Legion teams drop state baseball opener
Chugiak survives elimination game, Eagle River out in two
Eagle River American Legion pitcher John Pepin lets fly with a pitch during early inning action against Kenai Friday. After going into the eight-team field as the fourth-seed, the Wolves suffered two consecutive losses and were eliminated from the state tournament held at Mulcahy Stadium.
Apparently past laurels are of no effect when it comes to tournament baseball.
The Chugiak and Eagle River American Legion had gained top billing in the National division based on regular-season results, posting identical records of 13 wins, five losses over the past two month.
But in first-round play of the State tournament, held at Mulcahy Stadium Friday, both squads fell short, with losses to Dimond and Kenai, respectively, ushering both local teams into the loser’s bracket.
Chugiak rebounded to defeat Service, 9-7, Saturday and lives to play the loser of the Kenai-South contest the following Monday, while Eagle River lost to the top regular-season team in the American division Wasilla, 10-3, on Saturday, and were eliminated.
Devin Ferriss, 19, had a break-out game for the Post 33 Mustangs, going 3-for-4 and scoring three runs.
After an early 6-4 lead, Chugiak relinquished the tenuous advantage as Service scored two in the fifth inning, one in the sixth, to move to a 7-6 margin. The Mustangs responded with two in seventh, one in the ninth for the final 9-7 margin.
Sam Hanson, Jared Phearson and Jimmy Lanier both had 2 RBIs for the Mustangs, who are the defending state champions.
Chugiak’s Player of the Game was John Ives in the contest against Dimond, and Deven Ferriss against Service.
Eagle River had no answer for the top-ranked Road Warriors of Wasilla, falling 10-3, Saturday.
The Wolves first baseman Mike Rosenberg was the squad’s only player with more than one hit, going 2-for-4, with Eagle River taking the earliest exit in the tournament. Rosenberg was the team’s Player of the Game, while teammate Nate Ragina was the select player in the opening loss against Kenai.
Wasilla had been one of the three top-ranked teams in the first round, losing to a lower seed, South, 11-6 on Friday, along with Chugiak and Eagle River.