Baseball is back — wins for Service, South on opening day for non-league games – Alaska Dispatch News

The familiar clank of bat against ball, fans munching on pretzels and hot dogs in the stands and young children scampering to be the first to the treasured foul balls — yes, baseball has returned from its winter hiatus.

The prep baseball season began Saturday with three non-league games at Bartlett High. Service coach Willie Paul said he’s never seen the season start this early in his 14 seasons as a player and a coach in Anchorage.

“We’re excited — we’ve never been on the field this early before,” Paul said. “That’s tremendous. With this turf out here, it really opens up all kinds of doors.

“I remember taking sponges out on the field, soaking up puddles just to be able to hopefully have our first regular season game (in previous seasons).”

Teams will continue playing non-league games through April. Cook Inlet Conference games start May 2 with South against East at Mulcahy Stadium and Dimond at Bartlett.

Service 9, Eagle River 2

Being the first baseball game of the season for both teams, Service and Eagle River started slow in their afternoon matchup as they worked out the kinks and rust.

Service’s Nick Hall got the game rolling with an RBI triple in the top of the third inning. The big hit spurred the Cougars to a 9-2 win. They scored in each of the remaining five innings and never trailed.

“He put the barrel to the ball on that and really drove it all the way to the wall,” Paul said. “That kind of started a rally and a lot of guys followed that up.”

Service scored again in the fourth inning and Eagle River got on the scoreboard when a batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 2-1.

The Cougars put the game out of reach in the fifth inning when two runs scored on a wild pitch.

In total, Service finished with nine hits and four RBIs to one and two respectively for Eagle River. The Wolves walked 10 batters to six for the Cougars.

“I think our pitching really did well today,” said Cobey Cupp, who had two hits and two runs in two at-bats for Service. “I think our bats really came in handy too late in the game. We had a slow start, but as the game went on, we really picked it up.”

Service used seven pitchers in seven innings and rotated in 13 players to get everyone playing time in the first game.

“Being the first time seeing live pitching … we really wanted to get all of our guys some time, get all of our pitchers time on the mound to see batters,” Paul said. “So we went through seven different pitchers in seven innings, giving everybody a little bit of action, and it worked out for us.”

South 10, Colony 0

It didn’t take long for South to jump to a big lead in its 10-0 baseball win over Colony.

Cleanup hitter Juilito Fazzini smashed a three-run home run in the first inning to put the Wolverines up for good.

Parker Johnson, one of three South pitchers who combined for a one-hitter, went 3 of 3 with two RBIs and two runs.

Starting pitcher Jonny Homza and Chase Subitch also contributed to the six-inning one-hitter.

There was no report from the West-Bartlett game.