Eagle River wins against Dimond and South
The Eagle River baseball team won two of three games in the top tier round-robin tournaments, including a 4-1 victory over Dimond Friday, and 10-7 win over South last Saturday, to force a one-game play with West, which was held May 27.
The Wolves and West Eagles both sport a 7-3 record and split in their two league meetings. The winner of the playoff will extend their season as the Cook Inlet Conference’s second seed behind South for upcoming state tournament play in Sitka.
The three-game set didn’t begin well for the Wolves, who suffered an 11-0 shutout to West High and right-handed ace Dalton Chapman. Chapman struck out 19 Eagle River batters, allowing only one hit – a single by R.J. Dirscherl in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With their backs against the wall, Wolves coach Greg Frost said the team did the things that had served them well all season – timely hits and a solid defensive effort.
Following a scoreless top of the first inning, Eagle River stepped to the plate with leadoff hitter Dirscherl drawing a walk, stealing second, then scoring on Cameron Fabacher single to centerfield. A passed ball, then a balk, resulted in Fabacher’s run with the Wolves taking a 2-0 lead.
Following a Dimond run in the second, Eagle River answered with pitcher Trent Talley helping his own cause, stroking a two-out double, then scoring on a single for Nate Ragina.
The Wolves scored an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth for a 4-1 victory.
Talley earned the win on the mound for Eagle River, with Italian foreign exchange student Guido Gerali earning the save.
The Wolves’ hits were supplied by Talley, Dirscherl, Fabacher, Ragina, Michael Rosenberg and Collin Metzel.
On Saturday, Eagle River took on top-ranked South and had to rely on three runs in the second, two in the third, to overturn a 4-0 first-inning deficit.
Sophomore Nathan Ragina had a three-run homer in the second, following singles by Metzel and Pete Kott, to start the surge of good fortune for the Wolves.
Lauren Frost started off the third with walk, then scored on the first of back-to-back doubles by Fabacher and Rosenberg.
South tied things up, 5-5, in the top of the fourth only to have the Wolves respond in kind with an unearned run, as Dirscherl got on with an error, was advanced to second on a sac bunt by Frost, then scored on Rosenberg’s single.
Eagle River scored two runs in the sixth, with Dirscherl scoring on a sacrifice fly by Fabacher, with Frost coming across on a line-drive single to center by Metzel, who went 3-for-4 for the night.
South scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth, chasing Eagle River starter Pete Kott from the mound, with reliever Guido Gerali shutting down the Wolverines.
Kott switched into the catcher’s gear to finish the game, then scored the deciding run, when after being walk, advanced to third on a Ragina double. South intentionally walked Dirscherl to load the bases for Frost, who with one out, dropped another bunt, her third of the game, down the first base line, scoring Kott on the sacrifice. Ragina scored on Fabacker’s single, with Dirscherl walked across following two consecutive free passes offered by Wolverine pitchers.
The Wolves had one of their better hitting performances of the season, with 13 hits, include 3-for-4 outings by Cameron Fabacher and Metzel. Ragina and Rosenberg were 2-for-4, with lone hits from Dirschirl, Frost and Kott.
Ragina, with home run and double, had four RBIs, while Fabacher, with two doubles, had three.
Guido shut out South in the bottom of the frame with a strikeout, a putout and then an infield groundout to seal the victory and set up the one-game playoff with West.
Coach Frost said it is 100 percent possible that the Wolves will see the West ace Chapman on the mound again.
“But we beat him twice last season,” the coach affirmed.
Frost said he is very confident in his team’s abilities.
“We are continuing to execute the way we are capable of, and we have been working on the small stuff all along,” he said.