Busy days on the baseball diamond
Due to late-season snowfall combined with last week’s rain, the entire 2013 high school baseball regular season will be condensed into just two weeks.
Each Cook Inlet Conference team will play seven games before pool play for the conference tournament begins May 18.
The abridged season makes pitching that much more crucial to success, Eagle River head coach Gregg Frost said.
“Pitching is going to be so key with everything so compressed,” he said.
Luckily for the Wolves, they have plenty of players who can step on the mound. Ten of the 11 on the varsity roster will be in Eagle River’s rotation, Frost said.
“That’s going to be helpful,” he said. “You can’t have enough of them.”
Nearly everyone is a returner to the team. Frost said he has only one new player on varsity. The Wolves also have 11 on their JV team, Frost said, and four players will swing between both squads.
The high school season has the added distraction of end-of-the-school-year activities — especially for Chugiak and Eagle River seniors who graduate May 16.
But, Frost said, his team is mentally prepared for baseball.
“They should be able to compartmentalize it and move forward,” he said.
Thanks to training on the new indoor turf at the McDonald Center this winter, Eagle River is more prepared for the season, Frost said.
“It was really good to have that for the infielders,” he said.
Working out in the offseason is already paying dividends. The Wolves played error-free baseball in their 9-7 season-opening win over East on Friday, May 3 at Mulcahy Stadium.
Eagle River jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the T-Birds rallied to lead 7-5 going into the final inning. The Wolves scored four runs in the top of the seventh to earn the come-from-behind win.
Wesley Bennice pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the save while Cameron Fabacher got the win in relief.
Kyle Frost went 2-for-4 including a double and drove in two runs for the Wolves. Mike Rosenberg also went 2-for-4 and David Fuller scored twice.
Eagle River (2-0) downed Bartlett 8-2 on Monday, May 6 at Mulcahy.
The Wolves played South on Wednesday, May 8, but a score was not available when the Star went to press.
‘Balanced lineup’ for Chugiak
Chugiak has 21 players in its program, Mustangs’ head coach Bill Lierman said.
While everyone is anxious to play outside, the Mustangs have adjusted well to the condensed season, he said.
“Our guys have done really, really well,” Lierman said. “Overall, the program is very good.”
Two key returners are speedster Deven Ferriss — who plays several positions — and pitcher/catcher Chase Wilson, both four-year players.
“That always helps to have those guys around,” Lierman said of the two seniors.
The Mustangs should be able to play with anyone in the conference, Lierman said.
“Our group will compete well,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty balanced lineup.”
Chugiak opened its season with a convincing 14-3 win over Bartlett on May 2. Four different Mustangs had extra base hits. Hunter Hanson and Brandon Neal each hit triples, and Ferriss and Blake Kutch recorded doubles.
Ferriss led Chugiak with five RBIs and Hanson drove in three runs.
Wilson earned the win, striking out five through five innings.
Chugiak beat South 8-7 on Tuesday, May 7 at Mulcahy to improve to 2-0.
Chugiak played Service on Wednesday, May 8, but a score was not available when the Star went to press.
The Mustangs take on East today (May 9) at 4:30 p.m. before meeting Eagle River on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. On Friday, May 10, Eagle River plays Service at 7 p.m. All games are at Mulcahy Stadium.