High School Sports

After a slice of humble pie and a bounce-back win, Chugiak softball is ready for state

The Chugiak softball team spoiled South’s season in mid-May, handing the Wolverines a 5-3 loss — their first this year. Two days later, the reigning Division I state champions returned the favor by spoiling the Mustangs’ senior night in the first game of the Wednesday doubleheader.

South avenged the defeat with a lopsided 10-1 victory and kicked off Chugiak’s senior night on a sour note. Mustangs head coach Jim Huber admitted that his team wasn’t as locked in or as motivated as they should’ve been to prove that their previous triumph wasn’t a fluke.

“You can always read your team, and we could tell even before the game started that the energy level wasn’t there and South brought it right to us,” Huber said.

He said from the first pitch, the Wolverines were determined to get some payback and avenge their only loss of the regular season.

“They’re a great ball club, they hit the ball hard and they did it the whole game,” Huber said. “Frankly, it put us back on our heels a little bit.”

He was congratulatory toward South despite the tough loss and hopes that the two teams will meet again “down the line.”

Chugiak rebounded with a lopsided win of its own over Eagle River in the second half of the doubleheader, but the game didn’t start that way. After getting out to an early 4-1 lead after two innings, the Mustangs allowed their rivals to pull with in one run heading into the final inning before pulling away in the top of the fifth for an 11-3 win.

“It took us a while to get going,” Huber said. “They finally woke up. It took them the last inning but I’m proud of them. They did a good job of bouncing back after getting thumped in the first game. I told the girls, ‘This is it. You can pull the bats out of your bags right now and do something because they may come back and win this game if you don’t wake up.’ ”

The Mustangs take on West Valley on Thursday in the Alaska State Softball Tournament at South Davis Park in Fairbanks.

Huber says Chugiak has a trio of players that are not only Gatorade Player of the Year candidates, but stellar students as well. Junior Sophia Fuller and seniors Morgan Traxinger and Mallory Collins are all big hitters for Mustangs, and all three recorded RBIs in the win over Eagle River.

“Each one of them had some good moments, and hopefully that can transition into the (postseason),” Huber said. “Hopefully when we make it to state, they can make some noise there too.”

He is “really confident” in his team’s ability to to perform in the postseason despite having suffered what he called a “thumping” at the hands of the reigning state champions.

“I told them every good team has a bad game,” Huber said. “This is one you let roll off your shoulders and just move forward.”

State Softball Tournament

At South Davis Park in Fairbanks

Division I

Thursday (pool play)

Pool A at Field 3

South vs. West Valley, noon

West Valley vs. Chugiak, 2:30 p.m.

Chugiak vs. South, 5 p.m.

Pool B at Field 4

Colony vs. Dimond, noon

Dimond vs. Bettye Davis East, 2:30 p.m.

Bettye Davis East vs. Colony, 5 p.m.

Division II

Pool A at Field 1

Ketchikan vs. Kodiak, noon

Kodiak vs. Delta, 2:30 p.m.

Delta vs. Ketchikan, 5 p.m.

Pool B at Field 2

Homer vs. North Pole, noon

North Pole vs. Thunder Mountain, 2:30 p.m.

Thunder Mountain vs. Homer, 5 p.m.

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.