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Story Last modified at 10:58 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Early exit for Chugiak
Mustang softball team sees state dream die early

BY MATT TUNSETH
Alaska Star

photo:Sports

Chugiak shortstop Jessica Tramp tags a Dimond runner trying to steal second base during the Lynx's 9-0 win in the state softball tournament at Cartee Fields in Anchorage.
STAR PHOTOs BY MATT TUNSETH

A Chugiak softball team that dreamed of playing in the final game of the state tournament didn't even make it past the first day.

The Mustangs fell twice on Day 1 of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Large Schools Softball Tournament, dropping a 9-0 decision to Dimond and falling 9-4 to East at Cartee Fields in Anchorage.

"It's a little disappointing obviously and a little disheartening because I did have big expectations for this team," coach Jim Huber said.

Huber's high expectations were lived up to in the 9 a.m. tournament opener against Lathrop. In that one, pitcher Jessica Tramp gave up five hits and struck out eight and Brooke Dunlap crushed a solo homer to key a 5-0 victory that advanced the Mustangs into a winner's bracket game against Dimond.

"Everybody hit, all the way through the lineup," Huber said.

Kacey Brooker went 3-for-3 against the Malemutes to earn game MVP honors.

"After winning that first game, you're thinking, 'We're just where we want to be,'" Huber said.

Things changed in a quick hurry against Dimond, which rode ace lefthander Jacki Wood to a dominant victory.

"It was ugly," Huber said.

Wood struck out 11 Chugiak batters and Brittney Coleman went 3-for-3 with a home run for the Lynx.

Ashley Van Ryn struck out three batters for Chugiak and Taylor Bakker, Brooke Dunlap and Kristen Lessard each managed a hit off Wood.

The senior hurler baffled the Mustangs with basically one pitch, a low fastball on the outside corner that had Chugiak players pounding the ground in frustration one more than one occasion.

photo:Sports

Chugiak third baseman Brooke Dunlap (9) and Tramp argue a call during the Mustangs' 9-4 loss to East in the state large schools softball tournament at Cartee Fields in Anchorage on June 3. Dunlap claimed she had tagged an East baserunner who was initially called safe. Umpires eventually ruled Dunlap did tag the runner out.
STAR PHOTOs BY MATT TUNSETH

"Not very good at bats against Dimond," Huber said.

Dimond went on to play for a state title against West, which ended up winning back-to-back games against the Lynx to claim the state championship on June 4.

The Dimond loss dropped Chugiak into the loser's bracket and a must-win game against the T-Birds.

East opened the game with a bang when Erika Meyerson hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first off of Tramp.

Chugiak, which went 1-1 against East during the regular season, cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the third on singles by Taylor Bakker and Mollie Matthis and back-to-back bunts by Dunlap and Brooker.

East broke things open in the bottom half of the inning, sending 10 hitters to the plate and scoring five runs on four hits, two walks and a pair of errors.

Bakker finished 2-for-3 and Brooker had an RBI double for Chugiak, which finished the season 18-7.

The Mustangs graduated five seniors, including a trio of three-year starters in Dunlap, Van Ryn and Karly Matson, along with two-year starter Kristen Lessard. Dunlap was a captain and first-team All-CIC third baseman this season, while Matson and Lessard – who shared the catching duties – were also team captains. Also gone next season will be outfielder Sophie Mundell.

Huber said the losses will hurt, but he's hopeful his younger players will be ready to fill the graduation holes next season.

"That's all you can do," he said. "We'll just move forward."

Former Mustang wraps junior season

Marietta (Ohio) College junior pitcher Hazel Brogdon recently finished up her third season of college ball for the Pioneers.

Brogdon, a 2008 Chugiak High graduate, finished second on the team in appearances, going 3-2 with a 5.74 ERA in 15 games for the team, which went 19-14 and finished fifth in the Division III Ohio Athletic Conference.

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com.



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.