ANCHORAGE, Alaska &
Whether coming up with a base hit or pitching the Ashland Pilots out of a jam, Sam Gaviglio and teammates could do no wrong on Monday night.
Gaviglio went 6-for-6 and allowed only two hits in six innings of work as Ashland advanced to the semifinals of the American Legion A Northwest Regional Tournament with an 11-0 rout of the previously unbeaten Utah Box Elder Bees at Mulcahy Field.
"I just sat back there and watched (Gaviglio) play the best game he'd ever played," said Pilots manager Dave Sebrell. "It was absolutely amazing."
The Pilots (38-11, 3-1 tournament) will square off against Idaho today at noon in the semifinals. The winner takes on Utah, which earned a bye into today's championship at 4 p.m. by winning its first three games.
No matter what happens, today will mark the end of the most successful year in Ashland baseball history since there is no World Series tournament at the American Legion A level &
Ashland High's varsity team in June advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals, the best finish in program history, and the Pilots won the state tournament and are faring well in their first-ever appearance in an American Legion regional.
"I'm sure it will be (emotional)," Sebrell said. "They were excited, and then they realized pretty quickly that it's going to be a tough day (today). After a little celebration, they got serious."
Monday's game looked to be a pitchers' duel between Gaviglio and Utah's Jason Saunders, but Ian Kendall's bases-clearing triple in the top of the fourth inning quickly changed that, giving the Pilots a 3-0 lead.
"He was able to put some subpar at bats behind him," said Sebrell. "He really came through for the team."
The Pilots loaded the bases in the following inning and took advantage when Max Gordon and Hayden Miller each forced in runs with walks.
Kendall blasted his second triple in the top of the eighth and later scored on a single by Garrett Tygerson.
After Owen Baldrica's RBI double, Gaviglio capped the performance by driving in the final run to give the Pilots an 11-0 cushion.
Kendall drove in four runs, and Tygerson went 4-for-6 for Ashland, which had 16 hits.
Pilots reliever Tyler Killeen allowed just three hits and struck out three in three innings.
Sebrell said Charlie Sebrell will start on the mound for the Pilots in the early game and if Ashland advances, Killeen will likely start in the championship game.
After the day's action the Pilots will catch a red-eye flight to Seattle. From there, the Pilots who are playing football for Ashland High will catch another plane to Medford so that they can make it back to Ashland in plenty of time for Wednesday's practice.
"They're focus is on baseball," Dave Sebrell said, "but they're also excited to get back to football."
Ashland Pilots000430013""11 16 1
Utah Box Elder Bees000000000""0 5 2
Gaviglio, Killeen (7) and L. Sebrell; Saunders, Webb (6), Leishman (9) and McArthur. W &
Gaviglio (10-3). L &
Saunders. 2B &
Gaviglio uses arm, bat to propel Pilots past Utah
ANCHORAGE, Alaska &