PALMER — Throughout the last few seasons, the Palmer Pioneers have steadily progressed. The Pioneers are now in their fifth year, and Tuesday night the Pioneers earned arguably their biggest regular-season win in program history.

Palmer knocked off perennial power South Anchorage 7-4.

“It’s huge,” Palmer head coach Matt McLaughlin said of the win. “We’ve been close several times this year against good teams.”

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The Pioneers improved to 6-6 overall and 5-4 in league play with the win. Five of Palmer’s six losses this season have been in games decided by just one run. Kenai edged the Pioneers by two runs. McLaughlin the win over South is proof of Palmer’s overall improvement as a program.

“I think we’ve got a more solid commitment out of our kids this year than we’ve ever had before,” McLaughlin said. “They’re showing up every day ready to get better.”

McLaughlin said he hopes this type of win also makes a statement to his players.

“Playing a quality opponent like South, to get over that hump, I hope it shows this team how good they are, how far they can go,” McLaughlin said.

Palmer’s win Tuesday was its first in program history over South.

Ben Alley earned the win on the mound, and Luke Guggenmos notched the save.

“Luke came in and shut the door. I can’t speak highly enough about him,” McLaughlin said. “(Ben) was lights out pitching. Solid pitching performance all-around.”

Alley and Guggenmos combined to allow only five hits.

Palmer used a big third inning to earn the early advantage, and led throughout. All four runs in the inning came with two outs. Carson McLaughlin drew a walk to start things out, and later scored on a Zach Satterly single to give the Pioneers the 1-0 lead. Kaden Ketchem scored on an error to give Palmer the 2-0 lead. Guggenmos followed with a two-run single.

“We were able to pressure on them early,” McLaughlin said.

Ketchum led Palmer at the plate, finishing 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Satterly was 2 for 3, with a run and an RBI. Seven different players scored for the Pioneers.

“It’s tribute to how solid we are throughout the lineup,” McLaughlin said of the production.

South’s loss was just its second of the year, and is now 10-2 overall and 8-2 in league play.

Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

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