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By SPENCER GLEASON
Daily News Sports Editor
There is something to be said for the way a team responds.
The last time the Ketchikan Post 3 American Legion ball club was at Walker Field, in early June, it had just been dealt a four-game sweep from Chugiak Post 33.
And sitting at 3-5 overall, and 1-3 in conference games, Ketchikan was in need of some reflection. And that’s exactly what they did.
Post 3 spent the next two weeks practicing, and finding its groove. And Friday’s sweep over Eagle River was the result of that hard work.
Ketchikan took both games of a doubleheader, winning the first game 11-2 and the second game 10-7. The front end of the twin bill was considered conference; the second game was non-conference.
“It was way better,” Ketchikan coach Johnny Milner said. “We still have some things to clean up. But what I really liked was the energy, and the intensity level.”
Post 3 fell behind 2-0 after Eagle River ripped a two-run home run in the first inning of Game 1. But starting pitcher Wyatt Barajas settled into a rhythm afterward, and sat down seven straight.
“That guy got ahold of it,” Milner said. “But (Barajas) pitched a great game, and defensively they helped him out.”
The zeros throughout the middle innings allowed Ketchikan’s offense to find its groove. And after tying the game in the fourth inning, Post 3 responded in a big way, posting eight more runs in the fifth to take a 10-2 lead.
“I knew Wyatt was going to keep us in the game,” Milner said. “But it was like, ‘Come on, we need to plate one of these guys.’
“As each inning goes on, it’s really easy to start pressing,” he continued. “So you just want something. The second we got the two (runs) to even it up, it was kind of like ( we exhaled). And then the next inning we were able to open it up like that.”
Ketchikan’s Vinny Trujillo led off the inning with a double, which he roped over the centerfielder’s head. He eventually scored on a wild pitch to the backstop, and broke the 2-2 tie, giving Ketchikan a 3-2 lead.
And Post 3 never looked back.
Gabe Bowlen also ripped an RBI ground rule double in the inning, plating Tyler Slick, and Bowlen eventually scored, too.
Trujillo, who batted twice in the frame, also scored twice.
The fifth frame was the lucky inning in Game 2, as well, as Ketchikan plated five runs to take an 8-6 lead over Eagle River.
It carried that energy to a 10-7 non-conference win.
“The biggest thing is culture, and how you play the game,” Milner said. “When you come here with the right intensity, and you play the right way, good things will happen. And I’m glad to see that.”
Final home games
Ketchikan finishes its home portion of the American Legion schedule this season, when it hosts Eagle River on Saturday at Walker Field. The two teams will play one more doubleheader.
First pitch of Game 1 is slated for 1 p.m. Game 2 is set to begin at 4 p.m.
The first game will be considered conference competition, and the second game is non-conference.