FAIRBANKS-The ASAA First National Bank Alaska State Baseball Tournament starts tomorrow. The three time Mid Alaska Champion Lathrop Malemutes set to face the Colony Knights in their first game of the state tournament.
Lathrop's only loss this year was to Chugiak and that was the second game of the year. As far as wins they defeated Colony earlier in the year so they are familiar with the Knights.
If the Malemutes win they'll play the South/Juneau winner. South won it all last season and Juneau finished third so it doesn't get any easier.
We caught up with the team before leaving for Sitka and Lathrop is not looking past Colony.
"We're familiar with them they're familiar with us so it kind of works both ways," Lathrop head coach Tyler Hollister said. "It's just going to come down who executes better. Who makes the least amount of mistakes. We know they're good we just have to play a liitle bit better."
Second and third baseman Mike Fitzpatrick wants the Malemutes to keep the ball rolling from winning their third consecutive region championship.
"We're just trying to take the momentum into state and just play one game at a time. We like to win each inning, each pitch. Try not to think about the next couple of games. We got to play Colony first. Got to beat Colony to move on so we're just kind of taking it one game at a time," Fitzgerald said.
Senior pitcher Matt Van Muelken feels the team chemistry on and off the field will propel them in this tournament.
"We're all around solid. We have solid pitching, solid defense and we have some hitters. We have speed on the bases and but most of all it's how we play together. Everyone is always playing for each other. Everyone is watching each others back," van Muelken said.