Wasilla baseball comes back to top Soldotna

Posted: Sunday, May 23, 2010

WASILLA -- As Myrl Thompson watched Steven Steger smack a pitch deep over the left field fence during Soldotna's seven-run fourth inning Friday, the Wasilla head coach couldn't help but think of his team's 20-8 loss to Soldotna last weekend.

Wasilla led 6-2 before Soldotna used a big inning to grab the 12-run win. And on Friday, as Steger capped a seven-run inning with a three-run shot, it looked like the Stars might do it to the Warriors one more time. But a final Warriors rally trumped the Stars comeback.

The Warriors scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to post a 9-8 win over Soldotna at the Wasilla Senior Field.

"I had that thought cross my mind when that No. 9 batter hit the home run," Thompson said, referring to Soldotna's previous come-from-behind win over the Warriors.

Wasilla prevented a repeat of last week with five unanswered runs, and the Warriors scored their second come-from-behind victory in as many games and fourth of the season.

"We've come from behind in quite a number of games this year," Thompson said. "It's easy to say you've got to remain calm and play the whole seven. But sometimes that's easier said than done."

The Warriors also used a monster rally to beat Palmer 20-8 on Wednesday.

"We have the big innings, but we need to be more consistent instead of waiting until the last three innings of the game," Wasilla senior Dusty Wisdom said.

Senior Chris Bydlon tied the game at 8-8 in the bottom of the sixth, scoring on Keith Pulver's single to center field. Junior David Newman posted the go-ahead run, scoring on a passed ball.

Bydlon reached on an error to start the inning and Wasilla cut into Soldotna's lead in the fifth, scoring two runs on a Stars error. Soldotna head coach Rob Quelland said mistakes proved to be the difference in the game.

"Errors," Quelland said. "Most (were) committed by the pitchers themselves."

Soldotna took an 8-5 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but the Warriors closed the gap with Trevor Fitchett's run-scoring bloop single and a two-run Soldotna error.

With two Warriors on, Soldotna starter DJ Stilchin tried to pick Eric Washington off at third base, but sent the throw to the left field fence.

"I knew that pitcher was antsy. I told Washington to get down the line a little bit," Thompson said. "You've got to give Washington credit. He got in his head and drew that throw."

Washington scored easily and Wisdom trucked around from second to cut Soldotna's lead to 8-7.

"I've run these kids on the base paths for so long, I'm a pretty good judge of their speed," Thompson said about Wisdom's effort to make it a one-run game. "I saw how far out the ball was, how far away the fielder was to it, and I thought he could make it. I just sent him and told him to go as hard as he could. And he did. That was a pretty big run."

After watching Wasilla score twice on errors and once on a passed ball during the third, Soldotna did the bulk of its damage in the fourth. The Stars scored seven runs on five hits during an inning capped by the Steger blast.

Jake Darrow and Mitchell Thompson led off the fourth with back-to-back singles. Both scored on a Wasilla error.

With the bases loaded, Mitchell Daugherty tied the score at 4-4 with a two-run single to center field. Steger followed with his home run.

"It was an impressive one. He hit one at home last week, but this is a much bigger field than where we play at our house," Quellend said. "It's always nice to see one of the seniors who have committed to this program from the beginning come out and do that."

Steger finished 2-for-3 with the three RBIs. Thompson led the Stars with three hits. Jake Darrow and Tyler Marcuson had two hits each.

Pulver finished 3-for-3 with an RBI for the Warriors.

"He's stepped up," Wisdom said of Pulver.

Bydlon, Newman and Washington were on base four times during the win.

Wisdom started on the mound and Cody Pfeifer earned the win after pitching 2 2/3 innings of relief. Pfeifer allowed one hit and struck out four. He needed only seven pitches to retire the side in the top of the seventh.

Contact Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

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