South joins in to lead Service for third straight Alaska high school baseball title

South Anchorage High School rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday, putting three runs on the board to stun Service 3-2 and win the Alaska State Division I baseball tournament in Sitka.

The championship is the third straight for the Wolverines, and South coach Taylor Nerland said this year’s team included more inexperienced players who came in and worked hard to exceed expectations.

“Honestly, this one was a little more special than the previous two,” Nerland wrote in an email response to ADN. “Mostly because in the last two seasons we graduated 26 players (15 seniors in 2021, 11 last year) and going into the season, there weren’t a lot of people outside of our program who thought we could win it again.”

South finished the season 19-2 and posted a combined mark of 62-2 over the three seasons.

Despite that success, Nerland said the Wolverines have been in several close games this season. And so playing in a highly competitive game against an “extremely talented service team” was not unusual territory for South.

“Of our 21 wins this year, 11 of them were down at some point in the game,” he said. “And we were 8-1 in one-run games during the season. It’s not a place we would have wanted to be, but the grit and determination we brought to those games leading up to[the state tournament]gave us the confidence to keep working until the final out was called.”

The team had also won three games during the season in which they came back in the late inning, according to Nerland.

According to the Alaska Legion Baseball site, which helps run the state tournament, the South’s Ben Neuberger homered to start the seventh-inning rally and cut Service’s lead to 2-1.

Later in the inning, Wolverines senior Luke Beard drove in teammate Carson Maltby for the game-winning run, sealing the comeback and the third straight state title.

The South overcame a terrific outing from Service pitcher Andrew Hickman, who shutout the Wolverines in six innings and didn’t allow a hit in five.

Serve scored once in the fourth inning and added another in the top of the seventh to take a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning. That set the stage for the South’s comeback, where after Neuberger’s home run, Blake Peterson singled and then scored on a tight play with Gavin Alexander bunting.

Neuberger, Beard, Peterson, and Alexander were all seniors on the team, and Nerland said that watching the senior class develop the team into a champion was the highlight of the season.

“As coaches, you’re always thinking about your graduating senior group and what you’re going to miss from them before next year (stuff on and off the field),” he said. “This group is a fun, energetic group, that at the start of the season, we weren’t sure how it would all fit together.”

In the Division II tournament played in Palmer, Soldotna outscored rival Kenai Central 14-3 to win the state title.

ASAA Division I Baseball State Tournament


Quarter finals

Cologne 5, Juneau-Douglas 1

Sur 4, Rio Aguila 3

Service 8, Sitka 7

Chugiak 4, West Valley 3



Service 14, Chugiak 0

South 5, Colony 1


Eagle River 2, Juneau-Douglas 1

Sitka 7, West Valley 2


Third/Fifth Place

Chugiak 7, Colony 2

Fourth/Sixth Place

Rio Aguila 6, Sitka 3


South 3, Service 2

ASAA Division II State Baseball Tournament


Quarter finals

North Pole 13, Houston 3

Soldotna 12, Palmer 9

Kodiak 5, Saint Petersburg 1

kenai center 9,

catholic monroe 6



Soldotna 8, North Pole 3

Kenai Central 14, Kodiak 1


Palmer 12, Houston 9

Petersburg 12, Monroe Catholic 4



Palmer 15, Saint Petersburg 7

Third place

Kodiak 8, North Pole 6


Soldotna 14, Kenai Central 3

All Baseball DI Tournament

JT Thompson, Rio Aguila; Preston Rau, Chugiak; Brayden Parrent, Cologne; Tanner Stinson, Sitka; Olav Moeller, West Valley; Eli Crupi, Juneau-Douglas; Gavin Partch, South Anchorage; Christian hunter, service; Kaden Bevegni, South Anchorage; Jake Rafferty, Service; Coen Niclai, Service; Ben Neuberger, South Anchorage

DII All Baseball Tournament

Reed Cramer, Palmer; Hunter Williams, Kodiak; Andrew Pieh, Soldotna; Kieran Cabrall, Petersburg; Connor Lanser, North Pole; Braden Smith, Kenai center; Malakai Olson, Kodiak; Landon Kitzman, Palmer; Jack Engell, Petersburg; Logan Fischer, North Pole; Charlie Chamberlain, Kenai Central; Derrick Jones, Soldotna