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By DAVE KIFFER
For the Daily News
The Ketchikan American Legion baseball team went north this week to the Anchorage area hoping to make up some ground on the teams ahead of it in the season standings.
The first several games on the schedule were against teams just above Ketchikan Post #3 so some wins would boost Ketchikan into a better position to make the end of the season Legion tournament at the end of July.
Unfortunately, after winning the first game on Tuesday against Dimond 8-4, Ketchikan ran into some great pitching and great hitting and ended up losing four of the next five games.
South Anchorage 8, Ketchikan 3
South jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead in the second game on Tuesday and Ketchikan never caught up. Liam Kiffer had three doubles and scored all three Ketchikan runs. Wyatt Bajaras, Tug Olson and Gabe Bowlen had the other three Ketchikan hits.
Bowlen, Korbin Stack and Terik Brown pitched for Ketchikan.
Palmer 14, Ketchikan 4
Ketchikan got a fast 1-0 lead in the first Wednesday game when CJ Jasper walked, Barajas singled him to second, and Olson knocked Jasper in with a single.
Unfortunately, Palmer scored two runs in the bottom of the first, stringing together a walk, two singles and a double.
It was almost déjà vu in the top of the third, when Jasper walked again and scored on another single by Olson to knot the score at 2-2.
But then Palmer put together two walks, two singles and double to jump out to a 6-2 lead.
Ketchikan halved that margin in the top of the fifth when Kiffer hit a ground-rule double, went to third on another single by Olson and scored on a passed ball. Olson would then score when McKinley Hamilton walked with the bases loaded.
Palmer quickly answered, though, blowing the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth on an error, a hit batter, two walks, a ground rule double and four singles to take a 13-4 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Palmer ended the game via the 10-run rule with a single, a hit batter and another ground-rule double.
Olson had three of Ketchikan’s five hits. Kiffer and Barajas had the other safeties.
Barajas and Hamilton handled the pitching duties.
Palmer 21, Ketchikan 7
In the second Wednesday game, Palmer outscored Ketchikan by the equivalent of two touchdowns, but really Ketchikan suffered death by a thousand paper cuts. Palmer got 21 hits and 20 of them were singles.
Palmer jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning behind four straight singles.
Ketchikan got a run back in the bottom of the second playing “small ball” when Stack and Dylan Nedzwecky both walked, were bunted over to second and third by Tyler Slick and then Stack scored when Bowlen reached on an error.
Unfortunately, Palmer got that run back, and more, with five more singles and a double to take an 8-1 lead in the top of the third inning.
Ketchikan’s bats finally came alive in the bottom of the third, when Jasper and Kiffer both singled and Barajas doubled to drive in Jasper. Kiffer then scored when Palmer fumbled a ground ball by Olson. Stack then reached on another error and Barajas scored. Vinnie Trujillo then singled and Olson scored to bring the score to 8-5.
Palmer added to its lead in the top of the fourth with three more singles and a wild pitch. A walk and an error led to another run, and a hit batter added a third. Another single brought in two more. Yet another single brought in two more runs to run the score up to 15-5.
In the fourth inning, Kiffer singled and Barajas hit a home run to make the score 15-7.
Palmer tacked on a run in the fifth inning courtesy of an error, a hit batter, and two more singles. In the sixth, Palmer added five more runs on the strength of two walks, an error and three more singles.
Kiffer led the Ketchikan attack with three hits, followed by Barajas, Jasper and Trujillo with two each. Olson also hit safely.
Kiffer and Slick took the mound for Ketchikan.
Service 5, Ketchikan 1
Ketchikan hitters apparently arrived at the field without their bats Thursday afternoon because in the first game, Service pitchers Hutton Stiles and Henry Helgeson combined to no-hit Ketchikan.
Through walks and Service errors, Ketchikan had six baserunners but no hits
Service jumped to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning by stringing together four singles and two sacrifice flies. It later added another tally on two singles and a sacrifice fly.
Ketchikan scored its only run when Kiffer walked, went to second on a ground out, and then scored when Service fumbled a ground ball by Trujillo.
Korbin Stack pitched the entire game for Ketchikan.
Ketchikan 12, Service 4
In the second Thursday game, Ketchikan woke up from its offensive slumber after Service got a fast 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning with two walks, a double and two singles,
Ketchikan then tied the score at 3 in the bottom of the inning.
Olson walked and Liam Kiffer tripled to drive him in. Barajas singled to drive Kiffer in, and Nedzwecky singled to score Barajas.
Service jumped back ahead with three singles in the second and Ketchikan answered when Kiffer singled in the third, advanced to third on a ground out and then scored when Stack grounded out.
Ketchikan finally took the lead when Bowlen singled and scored when Olson singled. Kiffer then singled to score Olson to put Ketchikan up 6-4.
Ketchikan added another run in fifth. Barajas walked and scored when Hamilton reached base on a Service error.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ketchikan broke the game open scoring five runs. Olson, Kiffer and Brown walked. Stack hit a sacrifice fly to score Olson, Nedzwecky hit a single to reload the bases, Hamilton walked to score Kiffer, Tyler Slick singled to score Brown, Azariah Schultz who had come in to run for Nedzwecky, and Hamilton.
Kiffer led the hit parade going 3 for 3, Nedzwecky and Bowlen each had 2 hits, and Jasper, Olson, Slick and Barajas had one hit each.
Brown and Jasper pitched for Ketchikan.
On Friday, Ketchikan plays Bartlett and Wasilla in the Todd Ryan Memorial Tournament that will continue Saturday and Sunday. Ketchikan returns home on Monday.