The Ketchikan Post 3 American Legion ball club is making a bit of team history this summer season.
One day after winning its first game in the Alaska Legion state tournament since 1983 — a 7-3 victory over Dimond Post 21 on Friday afternoon — Post 3 now sits one win away from advancing to the state championship.
Ketchikan cruised by Palmer Post 15 on Saturday, winning 9-3, to claim a spot in the state semifinal. Post 3 will play Eagle River at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage on Monday for a chance to continue on to the title game.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., and will be livestreamed on the Alliance Sports Network, which is accessible through the Alaska Legion website — AlaskaLegion.com.
The state championship is slated for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Ketchikan starting pitcher Hayden McGarrigan kept Palmer off balance through his 6-2/3 innings of work on Saturday afternoon.
His only blemish through the first five innings was an unearned run, as Palmer plated the game’s first run on a fielding error in the top of the second.
But McGarrigan shook off the defensive error behind him, and started a string of nine straight outs following the unearned run. He sat down Palmer’s entire lineup on just 25 pitches between the second and fifth frames, and tossed 106 pitches in his outing.
While McGarrigan posted zeros on the scoreboard, Ketchikan’s bats started to come alive.
Post 3 plated four runs in the bottom of the third.
After McKinley Hamilton, Van McGarrigan and Terik Brown loaded the bases, Ketchikan right fielder Brayden Gentry was hit by a pitch, forcing Hamilton to cross the dish, tying the game, 1-1.
Post 3 catcher Dylan Nedzwecky followed Gentry’s at-bat with a single, driving in Van McGarrigan and Brown. Gentry eventually scored on a passed ball, giving Ketchikan a 4-1 lead after three innings.
Ketchikan extended its lead in its share of the fifth inning, plating a pair.
Nedzwecky recorded his third RBI of the game, as Brown crossed the dish on a ground out.
After Caleb Eisenhower worked a 10-pitch at-bat — that ended in a ground out — Isaac Romano hit a two-out single, sending Gentry home from third base.
The 6-1 lead turned into a 6-2 in the top of the sixth, as Palmer crossed the dish once more. But Ketchikan tacked on three more runs in the bottom half, essentially sealing the deal, and sending Post 3 to the state semifinal.
Brown hit a two-out triple, and scored on Colby Hanchey’s pinch-hit single. Brown finished the game 2-for-3, with his triple and three runs scored.
Ketchikan’s offense only continued from there, as Post 3 loaded the bases. Romano hit a two-run single, scoring Hanchey and Nedzwecky, who had reached base via a hit-by-pitch.
Hayden McGarrigan recorded the first two outs in the final frame. But after Palmer plated its third run, and had base runners on first and second, Jesse Loughman relieved McGarrigan to record the final out.
Ketchikan’s starter only had two strikeouts the entire game, utilizing his defense for the most part throughout his outing.
In addition to Nedzwecky’s three RBIs, Romano also drove in three runs, and was 3-for-4, with a double.
Hamilton also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3, with a run scored, and Gentry finished the day going 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Ketchikan scored its nine runs on a dozen hits.
Palmer could only muster five hits against McGarrigan. Loughman retired the only batter he faced.
Note: In addition to every state tournament matchup being livestreamed on the Alliance Sports Network, Post 3’s games also can be followed at iScoreSports.com, using “Ketchikan” in the search bar.
Post 3 gets an off day
Post 3 had an offday on Sunday, before Monday’s state semifinal matchup.
Ketchikan has won seven of its last eight games, only falling to South Anchorage Post 4 in that stretch — a 5-1 loss on Thursday, to open the state tournament Denali Pool bracket. It finished the Denali Pool play games 2-1, with its wins against Dimond and Palmer.
Eagle River beat Juneau Post 25 on Sunday, 3-2, to slide into the semifinal game against Ketchikan. Juneau will play South Anchorage in the tournament’s other semifinal, with the two winners playing for a state title on Tuesday.
Eagle River and Juneau were in the Alyeska Pool bracket.
Ketchikan hosted Eagle River from July 9 to July 11, dropping three of four. But aside from the series’ opening game — a 14-3 final in favor of Eagle River — the remaining three contests were back and forth battles.
Ketchikan won the series’ second game, 1-0, and dropped the third game, 3-2. It lost the final matchup 7-4, despite holding a 2-1 lead early in the game.