ANCHORAGE — Hollywood producers couldn’t have scripted what transpired at Mulcahy Stadium on Friday night.
Kodiak Post 17, a late entry into the 66th American Legion Baseball State Championships when two teams failed to file paperwork on time, produced one of the biggest upsets in Alaska Legion baseball history.
The Bears, sporting the only losing record in the tournament with a 10-16 mark, stunned the defending champion and No. 1 seed Juneau Midnight Sun 3-1 in the opening round.
Juneau had a 23-1 record and finished 10 games ahead of Kodiak in the 18-game league season.
The last time a No.8 upset a top seed was in 2014 when South upended Wasilla 11-6 en route to winning the championship. South advanced to state by knocking off Kodiak in a winner-to-state game on the final day of the season.
This was the Bears’ first Legion state tournament appearance since 1992 and first win since 1986.
Wearing blue throwback uniforms from Kodiak High School’s 2004 undefeated state championship team, the Bears played like champions.
Juneau broke up a scoreless game in the fifth inning on an RBI double.
The Bears answered with a three-run rally in the sixth, which was sparked by patience at the plate — five walks and a hit batter — and a key go-ahead single by TJ Foxworthy.
The inning started with a strikeout, then the Bears loaded the bases when Jace Crall was plunked with a pitch and Nathan James and Shaun Walton earned walks.
Khyler Kane followed with a walk that brought in Kodiak’s first run. One pitch later, Foxworthy notched his team’s second hit — a grounder past the shortstop — to bring in James and give Kodiak a 2-1 lead.
Jack Malloy gave the Bears their third run on a bases-loaded walk.
Malloy faced the minimum in the final two innings to preserve the historic victory. The game ended on a double play when Michael Cesar - Alaska’s Gatorade Player of the Year, flied out to center fielder Anders Hocum, who then fired the ball to Kane at second to double up Kasey Watts, who was running on the pitch.
Malloy held a potent Juneau offense to one run and two hits over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Foxworthy was just as good, pitching 3 1/3 shutout innings to start the game.
Juneau left the bases loaded twice and stranded nine runners on base.
The Bears’ defense was spectacular, as Crall made a diving catch in right field that held runners on third and second. Walton scooped up to hard hit grounders at first that swatted away Juneau rallies.
Kodiak failed to duplicate Friday’s mammoth upset, falling to West Anchorage 10-3.
The loss dropped Post 17 (11-17) into an elimination game against Kenai Post 20 Sunday afternoon (look for results in Tuesday’s paper). Kenai, after losing to Dimond in the opener, stayed alive by eliminating Service on Saturday.
A victory over Kenai pushes Kodiak one win away from Tuesday’s championship game.
West slugged 13 hits to advance in the bracket. Post 1, which split with Kodiak during the regular season, scored nine of its 10 runs in thr fourth and fifth innings.
A Nathan James single that scored Malloy and Luke James put Kodiak up 2-0 in the first.
West answered with a run in the bottom of the first. It remained that way until the fourth when the Eagles scored five times and chased starter Shaun Walton.
Walton, who allowed six runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Luke James gave up four runs — three earned in 2/3 of an inning, while Hunter Williams pitched two scoreless frames and, at the age of 13, recorded a strikeout.
Chase Good had an RBI single in the seventh, while Walton and Hocum also recorded singles.
Juneau stayed alive in the tournament by eliminating South, while Dimond remained undefeated, handing Chugiak its first lo
Kodiak 3, Juneau 1
Kodiak 000 003 0 — 3 2 0
Juneau 000 010 0 — 1 6 0
Foxworthy, Malloy (4) and N. James. G. Storie, Echiverri (4), Z. Storie (6) and Ceaser.
RBI: Kodiak - Malloy, Kane, Foxworthy. Juneau — Mendoza. Double: Juneau — Mendoza. Two hits: Juneau — Mendoza.
Winning pitcher — Malloy (struck out one, walked one). Losing pitcher — Echiverri (struck out three, walked five).
West 10, Kodiak 3
Kodiak 200 000 1 — 3 6 2
West 100 540 x — 10 13 2
Tillman, Nunez (7) and Langnes. Walton, L. James (4), Williams (5) and N. James.
RBI: Kodiak — Good, N. James 2. West — Danemeyer, Mack, J. Opinsky, Langnes, N. Opinsky 3, Lebo 2. Triple: West — Wilson. Three hits: West — Danmeyer. Two hits: West — Mack, Wilson, N. Opinsky, Tillman.
Winning pitcher — Tillman (struck out six, walked two). Losing pitcher — Walton (struck out one, walked none).