South Wolverines gets pitcher’s gem and quick win in state baseball championship
Dylan Maltby took possession of the Championship trophy for several minutes after Saturday’s awards ceremony at the Division I baseball tournament at Mulcahy Stadium. The material was with him for several photos and several post-game speeches from his coaches.
It wasn’t until a teammate asked for it while Maltby was speaking to the media that the South High senior wide receiver gave him up, somewhat reluctantly, and with the intention of regaining possession soon.
âI don’t want to give up,â Maltby said with a smile after the Wolverines dismantled Colony 19-0 in a championship game that ended in five innings because of the mercy rule.
Carried by junior starter Isaac Johnson with 84 pitches, nine strikeouts and an assault of 17 hits, South notched a perfect 17-0 record and his fourth Division I State Championship (2011, 2013, 2016 and 2021).
A crowd of 849, heralded by the sun, watched juniors Sean Giffen and Curtis Hebert each collecting three hits and senior Maddux Soland notched a three-run homerun to left field early in the fourth inning.
It was the first long ball to fly over Mulcahy’s new very green fence, giving Soland a piece of stadium history.
âIt’s cool when you hear that,â said Soland, who is named after Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux to accompany his brother Gehrig and sister Maris. âSitting, waiting for a fast pitch, the coaches say not to try to do too much. Do a normal swing and you will be fine if you connect.
The Wolverines outscored their three opponents in the State Tournament 40-7. South won their regular-season game against upstart Colony 11-0 on April 30 and did much the same in the rematch, which closed the 2020-21 Alaska High School sports schedule.
Maltby finished with two hits and scored twice. He also grabbed the Jewel from Johnson.
Baseball is Maltby’s first love, and he kept the trophy for as long as he did because he wasn’t always sure how his senior season would go.
A running back for the South football team, Maltby broke his ankle in early October. He has missed the last few football games and has been absent from all sporting action for about eight weeks. Maltby said his father suffered a similar injury as a child and it resulted in a micro-fracture about eight years ago.
âPart of me was definitely wondering what could happen,â said Maltby. âYou know ankle injuries can affect you for the rest of your life. My father is still struggling, absolutely.
âThe return has been quite intense. Just coming back to the gym you put on weight when you’re injured and I most definitely did, I’m not going to lie. I made it a mission to get back in shape.
Maltby said he had lost about 30 pounds in the baseball buildup. He plans to play collegially at Hesston College, a junior college in Kansas.
Thirteen of South’s 20 players are seniors, a closely related group of children who have been playing together since the age of 9.
âIt was a special trip,â said Maltby. “It’s amazing to be able to win something so prestigious.”
Colony finished the season 14-3 and made his first appearance in the DI title game. Senior Ben Alley took the pitching victory in a 9-6 semifinal victory over Eagle River on Friday and was one of two Knights named to the tournament’s all-star squad.
âMaking history for Colony High School was a big deal for us,â Alley said. âPlaying this game was a little surprising, but we loved doing it.
“This team knew how to get by even if it was difficult.”
Colony’s second place just added to a big day for Valley baseball. Palmer won the inaugural Division II title for schools with 850 students or less by beating Kodiak 7-3 at Wasilla High on Saturday.
Matt Nevala co-hosts “The Sports Guys” on KHAR AM 590 and FM 96.7 (@ cbssports590) Saturdays at 11am. Find him on social media at @ MNevala9.
ASAA / First National Bank State Baseball Championships
Championship – South 19, Colony 0
Third Place – Juneau 6, Eagle River 4
Fourth Place – Wasilla 10, Sitka 7
Championship – Palmer 7, Kodiak 3
Third place – North Pole 4, Soldotna 3
Fourth Place – Monroe 18, Homer 16
Division I All-Round Team
Garrett Bryant, Juneau-Douglas
Gavin Henning, Eagle River
Porter Nelson, Juneau-Douglas
Academic Award – Eagle River (3.66 GPA)
Sportsmanship Award – Juneau-Douglas