Baseball

Monroe Catholic’s Shaun Conwell pitches to a Delta player during Friday nights game at Growden Park. Hart Pisani/News-Miner.

It’s been two years since an Alaskan high school baseball or softball team has been able to play a season, let alone hoist a state championship trophy.

By the end of this week, that will change.

The ASAA State Baseball and Softball Tournaments begin this Thursday in Anchorage. There will be two baseball teams representing Fairbanks, both at the DII level. There will be three softball teams from the area, one in the DI tournament and two in the DII tournament.

In baseball, the two teams are North Pole and Monroe Catholic. The Patriots benefited from a red hot start and a Regional Championship to make the field. The Rams, on the other hand, overcame a slow start and were regional runner-up. Monroe will start the bracket off with a 10 a.m. game against Soldotna. The Pats will play the penultimate game of the day with 4 p.m. showdown against Petersburg. All tournament games will be played at Wasilla.

Should Monroe advance, they’ll play the winner of Palmer-Grace Christian Friday at 7 p.m. North Pole would face the winner of Kodiak and Homer at 4 p.m. on Friday. The State Championship game will be played Saturday at 3 p.m. Should one or both teams lose, they will enter the consolation bracket.

The softball tournament is far more complex. Each team will play two games on Thursday in Pool Play. At the DII level, Delta will play Ketchikan at 10 a.m. and Kodiak at 5 p.m. while North Pole will play Homer at 10 a.m. and Juneau-Douglas at 12:15 p.m. In the DI tournament, West Valley will play South Anchorage at 12:15 p.m. and East Anchorage at 2:45 p.m.

From Pool Play, the bracket will be set for Friday. The first place finishers will receive a bye while the second and third place finishers will face off to see who goes to the losers bracket. Whichever team emerges from the losers bracket will get a chance to face the team that remained undefeated in bracket play. Should the team from the winners bracket win that game, they’ll be crowned state champions. If they lose game one, they’ll play a second game immediately after with the winner of that game being crowned champion.

All games will be streamed on NFHS.com. Good luck to our area schools this week.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.