Sports

Chugiak Post 33 clinched a berth in the Alaska American Legion Baseball playoffs last week, while Eagle River will find itself on the outside looking in.

Through July 16, the Mustangs were 12-2 in the ALB’s eight-team National Division, well within the top four spots that advance to the playoffs. The Wolves, however, were 5-12 and with just one league game to play could only finish as high as fifth. The Wolves will still play in the postseason, though they’ll have to try and win the Matson Invitational, which features the eight Legion teams that fail to reach the state playoffs.

Through Monday, the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks found themselves on the outside of the ABL playoff race, but still with a shot of overtaking the Peninsula Oilers for the fourth spot in the five-team league’s playoffs.

With more than a dozen games to play before the July 31 season finale at Lee Jordan Field, the Chinooks stood at 9-22, just 1.5 games behind the Oilers (12-22). Chugiak-Eagle River lost 7-6 on Monday to the Anchorage Bucs at Lee Jordan Field and dropped a 15-1 decision to the Mat-Su Miners Sunday.

The Knik Little League will host the Alaska District 1 Majors (11-12) baseball tournament starting Tuesday, July 16 at the Knik Fields at Lions Park in Eagle River.

The winner of the district tournament will advance to the state championship for the division, which is the age group that plays in the annual Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday’s opening games include Palmer vs. Dimond-West at 6 p.m. and Anchorage West vs. Polar Little League at 6:15 p.m.

A pair of hometown racers ran to unexpected victories Saturday at the Bear Paw 5K race in Eagle River.

“I didn’t think I had a chance,” said Eagle River 16-year-old Michael Earnhart, who took the overall title in 16 minutes, 54 seconds.

At least Earnhart has been atop a podium before. Women’s race winner Hannah Booher, 21, said Saturday’s victory was a complete shocker.

“It’s the first time I’ve really won anything,” said Booher, a 2015 Chugiak High grad and former teammate of Earnhart’s on the local Alaska Nordic Racing team.

Local racers braved smoky conditions to turn in some top performances at the annual Mount Marathon race July 4 in Seward.

Chugiak’s Annie Connelly, 21, had her best career senior race finish, placing 11th in the women’s race in 1 hour, 1 minute and 16 seconds. Connelly was the 15th woman to reach the turnaround rock but posted the sixth fastest downhill and passed four runners on the trip down. Connelly was 13th last year.

Chugiak’s bid to reach the finals of the BP Invitational American Legion Baseball tournament came up agonizingly short against the eventual tournament champions Saturday, June 29 at a smoky Mulcahy Stadium.

The Post 33 Mustangs lost 1-0 on a walk-off RBI single by Dakota Benner of the Napoleon (Ohio) River Bandits, who blasted Auburn (Rhode Island) 12-1 in the championship game Saturday to win their third tournament title.

James Howery won the inaugural Mid Summer Masher mountain bike race at the Chugach Mountain Bike Riders trails at Mirror Lake on Sunday.

Howery claimed victory in the Expert Men class race, turning the fastest laps on three of the race’s four laps. Each lap around the course covered four miles and included 571 feet of climbing and 575 feet of descent. Howery completed his four laps in 1 hour, 25 minutes, 20.8 seconds to beat James Stull by more than three minutes. Brad Manderfeld was third.

Lee Jordan Field wasn’t particularly friendly to the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks, which went just 2-6 during an eight-game homestand that ended with four straight losses June 25-30.

Chugiak-Eagle River fell to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots 9-0 on June 25, then dropped three in a row to the Anchorage Bucs on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday in Chugiak.

The Chinooks pounded 12 hits in their 17-12 loss to the Bucs Thursday, with Joe Brazil collecting three base hits and Mason Corbett, Dylan Gardner, Jess Davis and Ethan English picking up two each.

Jim Lanier is just getting warmed up.

The 78-year-old Chugiak musher will attempt to complete the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in his sixth different decade after entering the 2020 running of “The Last Great Race” on the first day of sign-ups Saturday in Wasilla.

A total of 40 mushers signed up in time for the annual summertime barbecue at race headquarters off Knik-Goose Bay Road. Among those joining Lanier in the race on Day 1 were reigning champion Peter Kaiser and past champions Martin Buser, Lance Mackey and Joar Leifseth Ulsom.

Eagle River trapshooter Madeline Taylor may be following in the gunsights of Eagle River Olympian Corey Cogdell in the not-too-distant future.

Taylor won a national championship in International Trap Shooting at the 2019 Shotgun National Junior Olympic Championships June 10-13 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Taylor claimed first place in the J2 girls division (ages 15-17) by earning 109 points to edge Texan Ryann Phillips by one point. Taylor had the third-highest overall women’s score behind women’s champion Carey Garrison and runner-up Heather Broski.

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