In a sure sign the team’s support is growing, many fans showed up to this year’s Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks home opener already wearing their team’s red, white and blue gear. One of those fans was little 3-year-old Theodore Manolas IV, who toddled into Loretta French Park wearing a proud grin and a blue Chinooks t-shirt.
Chugiak-Eagle River swept a home-and-home series against Mat-Su to start the 2013 Alaska Baseball League season. After earning a 6-4 win in extra innings at Hermon Brothers Field on Sunday, June 9, the Chinooks defeated the Miners 3-1 the following night at Loretta French Park. Pitching keyed the home opening victory, head coach Jon Groth said. The Chinooks five pitchers allowed just four hits and only one walk.
Two local ballplayers earned top honors following the 2013 high school season. With a .528 batting average and 10 RBI’s in 10 games, Chugiak’s Chase Wilson won the Big Stick award. Eagle River’s David Fuller earned the Gold Glove award with a perfect fielding percentage on 45 attempts and 32 assists in seven games, five at shortstop and two at third base.
A light rain and cool temperatures didn’t dampen the spirits of current and past players, parents and coaches who gathered on the infield at Lions Park on Saturday, June 1 to celebrate Knik Little League’s 50th anniversary.
The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks’ second Alaska Baseball League season is just three days away. The Chinooks play at Mat-Su on Sunday, June 9 at 4 p.m. before hosting the Miners for their home opener the following day at Loretta French Park at 7 p.m. Prior to the start, Mayor Dan Sullivan will throw out the first pitch and a brief welcoming ceremony will be held.
Chugiak’s state softball tournament ended the same way as the conference tournament — a two-run loss to West High. The last three games between the Mustangs and Eagles have been two-run contests, with West coming out ahead twice. “Every game we’ve had with West has been a nail biter,” Chugiak head coach Jim Huber said.
Chugiak High is losing more than six decades of coaching experience. Three longtime coaches, Jon Schroeder, Kevin Fullmer and Top Dill, stepped down following the 2012-13 school year.
Chugiak High’s Tyler Rohde won the 200-meter dash and 300 hurdles and took second in the 110 hurdles to lead all local tracksters at the Brian Young Invitational on Friday and Saturday, May 24-25 at Kodiak. The event featured 20 teams from around the state.
Chugiak High (5-5) went 1-2 at the Cook Inlet Conference baseball tournament to finish the high school season in third place. Each game offered plenty of excitement. In the opening round, Chugiak used a 12-run, two-out rally in the top of the seventh inning to beat West (5-5) 20-9 on May 22 at Mulcahy Stadium.
To finish as the best high school softball team in the state, pitching is essential. “It always begins and ends in the circle,” Chugiak head coach Jim Huber said. For the Mustangs, who finished third at state last year, that puts the pressure on Carly Metcalf and Katy Bakker.