The semifinals for Wednesday night’s CIC baseball tournament at Mulcahy Stadium saw the top two seeds advance to Thursday’s title match. The South Anchorage Wolverines state high school Division I champions will play as the second -seeded Eagle River Wolves after both teams claimed decisive victories in the second round of the tournament.
In the first game of the night, the Wolves faced Chugiak 1-0 after the first two rounds, but would score six missed rounds to close out the game and beat the ticket to the next round by a score of 6-1. win.
“I think this is the first time in the history of the program we’ve made it so far that I’m happy for the players,” said Eagle River coach Bill Lierman.
Eagle River tied the game at the top of the third inning thanks to a run from freshman Liam Lierman that resulted from a hit by senior Connor Johnson with an RBI. The Wolves scored a tie-breaking round in the top four when Joshua Thompson brought fellow junior Jack Molloy to the front of the plate with a hit.
“I think this is our intensity with the bat,” Lierman said. “We’re a tough lineup to get one to nine and whoever we face has to be called in with every batsman. During the match, we’re going to be tough and it’s going to be tough against the bats and this is visible now.
Tim Lierman scored a pair of runs in the top of the fourth and fifth rounds to close out the game. The Wolves don’t yet know who they will face in the championship game, but Lierman said it doesn’t matter because all the teams in the conference are familiar with each other.
“In our league, all the CIC teams know each other very well and have statistics about each kid, so I think they know us as well as we know them,” Lierman said.
The second game of the doubleheader semifinal featured a fierce battle between pitchers but senior Luke Ivanoff and the Wolverines eventually won over Dimond Lynx thanks to some aggressive base running in a 5-2 Triumph.
“This is a really good pitchers battle these days,” Ivanoff said. “He threw an attack. He entered the zone and we just came out on top.
South head coach Taylor Nerland wanted to give his regular starting pitcher, Isaac Johnson an extra day to rest and be confident in Invanoff’s ability to come through on his instead.
“Luke has done all these years for us and done a great job with kind of mixing it up and keeping people off balance,” Nerland said.
After the first three rounds without a score, four Wolverines scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth round without recording a single hit.
“You don’t know how it’s going to go in the first four rounds or so,” Nerland said. “I’m really proud of the people who keep doing the things we’ve worked on since the beginning.”
He made the score using a combination of running, steals, wild pitches and passed balls. South almost had a fifth but Kaden Bevegni’s two children are said to be playing at home. Sean Giffin, Kurtis Herbert and AJ Sawicki and Ben Neuberger all scored for South in the inning.
“You take what the other team gives you,” Nerland said. “We were selective on the plate, entered the base, used some speed, used good basic running techniques to make the run.”
Dimond did his best to fight back in the top of the sixth inning with a pair of runs from one hit. Unfortunately for the Lynx, they were unable to replicate their success in the top seven where Ivanoff closed out the game and had a strong night on the mound for the Wolverines.
The Wolverines will face the Wolves for a fourth season on Thursday. Although South came out on top of the previous three meetings, Nerland said the result had nothing to do with an upcoming conference title.
“They’re a solid team, well -trained, disciplined, so we’re going to come up with not thinking about another game,” Nerland said. “Those games weren’t a problem when it happened.”