Chugiak baseball rallies for fourth-place finish at state

Monday, June 4, 2018 - 06:55
  • Chugiak players cheer during the Mustangs’ loss to Colony in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska High School Baseball Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium on Thursday, May 31. (Matt Tunseth/Alaska Star)
  • Chugiak shortstop Christian Cambridge tries to tag Colony’s Kaden Ketchum during the Mustangs’ loss to Colony in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska High School Baseball Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium on Thursday, May 31. (Matt Tunseth/Alaska Star)

Despite seeing its hopes of a state baseball title crushed by Colony on May 31 in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska High School Baseball Tournament, Chugiak rallied for back-to-back victories to close out the season at Mulcahy Stadium June 1-2.

Chugiak knocked off North Pole on Friday to advance to the tournament’s fourth-place game, where they clobbered Palmer 14-4 to claim fourth.

Garrett Nevells gave one earned run on nine hits, striking out seven Moose over seven innings to earn the season-ending win. Brian Wing went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Chugiak, which pounded out 16 hits. Ian Frizelle went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Christian Cambridge, DJ Davis and Braden Shackelford had two hits each.

One day after losing in the game’s final at bat, the Mustangs rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a walk-off of their own Friday against North Pole.

Trailing 4-3, Chugiak used its speed to force three North Pole errors, with Brian Wing and Mason Peace each stealing bases and eventually scoring on Patriot miscues. Peace scored three runs in the game for Chugiak, which got two hits each from Davis and Gus Lewis and a complete-game, 10-strikeout performance from Shackelford.

In the tournament opener, the Mustangs led the entire way, but Colony used a two-run double from Kolten Ketchum in the bottom of the seventh inning off reliever Cambridge to break the Mustangs’ nine-game winning streak and send the team to the consolation bracket.

The Mustangs put four runs on the board in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by starting pitcher Ian Frizelle, an RBI double from Davis, a Colony wild pitch and a steal of home by Sam Hall. The Knights rallied with three runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Cook Inlet Conference champions tacked on a run in the second, two in the third and another in the fifth to take an 8-3 lead.

Frizelle gave up three earned runs in four innings before giving way to reliever Wing, who pitched a scoreless fifth before giving way to Hall. Hall had a rockier go of things, giving up four runs in the bottom of the sixth as the Northern Lights Conference runner-up Knights cut the lead to 8-7.

Cambridge got the first batter he faced in the seventh before leading the bases for Ketchum, whose double to right-field gave the Knightsthe walk-off win.

Cambridge, Peace and Davis had two hits each for Chugiak, while Ketchum went 2-for-4 with 4 RBIs for the Knights.

Legion season underway

The end of the prep season means the beginning of the American Legion season, and so far Eagle River has the upper hand over Chugiak Post 33 after a 5-4 Eagle River win Sunday, June 3 at Loretta French Park. The win moved Eagle River to 1-1 in the league and 2-1 over in legion play. Chugiak dropped to 1-1 after winning its league opener over East.

Upcoming American Legion baseball games:

Friday, June 8

Palmer at Eagle River, Loretta French, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 9

Chugiak at Juneau, Noon, 3 p.m.

Kenai at Eagle River, Loretta French, 3 p.m.

Sunday, June 10

Chugiak at Juneau, 10 a.m., 1 p.m.

Monday, June 11

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

Wednesday, June 13

Chugiak at Kenai, Kenai, Noon, 3 p.m.

Thursday, June 14

Wasilla at Eagle RIver, Loretta French, 6:30 p.m.

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