The two high school baseball teams and three softball teams from the Interior learned Tuesday their matchups for this week’s state tournaments in Anchorage.
The Alaska School Activities Association/First National Bank Alaska Baseball State Championship takes place Thursday through Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium.
A few miles east of Mulcahy, the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Softball State Championship will have its Division I and II tournaments on the same days at the Cartee Complex.
Complete schedules for the baseball and softball state tournaments are available at www.asaa.org.
The West Valley Wolfpack and North Pole Patriots return to the state baseball tournament for the second year in a row after the Wolfpack edged the Patriots 2-1 last Saturday in the Mid Alaska Conference tournament’s championship game at Marlin Field.
“We’re going to see some tough teams (at state) and this helps our confidence factor in each other,” West Valley head coach Tony Chiu said of the victory in the MAC final.
West Valley, the two-time defending MAC postseason champion, opens the state tournament against the West Anchorage Eagles, the Cook Inlet Conference runners-up, at 1 p.m. Thursday at Mulachy.
If West Valley wins its first-round contest, it advances to a semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday’s game between the Southeast Conference champions Ketchikan Kings and Southcentral Conference runners-up Colony Knights, of Palmer.
A loss sends West Valley to an elimination game at 10 a.m. Friday against the Ketchikan-Colony loser.
West Valley lost its first two games of last year’s tournament — 11-0 to Ketchikan and 4-3 to the Palmer Moose.
North Pole, the two-time defending MAC runners-up, starts this year’s state tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday with a rematch against the Chugiak Mustangs, the reigning CIC champions.
The Patriots lost 5-4 to the Mustangs in an elimination game last year. North Pole opened the 2018 tournament 16-4 loss to Juneau-Douglas.
If North Pole wins Thursday, it advances to a semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday against either the Southcentral champions Wasilla Warriors or the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears, the reigning Southeast runners-up who captured the state baseball title last year.
A loss Thursday puts the Patriots in an elimination contest at 1 p.m. Friday against the Warriors-Crimson Bears loser.
The state tournament’s championship game is set for 3 p.m. Saturday. The third- and fifth-place game will be played at 12:30 p.m., and the fourth- and sixth-place contest is scheduled for 10 a.m.
It’s usually the top two teams in the Mid Alaska Conference’s regular season that advance to the Division II state tournament.
However, North Pole, this year’s MAC runner-up, couldn’t go to the state tournament because of injuries. Patriots head coach Todd Shallock, before the Railbelt Conference championship game last Friday at the South Davis Fields, said five of his team’s nine starters were suffering from injuries.
The Hutchison Hawks, who placed third in the MAC’s regular season, replaced North Pole in this year’s Division II state tournament. It’s Hutchison’s first appearance in the state tournament since a third-place finish in 2017.
“They’re excited, they’re ready to go and ready to play,” Hutchison head coach Jill Salway said by phone Tuesday. “They understand this opportunity and what lies before them.
“They know they have to work together and play a strong game in order to come out on top.”
Teams in the Division I and II state tournaments are guaranteed three games each. Each state tournament features six teams.
Pool-play games in each tournament take place Thursday. Crossover play and bracket games will be played Friday.
More bracket games and the championship games are scheduled Saturday.
Hutchison takes on the Homer Mariners at 2:45 p.m. Thursday and face the Ketchikan Kings, last year’s state runners-up, at 5 p.m.
The Delta Junction Huskies, the reigning MAC champions who placed third in last year’s state tournament, open this year’s Division II competition on Thursday against the Sitka Wolves at 12:15 p.m., and the Kodiak Bears at 5 p.m.
The West Valley Wolfpack returned to the Division I state tournament after earning the school’s first Raibelt Conference Tournament title since 1994. The Wolfpack defeated the Wasilla Warriors 8-0 last Friday in the Railbelt title game at the South Davis Fields.
West Valley begins the Division I state tournament at 10 a.m. Thursday against the Dimond Lynx, of Anchorage. The Wolfpack face the Chugiak Mustangs at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The championship game for the Division II state tournament is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. Should it be required, an if-necessary game will be played afterwards.
The Division I state title game is slated for 5 p.m. In case an if-necessary game arises, it also will be played afterwards.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.