Matt Tunseth

After watching his team gallop past a pair of Cook Inlet Conference foes over the weekend, Chugiak softball coach Jim Huber said the Mustangs appear to be coming alive at the right time.

“There’s always room for improvement, but I’m really pleased with the last week, week-and-a-half,” he said after the Mustangs picked up a 14-9 CIC win over Bartlett Saturday at Bartlett.

The win was Chugiak’s third straight conference victory, its fifth victory in the last seven games and pushed its record to .500 for the season.

Strained by a snowy winter and shortened spring, one high school soccer team has reached its breaking point.

A scheduled Cook Inlet Conference match between Eagle River and South Anchorage will go down in the books as a 1-0 forfeit in favor of the Wolverines after Eagle River coach Steve Johnson decided his team needed a break.

Chugiak got a dominant pitching performance when it was most needed Friday night as Garret Nevells and Sam Hall combined to allow just one East hit in a crucial 9-0 Cook Inlet Conference baseball game at Mulcahy Stadium.

The win lifted Chugiak to 3-2 in the seven-game CIC season and put the Mustangs a game clear of West (2-3) for the crucial fourth spot in the league standings with just two games left to play in the season. It also set up a Saturday showdown with second-place Dimond and dropped East to 1-4 in the CIC.

Like a comfy old recliner that just needed a second chance to rock, an Eagle River thrift store has found new life in a new home.

Gone since November 2012, the Salvation Army Family Store officially marched back into town Friday at a festive grand opening that featured a sun-splashed celebration complete with balloons, a food truck dishing free hot dogs and a parking lot full of $1 Levis.

Chugiak’s boys and Eagle River’s girls got the last word Thursday on the pitch.

The Mustangs opened the doubleheader at the Wolves’ Den with a 2-0 Cook Inlet Conference boys soccer victory over the Wolves to split the season series, while the Lady Wolves completed a season sweep of the Mustangs in the evening with a 1-0 CIC triumph .

“I feel like our team has come a long way,” said Eagle River’s Ahston McClaskey, who converted the game-winner off a Nicole Bedwell pass on a play started by Abby Johnson early in the second half of a scoreless girls’ game.

When Larry Ledlow called a neighbor on April 7 to check on the health of a mutual friend, he was shocked to hear the news.

“She said, ‘I’m glad you called, because your house is burning down,’” Ledlow recalled during an interview May 8 at the Star offices in Eagle River.

Although the timing of Ledlow’s call was fortunate, the circumstances were not. As he listened helplessly from half the world away, Ledlow’s neighbor described the loss of the mobile home Ledlow lived in for the past 19 years.

“I lost everything,” he said.

It’s still the spring, but one Chugiak Mustang has already finalized her Homecoming plans.

Megan Hatswell, a 1998 Chugiak High graduate, has been selected to take over as principal at her alma mater this fall.

She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“To be honest, Chugiak is the only school I would have put in at,” Hatswell said in a Tuesday interview.

Having grown up in Eagle River, Hatswell said it’s her goal to have a long-term impact on the community she loves.

Two words of advice for Alaska high school baseball fans: Don’t blink.

The seven-game, 16-day Cook Inlet Conference regular season that began Monday is the shortest in high school sports. With each CIC team playing just one game against each team before the conference tournament, there isn’t a lot of room for error.

It’s probably fitting that a race named FOCUS came down to a photo finish.

Eagle River’s Sara Kennedy won a duel against fellow local Kat Roch to win the women’s division in the inaugural running of the race, outkicking Roch to win by a fraction of a second. Both women’s times were 23 minutes, 14 seconds, but Kennedy won at the line. Evy Hail finished third in 24:53.

Kennedy led the whole way, but said she knew Roch was lurking just behind.

“Yeah, it was definitely on my mind,” she said shortly after crossing the finish line beneath a bright spring sun.

Four of Eagle River’s finest finalized their college plans Friday during a ceremony in school’s library.

Seniors Mallory Garbe, Jade Pandres, Jessie Scott and Peyton Young drew high praise from administrators, parents and coaches during the ceremony, during which each signed a National Letter of Intent to play college sports at their respective universities.

“This is one of the highlights of my job,” said ERHS athletic director Tom Klaameyer, who introduced each of the four to a large crowd gathered in the library.

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