Chugiak softball ousted on first day at state
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.
Their most recent meeting came in the final round of the first day of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Softball State Tournament at Cartee Fields. West ended Chugiak’s season with a 6-4 win in six innings Friday, May 31.
West’s Pauline Tufi broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning.
Rachel Gregg tied the game with a two-run single in the fourth. Gregg’s soft shot down the first base line scored Savannah Dodenhoff and Baylee Reves to knot the game at 4-4.
Nikki Olsen hit West’s second two-run homer off Carly Metcalf in the bottom of the fifth to put West up 6-4.
“They had four runs with two bombs,” Huber said. “Other than that, Carly pitched a fabulous game.”
With just four minutes on the clock — state games are limited to 90 minutes running time — Chugiak hustled to end the sixth inning and have another at bat. After retiring the first two batters, Metcalf had two strikes on West’s Lauren Syrup but time expired, as did Chugiak’s season.
The fourth meeting between Chugiak and West was the Mustangs best hitting performance against Tufi, the Eagles’ ace, Metcalf said.
“I’m super proud of my team,” she said.
Chugiak was also strong in the field, Metcalf said.
“Our defense was awesome,” she said.
Chugiak opened state with a 16-8 loss to Juneau-Douglas. The Mustangs rebounded with a 5-3 win over Colony before meeting West.
Anytime a team plays three games in a day, Metcalf said, fatigue is a factor.
“It’s a long day for sure,” she said.
Katy Bakker led Chugiak with a .667 batting average and five RBI’s over three games. Kenzie Matthis and Elle Gray each batted .500 for the tournament, and Gray hit a home run and had five RBI’s. Sammi McMullen had a .333 average for the Mustangs.
East capped a perfect season with a 10-2 win over Lathrop to claim the large schools title Saturday, June 1. Sitka edged Ketchikan 7-6 in the small schools title game.
Next year, Chugiak will be without recent graduates Metcalf, Matthis and McMullen. Leaving the team will be difficult, said Metcalf, a four-year varsity player.
“It’s pretty sad,” she said. “Softball is my favorite sport by far.”
Chugiak’s sophomore-laden team should improve over the next couple of seasons, Metcalf said.
“The future looks really bright,” she said. “I’m excited to see where they go.”
While Chugiak’s youth led to errors throughout the season, Huber said, the Mustangs showed improvement.
“It was kind of a growth process this year,” he said.
Like Metcalf, Huber is looking forward to next season.
“We’re gonna be competitive,” he said.
Though being eliminated on the first day of state is rare for Chugiak, Huber said his team played hard.
“Certainly, I’m not disappointed in the effort,” he said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2013 State Softball Large Schools All Tournament Team
Shavana McClean, WV; Jamie Bingham, West; Pauline Tufi, West; Kayla Balovich, JD; Gracie Meiners, JD; Ciara Olalde, Lat; Tina Persinger, Lat; Kacey Duffield, Lat; Morgan Hill, East; Gabby Meyerson, East; Sydney Smith, East; Taria Page, East.