The West Valley Wolfpack rebounded Friday in the Division I tournament of the Alaska School Activities Association/First National Bank Alaska Softball State Championship in Anchorage.
The Wolfpack, after two pool-play losses Thursday, went 2-1 on Friday in the six-team, double-elimination tournament and put itself in contention for a top-three finish today at the Cartee Complex.
“The big difference is they just seemed more poised and more focused today,” West Valley head coach Bryan Mitchell said by phone.
West Valley also is the only Interior team playing today in the state softball or baseball tournament.
The Delta Junction Huskies and Hutchison Hawks were eliminated Friday from the Division II softball tournament at the Cartee fields.
A few miles from the Cartee complex, West Valley’s baseball team and the North Pole Patriots were eliminated from the state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.
No statistics were reported for the West Valley, Delta Junction and Hutchison games in the state softball tournaments.
The Wolfpack opened the Division I state softball tournament Thursday with losses of 14-9 to Anchorage’s Dimond Lynx and 10-4 to the Chugiak Mustangs.
West Valley started Friday with a 9-7 win over the East Anchorage Thunderbirds in a crossover pool-play game.
“Makayla (Mobley, sophomore) pitched a hell of a game,” Mitchell said. “She got them frustrated and they popping things up. She got the outs we needed.
“The game against East set us up for the rest of the day.”
The Wolfpack advanced to bracket play, where it lost 17-3 to Dimond.
The Wolfpack later assured itself of playing today in the state tournament after it defeated the Wasilla Warriors, 11-8. The game also was a rematch of the Railbelt Conference championship game, won 8-0 by West Valley on May 24 at the South Davis Fields in Fairbanks.
West Valley’s win Friday over Wasilla at state sent the Wolfpack to an elimination bracket game against East at 12:15 p.m. today.
The West Valley-East winner advances to the 2:45 p.m. elimination-bracket final against the loser of the winner’s bracket final between Dimond and the South Anchorage Wolverines. The Dimond-South winner advances to the Division I championship game at 5 p.m.
The winner of the elimination-bracket final also heads to the state championship game. Should the team from the elimination-bracket final win in the championship game, an if-necessary game will be played immediately afterward.
Hutchison lost 14-1 to the Kodiak Bears on Friday, and the Hawks were later eliminated after a 13-1 defeat to the Homer Mariners.
Hutchison was coming off Thursday’s pool-play losses to Homer (24-1) and Ketchikan Kings (23-2).
The Hawks placed third in the Mid Alaska Conference regular season but played in the state tournament in place of North Pole, which was the MAC runner-up but withdrew from the state tournament because of injuries to several players.
Delta Junction, which came to the state tournament as the Mid Alaska Conference champion, also finished winless at the Cartee fields.
“Quite honestly, the scores weren’t a great reflection of how we competed in this double-elimination (state) tournament,” Huskies head coach Jen Brant said.
On Friday, Delta Junction fell 11-6 to Homer and was eliminated after a 14-10 loss to Ketchikan, last year’s Division II state runner-up.
“The Ketchikan game was back and forth, and unfortunately we made a few more errors than they did, and they were critical errors,” Brant said. “In the game against Homer, our bats were alive and their bats were alive.
“It was truly a battle of the bats, but their bats were hitting the gaps and our bats were hitting their defense.”
Delta Junction started the tournament Thursday with a 12-7 loss to the Sitka Wolves and a 6-3 setback to Kodiak.
“They came (to state) with a positive attitude and they were ready to play their best, especially for the seniors,” Brant said.
Friday’s games were the last high school softball competition for Huskies seniors Ashley Bevard (catcher), Keely Harris (first baseman and pitcher), Leah Maxwell (right fielder), Megan Hancock (left fielder) and Journey Williams (second baseman).
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.