Last year’s version of the Eagle River football team wasn’t the same old Wolves. This year’s won’t be, either.
Long a doormat of Alaska football, Eagle River had its best season in program history in 2018, going 7-3 overall and reaching the Division II state championship game. The Wolves set numerous team records and defeated crosstown rival Chugiak for the first time.
But gone are many of last year’s stars, including the team’s all-state quarterback, Division II Coach of the Year Bob Adkins and — hopefully — any memories from the team’s forgettable past.
The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks have returned home after finishing fifth in the Alaska Baseball League standings and missing out on the league’s four-team playoff.
The Chinooks dropped their final home game of the season 14-2 to the Mat-Su Miners on Tuesday at Lee Jordan Field in Chugiak to finish 13-30 overall. The team finished 1.5 games behind the Peninsula Oilers for fourth place after losing five straight games to close out the year.
Six local American Legion baseball players have been named to the Alaska Legion Baseball Team of Excellence, including five Mustangs and a lone Wolf.
Named to the team as starting pitchers were Chugiak’s Camden Costanios and Sam Hall, along with Eagle River reliever Noah Lower. Chugiak catcher Trystan Costanios — who is set to start his college baseball career at Mt. Hood Community College later this year — was also named to the first team, as was the Mustangs’ slick-fielding shortstop Justin Nevells and Chugiak center fielder Chrstian Cambridge.
Former Chinook pitcher Conner Menez, who played in Chugiak-Eagle River during the 2015 Alaska Baseball League season, made his Major League Baseball debut Sunday for the San Francisco Giants.
The 24-year-old from The Masters College allowed two runs on three hits over five innings in the Giants’ 3-2 extra-inning win. He received a large ovation at Lee Jordan Field Sunday when public address announcer Dave Stroh announced Menez’s milestone start.
Anchorage’s Scott Patterson won a record sixth Crow Pass Crossing men’s title Saturday and Palmer’s Christy Marvin won her fifth straight women’s championship in the 23-mile wilderness race between Girdwood and Eagle River.
Patterson completed the course in 3 hours, 3 minutes, 39 seconds to best Tracen Knopp by nine minutes. Kenny Brewer, a 2011 Chugiak High grad, finished seventh to lead all locals in the race. Recent CHS grad Daniel Bausch was ninth in his debut race despite banging his knee after running into a rock.
Chugiak Post 33 clinched a berth in the Alaska American Legion Baseball playoffs last week, while Eagle River will find itself on the outside looking in.
Through July 16, the Mustangs were 12-2 in the ALB’s eight-team National Division, well within the top four spots that advance to the playoffs. The Wolves, however, were 5-12 and with just one league game to play could only finish as high as fifth. The Wolves will still play in the postseason, though they’ll have to try and win the Matson Invitational, which features the eight Legion teams that fail to reach the state playoffs.
Through Monday, the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks found themselves on the outside of the ABL playoff race, but still with a shot of overtaking the Peninsula Oilers for the fourth spot in the five-team league’s playoffs.
With more than a dozen games to play before the July 31 season finale at Lee Jordan Field, the Chinooks stood at 9-22, just 1.5 games behind the Oilers (12-22). Chugiak-Eagle River lost 7-6 on Monday to the Anchorage Bucs at Lee Jordan Field and dropped a 15-1 decision to the Mat-Su Miners Sunday.