Eagle River goes 2-2 at state Legion tournament
Eagle River’s baseball family just got a lot smaller — and younger.
The tight-knit Wolves team is losing five starters including 2012 ERHS graduates Ricky Ayala and Greg Long and 2013 grads Kyle Frost, David Fuller and Colby LeBlanc.
The group started playing together nearly a decade ago as Knik Little Leaguers.
“It’s the end of an era,” Frost said after Wasilla beat Eagle River 11-1 on Monday, July 29, eliminating it from the American Legion State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.
Players formed close relationships with one another over the years, LeBlanc said.
“This is the tightest group I’ve been around,” he said.
Fuller echoed those sentiments.
“You spend more time with this group than your actual family,” he said.
Being part of an up-and-coming squad is what stands out to Long during his five years with the Wolves.
“The thing I’ll remember most is how much the team has grown,” he said.
Eagle River went 2-2 at state and finished with its best record in history of 18-19 overall. Now, Frost said, it’s time to let the younger Wolves continue the program’s progression.
“I hope we laid the groundwork for many more positive years to come,” he said.
Eagle River fell into the losers bracket after dropping its first game 11-9 to Bartlett on July 25. Though playing back-to-back-to-back elimination games isn’t easy, Long said, competing in the losers bracket isn’t all bad.
“The fun thing about that is you get to see people go home when you beat them,” he said.
Service and Fairbanks were on that list. The Wolves clobbered Service 12-1 on Saturday, July 28 before edging Fairbanks 8-6 the following day.
Michael Rosenberg and Christian Fabacher had four hits apiece in the win over the Cougars. Lauren Frost drove in a pair of runs on three hits and her brother racked up four RBI’s.
Lauren Frost and R.J. Dirscherl drove in two runs each against the 49ers. Cameron Fabacher allowed just two hits and one run in 4 2/3 innings to earn the win. Kyle Frost scored three runs, and LeBlanc and Fuller scored two apiece.
The Wolves, who entered the 10-team tournament as the eighth seed, had a solid showing, Fuller said.
“We battled hard,” he said.
Fuller was one of four Eagle River players named to the Team of Excellence. The others included Dirscherl (catcher), Ayala (outfield) and Rosenberg (infield).
Fuller earned honors as both a starting pitcher and utility player. Fuller complemented his 30 strikeouts and a 3.15 ERA with a .388 batting average with 30 RBI’s, 10 doubles and 10 stolen bases.
Dirscherl posted a .324 batting average, .473 on base percentage, 21 runs and 14 RBI’s. Ayala scored 31 runs and drove in 22, and he had a .358 batting average including 12 extra-base hits.
Rosenberg had 16 extra-base hits — nine triples, seven doubles — scored 30 runs, batted .374 with 22 RBI’s and had a .482 on base percentage.
Coach of the Year honors went to Chugiak’s Bill Lierman, Juneau’s Andy Macaulay and Bartlett’s Devin Morgan.