LEGION ROUND-UP: Annual wood bat tourney upcoming; update on ‘AA’ playoff chase

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 14:42
  • Eagle River’s Aaron Davis field a ground ball during Eagle River’s 7-6 loss to South on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Eagle River went 0-4 in the tourney. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River’s Aaron Davis field a ground ball during Eagle River’s 7-6 loss to South on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Eagle River went 0-4 in the tourney. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • South defeated Eagle River 7-6 on Sunday, July 9, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River catcher Christian Fredrick tags out a South baserunner during Eagle River’s 7-6 loss to South in the BP Invitational on Sunday, July 9, 2017 at Bartlett. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Brian Wing dives safely into second base during the Mustangs’ 8-3 loss to Service on Sunday, July 9, 2017 at Bartlett on the final day of the BP Invitational tournament. Chugiak finished 1-3. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak pitcher Christian Cambridge delivers to the plate during the Mustangs’ 8-3 loss to Service in the BP Invitational tournament on Sunday, July 9, 2017 at Bartlett High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak baserunner Trystan Costanios beats out a throw to first base during the Mustangs’ 8-3 loss to Service in the BP Invitational tournament on Sunday, July 9, 2017 at Bartlett High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

(Updated Thursday, July 13)

Chugiak and Eagle River’s “A” teams will be among five squads participating in this year’s annual Chugiak Wood Bat Tournament July 13-16.

“It’s down a little bit but still fun,” said Chugiak Post 33 manager Mark Bohrer.

Now in its ninth year, the tournament has had as many as 10 teams. But Bohrer said lower participation numbers overall and more teams statewide have helped thin out the ranks at the “A” level of play, which is roughly the equivalent of junior varsity in the high school-age summer baseball league.

“It’s pulled more kids into the varsity programs,” he said.

This year’s lineup includes Chugiak, Eagle River, Dimond, South and Fairbanks. All games are at either Oberg or Loretta French Field, with the exception of Thursday’s South vs. Dimond contest.

The tournament was created for two reasons, Bohrer said: first, to give younger kids their own tournament, and second, to allow them a taste of a different style of play.

“It’s kind of something different,” he said of the tournament, which uses either wood or composite bats that act like wood.

Youth, American Legion and college players typically use aluminum bats, while professionals and some collegiate summer leagues (like the Alaska Baseball League) use wood.

Bohrer said the game is played a bit differently than with metal bats.

“The wood bat kind of changes the dynamics of the ball,” he said.

Because of mandated pitch counts, Bohrer said managing pitching staffs will be crucial to surviving the weekend.

“Whoever’s got any pitching left on the final day is going to be in good shape,” he said.

The tournament also gives the “AA” level players of tomorrow a chance to have their own spotlight — which is the big reason former post manager Bill Lierman started the event nearly a decade ago.

He thought the JV deserved to have a tournament of their own,” Bohrer said.

The tourney kicks off with a showdown between Chugiak and Eagle River on Thursday, July 13 at Oberg Field. It concludes with a championship game Sunday at 1 p.m., also at Oberg.

Chugiak goes 1-3, Eagle River 0-4 at BP tournament

Both local American Legion teams had a tough go of things against a deep field at the BP Invitational July 6-9.

Chugiak went 1-3 and Eagle River finished 0-4 in the tournament, which included teams from Alaska and the Lower 48.

Chugiak fell 11-1 to Dimond on Thursday, then walloped South 15-4 on Saturday before falling 11-1 to Napoleon, Ohio, Saturday evening. The Mustangs concluded the tournament with an 8-3 loss to Service on Sunday.

Sam Hall went 2-for-3 with three RBI in Chugiak’s win over South. Ian Frizelle and Braden Shackelford also had two hits each for the Mustangs. Frizelle struck out four Wolverines in 4 1/3 innings to earn the win.

Eagle River dropped a 12-3 decision to Walla Walla, Washington on Friday, then lost 8-1 to Service and 10-4 to East on a drizzly Saturday at Mulcahy. On Sunday, the Wolves saw a late lead evaporate in a 7-6 loss to South at Bartlett.

Walla Walla defeated Dimond 9-4 in Sunday’s championship game at Mulcahy.

Teams return to league play this week, with both Chugiak and Eagle River in the hunt for playoff berths. Through Wednesday, July 12, Chugiak was in third place in the Alaska Legion’s National Division with an 8-7 record, while Eagle River was in fourth in the division at 7-5. The top three teams in each of the league’s two divisions advance to the postseason tournament, as do the next two teams with the best records. The postseason tournament will be held July 25-29 at Mulcahy Stadium.

Eagle River knocks off East

Eagle River got two hits each from Aaron Davis, Kamren Williams and Sterling Retzlaff to take a 7-6 American Legion win over East on Wednesday, July 12 at the Loretta French Sports Complex in Chugiak. Christian Frederick allowed no runs on two hits in four innings of relief to earn the win.

Chugiak downs Kenai

Chugiak defeated Kenai Post 20 12-9 on Wednesday in Kenai. Reliever Brian Wing struck out eight batters in five innings of relief for the Mustangs, who play Friday at Wasilla. To read a full recap, visit the Peninsula Clarion.

Upcoming AA schedule:

Thursday, July 13

Eagle River vs. Dimond, 6 p.m., Mulcahy Stadium

Friday, July 14

Chugiak at Wasilla, 6:30 p.m., Wasilla

Eagle River vs. Bartlett, 6:30 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Sunday, July 16

Eagle River at Palmer, Noon, Palmer

Monday, July 17

East at Chugiak, 6:30 p.m., Oberg Field

Tuesday, July 18

Eagle River at Chugiak, 6:30 p.m., Oberg Field

Wednesday, July 19

Eagle River vs. East, 6:30 p.m., Kosinski Fields

Thursday, July 20

Fairbanks at Chugiak, 6:30 p.m., Oberg Field

Chugiak Wood Bat (A) schedule:

Thursday, July 13

Eagle River vs. Chugiak, 6:30 p.m., Oberg

South vs. Dimond, 6:309 p.m., Bartlett

Friday, July 14

Fairbanks vs. South, 4 p.m., Oberg

Fairbanks vs. Chugiak, 7 p.m., Oberg

Dimond vs. Eagle River, 6:30 p.m., Loretta French

Saturday, July 15

South vs. Chugiak, noon, Oberg Field

Fairbanks vs. Eagle River, 1 p.m., Loretta French

Dimond vs. Chugiak, 3 p.m., Oberg

South vs. Eagle River, 4 p.m., Loretta French

Fairbanks vs. Dimond, 6 p.m. Oberg

Sunday, July 16

Championship game, 1 p.m., Oberg

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