Chinooks Break Through With Win Over Defending Champs in Marathon 14 Inning Father’s Day Classic

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

Sunshine bathed Mulcahy Park as the seventeenth day of clear skies and mid- seventies temperatures marked Father’s Day. There was no breeze, making it one of the few times in long memory that one could sit through a game at Mulcahy in shirt sleeves. And it was a very long game.

But enough scene-setting. Let’s get right to the meat of the matter.

The Chinooks got to the park down zip-two in league play after suffering a stinging defeat by the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at home on Friday. That followed their league-opening loss to the Fairbanks Goldpanners three days earlier.

Tonight’s game against the Pilots looked bleak in the bottom of the first when some miscues, both physical and mental, were seen. The problem wasn’t the heat, but shuffling of the lineup necessitated by having two starters on the disabled list.

The visiting Chinooks were sat down one, two, three in the first. Then, with two out in the bottom half, a single and an error placed a Pilot on third. Starter Mike Jeffreys struck out the Pilots’ cleanup man to save a run.

In the top half of the second, number five Chinook catcher Daniel Salters singled only to see both himself and Tyler Krahn, who also hit his way on, erased when Griffin Gum grounded into a double play.

The lead-off Pilot in the bottom of the second singled, stole second, then moved to third on an error. He scored on a sacrifice fly that almost became an out at the plate after centerfielder Collin Radack threw a 350-foot strike that was a bit wide.

Two more Pilot runs came in, both with two out, in the bottom of the third. There were three up, three down innings on both sides until the Chinooks came up in the sixth frame. Jake Murray drew a walk, Nick Covello grounded out to third, then Stephen Ventimilia doubled home Murray. Ryan Shackelford singled scoring Ventimilia, then Radack drove one inside the bag at third and down the left field line for a double to plate the tying run.

Had there not been the miscues earlier, those runs would have won the game. Instead, a pitching duel between a series of relievers continued the three-three tie for eight more innings. Jeffreys, the Chinook starter, went until two were out in the sev- enth. Max Bruckner, Bryce Clifton and Kenny Knudsen all had turns. Meanwhile, the Pilots went through five pitchers before calling on their right fielder and then his replacement, who ended up taking the loss.

By the time the top of the fourteenth inning began, half of the Pilots faithful had given up and departed the stadium. They missed seeing Gum double into the left- center gap, then score when Murray drove the ball up the middle.

Chinook Asa Johnson, who came on in the bottom of the thirteenth, sat down the lead-off Pilot batter, gave up a single to the number two man, then got the save when the number three batter grounded into a double play, pitcher to second to first.

Knudsen picked up the win for the ‘Nooks after four hours of play.

Mulcahy will be the scene for the next two games–the Anchorage Bucs on Monday and the Pilots on Tuesday. The Pilots return to Loretta French Park for back to back games on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The first pitch for each of these games is slated for 7:00pm.

Cover Photo provided by Al Clemens