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Legion Post 3 pulls out a victory
Anchorage catcher Carsen Sandau drops the ball for Ketchikan's Sean Tavares to slide into home safe on Friday during American Legion opening day at Walker Field. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Sports Editor

Ketchikan Post 3’s American Legion baseball season opener was twofold at Walker Field on Friday evening.

On one hand, Ketchikan battled back from a 5-2 deficit and won, 10-5, over Service Post 28 from Anchorage in the nonconference affair. On the other hand, the hometown pitchers combined to allow 13 walks.

“I’m pleased to get out of here with a win, with that many walks,” Ketchikan head coach Johnny Milner said afterward. “You’re not going to win a game very often doing that.”

Ketchikan starting pitcher Gavin Salazar made quick work of Service’s first two batters. His only hiccup in the frame was a pitch to Service’s Ronan Klancher that the lefty turned on and sent sailing over the right field wall for an early 1-0 lead.

Ketchikan erased that lead with a pair of their own in the bottom half, however. Salazar and Liam Kiffer scored on a double to left-centerfield by Wyatt Barajas.

“I felt everybody hit fairly well today,” Milner said.

Barajas’ double gave Ketchikan a 2-1 lead. But five consecutive walks to Service batters in the top of the second inning swung the momentum back toward the first base dugout and gave the team from Anchorage a 3-2 advantage.

“We have to work on pitching from the stretch,” Milner said. “I’m hoping some of it was first night nerves. But we can’t keep getting away with that.”

Service would tack on two more runs in the third inning to take a 5-2 lead. Milner used three different pitchers to get nine outs. But that was partially designed from the get-go.

“In your nonconference games, you try to get some guys extra innings,” Milner said. “We definitely utilize that for our pitchers. So I try to get to as many guys on the hill in the nonconference games.”

Ketchikan sent four hurlers to the mound on Friday. Despite the number of walks allowed, they were able to spread them out to keep their offense in the ballgame.

Ketchikan’s sticks began to show some life in the fourth inning, when four consecutive batters reached base.

Sean Tavares scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Korbin Stack. Klancher’s throw was nearly in time, but the ball was dropped at home and Tavares was safe. The run gave Ketchikan a 6-5 lead and they never looked back.

Ketchikan tallied four more runs in the sixth inning to cruise to their 10-5 victory.

“The fact that we battled back, I’m pleased with that,” Milner said.

Ketchikan and Service will match up three more times this weekend. They’ll play a doubleheader on Saturday at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Both games will be conference games. Sunday’s contest at 3 p.m. will be nonconference. All games will be played at Walker Field.