High school baseball teams making moves

Falcons top Sitka and Kayhi, Crimson Bears top Kings and fall to Wolves twice
Juneau Douglas High School's Tal Norvell is one step behind a fast throw to first and an impressive stretch from Sitka High's first-baseman Brian Way Thursday at Moller Field. (Sentinel Photo/James Poulson)

The Region V baseball season is becoming anybody’s sandbox to play in as local hardballers are shaking up the league contests.


The Thunder Mountain Falcons went 3-0 over the weekend at Sitka, knocking off Ketchikan on Thursday and Friday and then putting a damper on the Sitka senior night with an 8-6 win over the previously undefeated Wolves.

“Sitka showed a lot of class,” TMHS coach Matt Greely said. “They were real gracious hosts. Their fans were enthusiastic and appreciative of all the action. It was a great high school baseball game.”

The Falcons exploded for five runs against Wolves starter Jake Licari in the first inning. Chris Luck led off with a single to left field, Gus Swanton held on for a walk and Patrick Millay dinged a two-run double.

Martin Conchas-Michel drew a walk and Ben Bullock singled to score Millay and Conchas-Michel. A Camden Thomas single moved Bullock to third and he scored on a Matt Cunningham fielder’s choice.

In the second inning RJ Markovich singled, Swanton walked and Millay hit a single scoring Markovich.

Sitka closed to within 6-5 in the fifth inning. Two Wolves reached on errors, two more walked, Licari doubled in two and Brian Way singled in another. A final throwing error scored their fifth run.

With runners loaded the Wolves lined a shot that hit one of their own which drew the third out.

“That was a huge break in the game,” Greely said.

The Falcons scored two more in the sixth. Markovich doubled, Swanton walked and Millay found the left-center gap for a 2 RBI double.

Freshman lefty RJ Markovich pitched four and two-thirds innings, striking out seven with three walks and allowing just three hits. Millay came on in relief and got the save in two and a third innings of work.

“Our pitching staff depth has been our biggest strength this year,” Greely said. “This was the biggest win in our programs young history. The team was incredibly resilient. We have grown a lot from the start of the season. We are getting stronger and it is a big credit to the kids. Our hitters ground out quality at bats but our pitchers really stepped up and shut the door when it was needed.”

The Falcons also got a quality JV start from freshman Tim Christensen who threw against Kayhi, threw 69 pitches in five innings and didn’t allow a hit while getting nine strikeouts and just one walk.

On Thursday the Falcons (5-8) topped Ketchikan 16-4 in a mercy rule win in the sixth. Dylan Johnson started and pitched a full game getting six strikeouts while walking one. The Kings had a 2-0 lead until the Falcons scored four runs in the third. Martin Conchas-Michel walked, Matt Cunningham was hit by a pitch, Dennis Barril walked, and Chris Luck and RJ Markovich walked in runs. Gus Swanton hit a sacrifice fly and Patrick Millay a fielder’s choice to score two more runs.

The Falcons got a run in the fourth as Conchas-Michel scored on a RJ Markovich single.

TMHS got three more runs in the fifth as Millay hit a double, Conchas-Michel hit an RBI single, Cunningham walked and an error scored two more.

In the sixth Cunningham hit, Chatham Miller walked, Luck singled, RJ Markovich singled in a run, Swanton walked in another, Millay and Bullock hit and Thomas was hit by a pitch for the eighth run of the inning.

The Falcons than dispatched Kayhi again on Friday 18-8 in four innings. Swanton threw five strikeouts while walking eight. The Falcons scored eight runs in the first inning and six in the second. Conchas-Michel went 2-3 with four RBIs, Luck 3-4 with 1 RBI, Markovich 3-4 with 3 RBIs, Swanton 2-2 with 3 RBIs, Thomas 2-4 with 2 RBIs, Cunningham 1-2 and Miller 2-3. Millay had 2 RBIs.

Sitka had dispatched Juneau-Douglas on Thursday and Friday. The Crimson Bears stopped Ketchikan 5-1 on Saturday.

According to JDHS coaches, Friday’s 14-10 loss to Sitka was a game that possibly should not have been played due to weather issues and safety concerns for the players. Umpires instead decided to play the contest.

After three innings Sitka had a 12-2 lead yet the Crimson Bears battled back.

JDHS scored seven runs in the top of the fourth inning.

Lance Ibesate, Ryan Kelly and Christian Gould each had two hits in three at bats. Jackson Lehnhart and Kurt Vandor went one for two. Ibesate drove in four runs while Kelly and Kyle Gould, who hit the ball all thru the game, had two RBIs apiece. Sitka leading hitters were Svenson (2-3, 2 RBIs), Rommie (3-5, 2 RBIs) and Potruski (2-4, 2 RBIs).

Tanner Petrie started the game fro the Crimson Bears and gave up seven earned runs on six hits. Tal Norvell came on in relief in the third inning. Norvell pitched a third of an inning and was replaced by Christian Gould who went for 4 and 2/3 innings.

On Saturday the Crimson Bears got behind the pitching of Jeffery Pusich to win 5-1 over Kayhi. Pusich allowed only one run on seven scattered hits, issuing one walk while striking out five Kings’ batters. Pusich got out of two on, one out jams three times with the help of the Crimson Bears defense. Ketchikan’s losing pitcher was Auger who gave up the five runs on 12 hits while walking only one and striking out two.

Kyle Gould led the plate attack by going 3-3 with two RBIs, Josh Magnuson was 3-3 with one RBI, and Lance Ibesate 3-4 with three doubles. Tanner Peterie drove in two runs as well. Ketchikan’s leading hitter was Silva who went 2-3 with two singles.

JDHS and TMHS meet at Adair Kennedy Field at 6 p.m. tonight. Ketchikan, Sitka and Petersburg will be playing in town through the weekend (see schedule on B2 Around Town). This week’s play will be the last chance for teams to improve their seeding and confidence for the Region V tournament at Petersburg May 24-26. Two teams from the region championships will advance to the state championships. June 1-2 in Anchorage.


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