Chugiak Post 33 punches ticket to state title game
Chugiak Post 33 is one win away from being crowned state champions.
The Mustangs defeated crosstown rival Eagle River 10-0 on Wednesday in the semifinals of the American Legion AA State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium. The title game is set for Saturday, Aug. 4 at 2 p.m.
Eagle River will play the winner of South vs. Kenai on Friday at 6 p.m. for a chance at a rematch against Chugiak in the championship.
Kenai and South play at 2 p.m. on Friday. The elimination games and championship were pushed back a day due to rain.
Chase Wilson provided the mercy-rule-invoking hit when he singled to left center to score Cameron Fritz in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“Once I hit it with solid contact, I knew it was going down,” Wilson said.
Eagle River looked poised to chipped away at a 6-0 Chugiak lead in the sixth inning when the Wolves loaded the bases with one out. But reliever Conner Cimmiyotti struck out Ricky Ayala then got Kyle Frost to ground out.
Chugiak’s pitching keyed the victory, Wilson said.
“When they got into a jam, they were able to get out of it,” he said.
The Wolves furnished eight hits but left 12 men on base, which was too many to come away victorious, Eagle River head coach Gregg Frost said.
“They did a really good job not letting us break it open,” he said.
The Wolves must have a short memory, coach Frost said, and be prepared to play Friday.
Cimmiyotti said the rivalry between Chugiak and Eagle River motivated the Mustangs.
“That was a big push for us,” he said.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, Chugiak extended its lead to 4-0 in the third inning and never looked back, Cimmiyotti said.
“Once we got that lead, we rolled with it,” he said.
Justin Schneider went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and scored a run to lead Chugiak on offense. Cimmiyotti and Deven Ferriss each had two hits for the Mustangs.
Fritz pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up seven hits to earn the win. He also went 2-for-4 — including a home run — with three RBIs and scored three runs.
David Fuller got the loss. He pitched three innings and gave up four runs — three of them earned — on five hits. Chris Parker pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief, giving up six hits and six runs, all earned.
Greg Long went 2-for-3 to lead Eagle River on offense.
The sixth-seeded Mustangs — the only undefeated team in the tournament — have an unparalleled determination to win the title, Cimmiyotti said.
“We want state so badly,” he said.
Though making the title game is a great accomplishment, Chugiak has its eyes set on winning a state championship, Wilson said.
“We get to enjoy it the rest of the night, but tomorrow it’s right back to work,” he said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org