Chugiak-Eagle River Victorious in Home Opener

Game Recap provided by Lee Jordan

It was another sunny day in Chugiak as the Chinooks welcomed fans to Loretta French Park for their home opener. It was the second of four non-league games during the 2013 season and a repeat contest with the Mat-Su Miners. Game 1 was played at Hermon Brothers Field on the Palmer Fairgrounds and featured some drama as the Chinooks came from be- hind to win, 6-4.

There were fewer dramatics tonight, although the home team again had to come from behind to win, 3-1. As the score indicates, there was more defensive action than offensive.

Mat-Su scored first, in the top of the first, after a bunt was thrown away to allow the hitter to end up on second. That hitter advanced to third, then was brought home. Center- fielder Collin Radack had to traverse a lot of territory to haul in a high fly deep to right cen- ter to get the second out. Chinooks pitcher Andrew Klausmeier was able to head to the dug- out when catcher Daniel Salters threw out a Miners runner attempting to steal second.

Third-sacker Drew Turbin tied the game in the bottom of the seventh after he singled, advanced to second on a passed ball, then scored on right-fielder Griffin Gum’s scorching double to right.

Bryce Clifton took over the mound in the top of the sixth and immediately found his first Miner batter aboard on a bunt. That runner moved up on a sacrifice bunt. The second out came on a pop-up to second. A great play by Stephen Ventimilia at shortstop retired the side when he dove to smother a hard grounder close to the bag and deep, then hopped up to make the strong throw to Tyler Krahn at first.

Clifton then got three quick outs to put his offense back onto the field, getting a ground out to first, another to third and a fly out to center. In the bottom of the seventh Ryan Shackelford singled to right, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a fielder’s choice.

Chinook Max Bruckner took over the mound in the eighth and promptly got a popup to center, a high fly that he handled himself and a ground out, third to first. Krahn drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the eighth, stole second and scored with two out when Jacob Murray slapped a single past the first baseman.

Bruckner closed down the Miners one-two-three on fly balls to the outfield, the second one causing Radack to race back to the fence to make the catch. Clifton was the winning pitcher.

Tomorrow night in the Chinooks’ first league game, the storied Fairbanks Goldpanners come to Chugiak. The ’Panners are always a threat.

Throwing out the first pitch to open tonight’s game was Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan who was presented with a baseball autographed by the entire 2013 Chinooks team.