The Sitka Wolves are the state high school baseball champions.
Sitka defeated South Anchorage 11-10, in the final game of the state tournament on Saturday afternoon (6-7-14).
It was a wet, cold affair at Sitka’s Moller Park as the two teams — both undefeated in tournament play — squared off, after two days of baseball in the sunshine.
Sitka coach Ed Conway was glad his team made it to the finals, after all the effort that went into bringing the state baseball tournament to Southeast Alaska for the first time.
“It was one of those deals where you kind of dream of it, when they were putting this whole thing together, and you just don’t think it’s going to come true. But we started peaking at the right time.”
The Wolves jumped to an early 4-to-nothing lead, and held it through two innings. In the third, however, pitcher Fred Elliot gave up six runs — including a grand slam — and the Wolves fell behind South 4 – 6.
But South could not keep a lead in the game — in fact, the lead changed hands 5 times over six innings. Every time South went ahead, Sitka managed to win back the deficit, plus a little more.
Senior Brian Way relieved Elliot and pitched three solid innings. Coach Conway then opted to put senior Erikson Fish on the mound for the final seventh inning.
Fish had pitched a five-inning no-hitter the night before, and he struggled to find his rhythm, with the Wolves holding a one-run lead.
He walked the first batter, and eventually loaded the bases with two outs.
“The first batter, I was a little shaky, couldn’t throw him strikes. After that, I started throwing strikes, and had a better feel than that first batter. But once we had the two outs, I knew there was no way that guy on third was scoring. Not a chance.”
Fish struck out the final batter to retire the side, and give the Wolves the state championship.
Speaking of retirement, coach Ed Conway is hanging up his spikes after nearly two decades managing Sitka baseball. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey asked him about making the transition from the dugout to the bleachers.
KCAW – Is it going to be difficult for you to sit in the stands?
CONWAY – No. It’s going to be easy. Real easy.
This is Conway’s fourth state baseball championship coaching Sitka. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 the Wolves “three-peated” the state title.