Caden Wyman batted last for North Pole against the Lathrop Malemutes in Thursday afternoon’s first-round game of the Mid Alaska Conference Baseball Tournament.
The senior second baseman had only one hit at Marlin Field but it proved to be the biggest hit for the Patriots
Wyman launched a one-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the second inning and it proved to be the momentum starter for North Pole’s 12-2 victory.
Wyman drove in Brock Weatherson to break a 1-1 tie. After’s Wyman’s RBI contribution, third-seeded North Pole never trailed again and the Patriots advanced to a semifinal at 6 p.m. today against the second-seeded Delta Junction Huskies, who won 11-1 over the seventh-seeded Eielson Ravens later Thursday.
“For our team, whenever we get some good hits and some good momentum, the rest of the game just goes well for us,” said Wyman, who finished 1 for 2 with the RBI and a run scored in the six-inning contest against the sixth-seeded Malemutes.
“When we get good pitching, we get good batting. So usually, it just goes with each other. And usually, the hits start coming in when we do great fielding.”
Momentum seems contagious for the Patriots, whose 8-4 overall record includes wins in their last six games.
“That’s (momentum) where we struggled midseason,” North Pole head coach James Fischer said. “We’d get a couple of guys on (base) but we just couldn’t put the ball in play.
“Where now, the last half of the season we just went 6-0 right here on this run and now we’re making the plays we need to.”
Fischer said the Patriots have been selecting good pitches in at-bats during the win streak.
“They’re putting the ball in play hard and making quality at-bats,” Fischer said.
North Pole outhit Lathrop 10-5 and committed one error to the Malemutes’ three.
Lathrop led 1-0 in the bottom of the second with an RBI single from Hunter Meredith, who also the Malemutes’ No. 9 batter. Dane Soderlund scored Lathrop’s other run on an error in the fifth.
“We didn’t play fundamental baseball. We decided to let errors beat us up,” said Malemutes assistant head coach Ray Pulsifer. “Unfortunately, some of them were mental errors and some were physical errors.
“Physical errors are a part of baseball, but mental errors will kill you, and the momentum (in the top of the second) got away from us.”
Alex Kazense drove in three runs for the Patriots during a 1-for-4 day at the plate. Ben Green went 1 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Alex Garcia and Wyatt Kammer each had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Gavin Fischer scored three times and had a hit, while Caden Donald contributed two runs and a hit.
North Pole pitcher Alex Staker had a hit and a RBI. On the mound, he struck out four, allowed five runs and walked three while going the distance.
Lathrop starter Chase Reed had a game-high six strikeouts while walking four and allowing nine runs and eight hits in five innings. Hatcher Wendt pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing two hits, four walks and three runs.
Izak Lohrke, Jake Footit and Gabe Silas combined to throw a no-hitter to lead to the fourth-seeded Monroe Catholic Rams to a 2-1 victory over the fifth-seeded Hutchison Hawks.
Lohrke struck out 14 and walked six. He allowed the Hawks’ game-tying run in the top of the sixth on Isaac Roehl’s sacrifice fly, which scored Ryan Young, who reached base on a walk.
Roehl also pitched for the distance, striking out four while allowing eight hits.
Josh Gray had two hits for the Rams, including an RBI double for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Jake Footit scored on Gray’s double and in the bottom of the sixth, he grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Lohrke for the game-winning run.