, Chinooks 1

Bucs 9, Oilers 5


Miners 7, Monarchs 4

Love A Nurse 5k

Male Timed Overall

1. Aidan Crow, Bethel, 21:02; 2. Andrew Stavich, Anchorage, 21:31; 3. Owen Lovejoy, Anchorage, 21:37; 4. Jonathan Capua, Anchorage, 23:05; 5. Joel Manalo, Anchorage, 23:39; 6. Lyndon O’Brien, JBER, 23:47; 7. Sam Crow, Bethel, 24:21; 8. Alexander Duran, JBER, 25:05; 9. Angel Cejas, JBER, 25:11; 10. Tucker Nakken, Eagle River, 26:18

Female Timed Overall

1. Jen Novobilski, Anchorage, 24:41; 2. Carrie Stanfield, Anchorage, 26:05; 3. Sharyl Toscano, Anchorage, 26:51; 4. Janet Johnston, Anchorage, 28:23; 5. Avigail Curry, Anchorage, 29:58; 6. Denise Lutton, Anchorage, 30:00; 7. Amy Caverly, Palmer, 30:11; 8. Meg Kurtagh, Anchorage, 32:21; 9. Frances Haering, Anchorage, 32:52; 10. Esther Wee, Anchorage, 33:25

2023 Rainbow Run Results


1. Emma Korosei, Anchorage, 23:46, 2. Rita Purcell, Anchorage, 24:02, 3. Lucy Osztfalk, Anchorage, 24:17, 4. Neve Hagenstein, Anchorage, 24:27, 5. Mia Parish, Anchorage, 24:38, 6. Hannah Payne, Anchorage, 24:50, 7. Morgan Michelsohn, Anchorage, 24:54, 8. Allison Lamb, Anchorage, 25:17, 9. Katharine Curra-Spurger, Anchorage, 25:33, 10. Chrissy Pohl, Anchorage, 25:34


1. Daniel Gregoire, Anchorage, 17:43, 2. Daniel Harren, Anchorage, 17:46, 3. Katahdin Staples, Anchorage, 17:58, 4. Jeremy Fairbanks, Anchorage, 18:27, 5. John Hellen, Anchorage, 19:37, 6. Eli Neaves, Anchorage, 20:33, 7. Jordan Zellhuber, Anchorage, 20:47, 8. Obadiah Dawson, Anchorage, 21:25, 9. Mark Hemberg, Anchorage, 21:33, 10. Scotty Orr, Anchorage, 22:13


1. Rachel Musselwhite, Anchorage, 25:50, 2. Hayden Almond, Wasilla, 36:58, 3. Westly Arnett, Anchorage, 37:26, 4. Kaitlyn Johnston, Anchorage, 42:53, 5. Jessi Saiki, Anchorage, 56:01, 6. Ren Coleman, Wasilla, 59:25, 7. Les Shields, Anchorage, 59:43, 8. Tina Racy, Anchorage, 59:44

2023 CIC Fastpitch All-Conference Selections

First-Team All-Conference

Sela Rodriguez, East; Teal Transberg, Chugiak; Millicent Wurst, South; Alexa Hehl, Service; Karlee Transberg, Chugiak; Susie Balsan, Service; Megan Traxinger, Chugiak; Savanna Johnson, Service; Alexis Keaveny, South; Riley Smith, Eagle River

Second-Team All-Conference

Aaliyah Villafuerte, East; Emily McCutcheon, South; Olivia Chichenoff, West; Valley Wakefield, East; Rachel Whetten, Dimond; Aubree Ogee, Dimond; Makenzie Cope, Eagle River; Saini Faapouli, Dimond; Alexis Moore, South; Malamaisaua Matautia, Bartlett

League MVP

Sophia Fuller Chugiak

Coach of the Year

Jim Huber Chugiak

Fast Forward

American Legion baseball

Todd Ryan and Bill Miller Wood Bat Tournaments

Both out of state teams and several local Legion post clubs will be taking part in more tournaments this week as the Todd Ryan Tournament will run from Monday to Wednesday with games taking place on fields in Anchorage, Palmer, and Wasilla. The Bill Miller Bat Tournament will run from Thursday to Sunday with games taking place in Anchorage and Kenai.

Alaska Baseball League

Bucs v. Glacier Pilots at Mulcahy Stadium, Saturday 6 p.m.

The two Anchorage clubs face off for the third time this season this weekend on the first day of July and three days ahead of Independence Day. Hopefully, they’ll treat those in attendance to some fireworks in the form of explosive at bats as the suddenly surging Bucs look to notch their first win of the season over their Anchorage rival.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.