Sitka celebrates after winning the 2017 ASAA state baseball championship at Mulcahy Stadium. Photo credit Loudon Wilson, AlaskanAthlete, Twitter
Oliver Moore-Baker scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning to help Sitka edge South 2-1 in extra innings in the championship game of the ASAA state baseball tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.
Sitka's No. 3 hitter Ky Stockel lofted a flyball to medium center field where South’s Parker Johnson caught it and fired a strike to home plate, but the ball bounced away from the catcher as Moore-Baker slid in with the go-ahead run.
Sitka starter Camden Suarez worked around seven hits over a 94-pitch complete-game effort and retired the Wolverines 1-2-3 in the final inning.
The loss was the first of the season for South [18-1] and snapped the team’s 21-game winning streak dating back to last season when the Wolverines won the state title.
Suarez and South starter and Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year Jonny Homza were locked in a pitcher's duel for the first eight innings, which breezed by in an hour and 45 minutes under a brilliant blue sky.
Homza scattered seven hits and four walks while allowing one run and striking out five.
It might be the last time he pitches - only because he's a college-ready infielder who will likely be picked in this month's MLB draft.
He got delightful defense from Johnson, who played beautifully at shortstop with a couple plays where he showed remarkable range and also saved a run with one diving stop to keep the ball in the infield.
Even at the end, Johnson’s throw was right on the money, but it looked like catcher Sladen Mohl glanced away at the last second with Moore-Baker charging hard. It was a tough-luck play for a one of the better defensive teams in the state.
But credit Sitka.
The Wolves played smart, steady and seamless to give third-year coach Matt Way his first state championship and the program’s fifth overall. Way’s old coach, Ed Conway led Sitka to state titles in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014. Way played on the '05 team.
Stockel accounted for both runs for Sitka. He scored a run in the fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1 when he scored on the front end of a delayed double steal.
South took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Homza’s line-drive single to left center, scoring Johnson.
Alaska State Baseball Titles
ASAA tournament began in 2000
Sitka 5 - 2005, 06, 07, 14, 17
Juneau 5 - 2002, 03, 08, 10, 12
South 3 - 2011, 13, 16
East 1 - 2000
Service 1 - 2001
Kodiak 1 - 2004
Dimond 1 - 2009
Chugiak 1 - 2015
Wasilla 5, Lathrop 0
Austin Robertson tossed a two-hit gem as the Warriors claimed the third-place game.
Robertson allowed two walks and struck out 10 batters. He didn't allow a run in 8.2 innings during the state tournament.
Ben Werner had two hits and two RBIs and James Arend, Hank Boyer and Caden Dudley each drove in one run.
Wasilla scored four runs in the third inning.
Lathrop's Colin King and Chase Reed each went 1-for-3.
Juneau-Douglas 7, Service 6
Luke Malinger scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Crimson Bears won the fourth-place game.
The back-and-forth game featured four lead changes until things were tied at 6-6.
Bryce Swofford went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs. Kona Ogoy had two RBIS and pitcher Luis Mojica earned the win with two shutout innings of relief.
Cobey Cupp went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Ronan Klancher and Raleigh Pigg each scored twice.
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