Mustangs reach Legion finals
Chugiak is back on the championship Chase.
Starting pitcher Chase Wilson went 8 and 1/3 innings for his second win of the tournament and Chugiak got a 5-run fifth inning to key a 9-3 victory over Juneau Post 25 Tuesday, July 30 in the Alaska American Legion baseball tourney at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage. The winner’s bracket triumph advanced Post 33 to the championship for the second consecutive season.
“We’re stoked to be back,” Wilson said.
Conner Cimmiyotti relieved Wilson with two on and one out in the ninth and promptly induced a one-pitch, game-ending double play lineout.
Alex Hess was named Player of the Game after going 3-for-5 with 3 runs scored and an RBI. Deven Ferriss (2-for-4) and Cimmiyotti (2-for-5) each had 2 RBIs for Chugiak, which also advanced through the winner’s bracket in the 2012 tourney before dropping a pair to Kenai Post 20 in the finals.
Cimmiyotti said the experience of getting so close to a title last season is what kept Chugiak going this time around.
“We want redemption after last year,” he said.
Chugiak will face either South or Juneau in the finals at 2 p.m. today (Thursday, Aug. 1). Whichever team comes out of the loser’s bracket would have to beat the Mustangs twice to win the title.
Although they’re the tournament’s lone undefeated team, Chugiak coach Bill Lierman said the Mustangs can’t make the mistake of thinking they’ve got a cushion heading into Thursday.
“We’ve got to play clean baseball,” Lierman said.
Lierman had high praise for his starting pitcher, who gave up just six hits.
“He’s gotten better as the whole season has gone on,” Lierman said.
Although Chugiak blew the game open, Lierman said Wilson did a good job of battling through the early part of the game.
“He basically lifted our team through five innings,” LIerman said.
First baseman Chase Gall said Chugiak learned last season not to be complacent heading into a championship match-up.
“We know to take these games seriously,” he said.
Gall said it’s a privilidge to have another shot at the title, and he and the Mustangs plan to make the most of their opportunity at redemption.
“It’s great to have a second chance,” he said.
Chugiak 14, Dimond 2
Chugiak opened the tournament with a 14-2 thrashing of Dimond on Thursday, July 25. Gall had four RBIs and Wilson went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored while allowing just two hits in six innings of work on the mound.
Chugiak 3, Wasilla 1
Chugiak reached the winner’s bracket final for the second straight year with a 3-1 win over top seeded Wasilla on Saturday, July 27 at Mulcahy. Ferriss went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Chugiak, which outhit the Road Warriors 8-4.
Mustangs earn honors
Three Mustangs were named to the American Legion Team of Excellence, as was Lierman.
Infielders Cimmiyotti and Ferriss were named to the all-star squad, and Wilson made the team as a starting pitcher.
Lierman shared Coach of the Year honors with Juneau’s Andy Macaulay and Bartlett’s Devin Morgan after guiding the Mustangs to a fourth-place league finish.