Alaska 20 saw its season end this past Sunday with a 4-3 loss to Chugiak at the Alliance State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.
Alaska 20 finished 0-3 in its four-team group at the eight-team tourney, making advancement impossible.
“We’re just young for the big stage,” Alaska 20 coach Robb Quelland said after his squad finished 6-23 overall. “It was really nice to see the players get experience and see what it’s like to play in big games.”
Davey Belger came up with a solid outing for Alaska 20, working the first six innings and allowing three runs and eight hits while walking two and striking out one.
However, Zach Cole kept Alaska 20 off the board for the first first six innings, leaving the local nine with a 3-0 deficit entering the top of the seventh inning.
Alaska 20 was able to rally in the top of the seventh inning. Daltyn Deborski and Karl Wickstrom both led off with walks to chase Cole. Justin Nevells came on in relief and committed an error allowing Jacob Belger to reach and Deborski to score.
Mose Hayes then hit a sacrifice fly allowing Wickstrom to score, then Tanner Ussing had a clutch, two-out single to score Belger and tie the game.
Harrison Metz relieved Davey Belger to start the bottom of the seventh. Nevells and Riley Fugere led off with singles, then Connor Lanehart singled through a drawn-in infield to end the game.
Alaska 20 had three hits to the 11 of Chugiak. In addition to Ussing, Sam Berry singled and Metz doubled.
Quelland said the lone player from the team to age out is Ussing, who nabbed first-team Team of Excellence honors at utility player. Hayes was on the first team at infield, while Quelland was a co-coach of the year. Metz was a second-team infielder.
“I’ve coached him more years than I can remember — all the way up from Little League,” Quelland said of Ussing. “His freshman year at SoHi, he was the real deal, but he had a shoulder injury and it’s taken him almost two-plus years to get back to what we saw freshman year.”
Quelland said the rest of the team will have to put in work to be able to compete at state.
“They got a look at what it takes to compete day in and day out in this league,” Quelland said. “A lot of it is going to fall back on them and what they do in the offseason.”
Quelland said it was key for Alaska 20’s players to get in almost 30 games in this summer of the new coronavirus, but he pointed out teams from Anchorage and the Valley also had Alliance JV and comp teams playing this summer.
“It’s a real eye-opener to see the Valley and Anchorage and how much baseball they’re playing up here,” Quelland said. “We’re going to probably be behind the curve for next year.”