Way to go, Knik Little League

Team defeats Lewiston, Idaho in first round of Western Regional LLWS


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The Knik Majors Little League All-Star team secured a first-round round robin victory, defeating Idaho, 6-4, Saturday in San Bernardino, Calif. The game started at 10 a.m., with a field temperature of 90 degrees.

Knik took advantage of nearly every opportunity given by Idaho, including two runs in the first off two singles and two errors.

Lead-off batter Riley Fugere singled to the left, then advanced to second and third on successive wild pitches, before scoring the game’s first run in the top of the first on Ryan Gray’s infield hit. Ian Frizelle later scored on a Bill Smith single.

Team Alaska starter Braden Shackelford threw three strong innings, said Manager Roger Nevells, chalking up five strikeouts, carrying a 5-0 lead into the fourth, when relieved by Ian Frizelle, with the bases loaded and no outs.

Knik scored two in the top of the third, when back-to-back singles by Christian Cambridge and Ryan Gray, followed by a double steal, set up a two-RBI single by Smith. Frizelle, on earlier with a walk, scored on a fielder’s choice from Olmstead.

Knik threatened to add an insurance run in the fourth, following a leadoff single from Sterling Retzlaf, but was stranded at third base.

The team had one bad inning defensively, giving up a couples walk and committing some errors, in the fourth. Idaho scored four and could have scored at least two more if it hadn’t been for a highlight reel catch by right fielder Braden Olmstead.

In the fourth, Alaska went through three pitchers, with Shackelford, Frizelle and Smith.

Knik made short order of Idaho, setting batters down one-two-three in the fifth, and then added an insurance run of their own in the sixth, with Shackelford leading off with a single up the middle. Alaska loaded up the bases, with two outs, when batter Ryan Gray was hit by pitch, pushing Deven Wesolowski, who had entered as a pinch-runner for Shackelford, across the plate for the 6-4 lead.

Pitcher Billy Smith, who recorded the save on the mound, was helped by another fine play in the outfield with centerfielder Gray gathering in the ball at the warning track for the second out in the bottom of the sixth.

Nevells reported that Sunday’s game against Wyoming was cancelled due to lightning. “Yeah, there was flash flood warnings and everything down here,” said the manager.

With the postponement of Sunday’s game, the schedule has shifted somewhat, said Nevells, with Knik playing Oregon (1:30 p.m.), Wyoming, 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and Montana, 7 p.m., on Aug. 6.

The top four teams advance to bracket play beginning Aug. 7, Nevells said.

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