Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau’s Post 25 American Legion baseball team plays in the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament (NWCART) at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium beginning Friday. The tournament features the second place teams from American Legion state tournaments across the pacific northwest.
“These teams coming in are not slouches,” Post 25 co-coach Joe Tompkins said. “The are second in their state tournaments. We can do well. We have to be ready to field. We get to play some more baseball and the guys find out they can play with teams from down south.”
A record five Alaska teams are in the NWCART field as a result of Oregon, Utah and Washington not sending teams. The host site is usually allowed one extra team.
The Anchorage class A Regional tournament will feature AA Alaska state runner-up South, third place Juneau, fourth place Palmer and fifth place Service , as well as at large bid Wasilla and teams from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Juneau plays Palmer at 1 p.m. Friday.
Service will be making its fifth NWCART appearance. South is playing in the tournament for a fourth time while Juneau and Wasilla are both here for a third time. Palmer is making its NWCART debut.
Joining the Alaska teams will be the Wyoming state champion Cody Cubs; the Idaho state champion Marsh Valley Eagles; and the Montana state champion Gallatin Valley Outlaws.
A team from Alaska has never won the NWCART.
In 2019, the Wasilla Post 35 Road Warriors advanced to the title game. In 2014, the Juneau Post 25 Midnight Suns made the final four. In 2013, the South Post 4 Wolverines finished third.
Friday’s games include Montana vs Idaho, Juneau vs Palmer, South vs Service and Wyoming vs Wasilla.
Post 25 will be calling up some players from their American Legion A team and depending on the younger AA players who have been in back-up positions through the season as they fill spots vacated by players who chose not to attend due to funding and COVID concerns.
The team will still have a solid foundation with a possible starting lineup of Christian Ludeman anchoring first base, Landon Simonson on the hot corner at third base, Kasen Ludeman at second, Austin McCurley at shortstop, Olin Rawson in left field, Bodhi Nelson or Joe Aline in right field and one of the state’s best center fielders in Porter Nelson. Kai Schmidt or McCurley will have to take over battery duties behind the plate and Rawson or Garrison Luben will fill a starting spot on the bump.
“We are bringing up Bodhi Nelson and Rory Hayes and will get more playing time from Joe Aline, Kasen Ludeman and Landon Simonson,” Tompkins said. “I hope this keeps their motor going for the love of the game and helps keep Juneau baseball going. These are the young guns that will be here for longer. And if they get their friends out there practicing all the time and working hard for their high school it is going to keep American Legion going. And American Legion helps kids get into college, it brings college coaches up here scouting.”
Games can be seen live on alaskalegion.com.
Eagle River won the Alaska AA state tournament over South 1-0 on July 26 and advanced to the AA Northwest Regional in Wyoming where they lost their first game on Wednesday 2-1 to Gillette, Wyoming and were eliminated from the tournament by Helena, Montana 13-0 today. This was the Eagle River’s first trip to the Northwest Regionals after winning their first state championship. The state of Alaska owns two wins at Northwest Regionals over the last dozen years - one by Juneau in 2018 and one by South in 2009.
Above - The NWCART schedule. Below - Juneau's Porter Nelson slides safely into second base against Dimond.
Below - Juneau coach Joe Tompkins holds up base runner Olin Rawson in early season action.