Juneau teams get ‘Bonck’ed at regionals

  • By LARRY JOHANSEN
  • Tuesday, May 31, 2016 1:00am
  • Sports

Ketchikan’s Nathan Bonck ended the season for both Juneau teams participating in the Southeast Region V high school baseball tournament in Petersburg last weekend.

On Friday, the 2015 Alaska Player of the year faced Thunder Mountain High School in an elimination game. The tall left-hander worked the corners with a devastating curve ball that the team from Thunder Mountain could not get a bat on. Bonck would record 15 strike outs and allowed no hits in the 6-0 victory.

Thunder Mountain sophomore Philip Wall pitched well and kept his team close until the fifth inning, when Kayhi would add four runs to put the game out of reach. The Falcons picked up valuable experience for a young team that is mostly sophomores and freshmen.

The Kayhi victory put them into a battle with arch rival Juneau-Douglas High School in a game to decide who would play in the championship game against Sitka and also qualify for the state tournament. The game would be a pitcher’s duel between Nate Fousel and Donovan McCurley. JDHS scored a run in the second inning when Kasey Watts led off with a double. Ketchikan answered with two runs in the third. Both teams played exceptional defense.

In the fifth inning, Kayhi’s Mo Bullock would crash into the fence in an all-out attempt to catch a foul ball without regard for personal mishap. In the sixth inning, JDHS first baseman Watts dove to his left and went airborne to snag a line drive.

The score remained 2-1 going into the final at bat for JDHS. The first batter, Niko Herbert, singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Riley Griffin. Devin Williams then executed a perfect drag bunt, putting the tying and winning runs on first and third base for the Bears with just one out.

Leadoff batter Michael Cesar stepped to the plate for the Bears and on a two-one count lined a shot down the right field line. As baseball fate would have it, the 6-foot-5 Nathan Bonck was holding Williams to first base, putting him in a position to jump and snag the ball and step on the bag for a double play ending the Juneau threat. It was most likely a game-saving play, with the speedy Williams already half way to second base. It was déjà vu for the Juneau team, which lost to Ketchikan last year on a triple play.

In the championship game, Sitka defeated Ketchikan 10-2 to win the Region V tournament and gained the first seed in the state tournament. Finn Collins and Zeb Storie were named to the all-conference team for the Falcons. For the Crimson Bears, Bryce Swofford, Alex Muir, Donovan McCurley and Michael Cesar were named to the team. The all-academic team included Muir and Williams for the Crimson Bears, and Finn Collins and Sejin Oh for the Falcons.

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