Goldpanners Complete Sweep Of Chinooks In Fairbanks, Miners Next Up After Day Off On Friday

Game Recap by Lee Jordan

The Fairbanks Goldpanners completed a three-game sweet of the Chi- nooks tonight at Growden Memorial Park in the Golden Heart City. At 5-1, the third was the tightest of the trio with the team that now stands atop the closely-matched league.

Chinooks starter Devin Stanton, usually called upon for a relief appear- ance, was in that role due to the stretch of 10 games in as many days—a schedule that included a seven-hour drive to get to Fairbanks in time for the first game. A two-out homer by the third batter to come to the plate in the bottom of the first apparently rattled the left-hander. The first man up in the second frame got a double, one of three plus two singles to bring four runners across before the final out was collected.

Andrew Klausmeier, another bullpen regular, came in in the bottom of the third and held the ’Panners scoreless for the rest of the night. He retired nine straight batters, the only one to reach base safely being sat down courte- sy of a Griffin Roark-to-Nick Covello-to-Tyler Krah twin killing.

Twice thereafter the next-to-least-tall man on the squad found himself with runners on third. Twice the hard-throwing right-hander escaped dam- age. The second of those nail-biters was in the bottom of the seventh when the first man up, the number nine hitter, singled and was moved to second then third on a single and a fielder’s choice. With a one-and-two count on the three-hole hitter, Klausmeier enticed a grounder to second. Griffin Roark smoothly scooped the ball into his glove, made a seamless transfer and fired a strike to Zach Harbison behind the plate. Harbison nailed the runner from third for the second out. Thus relieved, Klausmeier’s fastball sat the clean-up hitter down in short order.

The Chinooks’ only score came from a determined Griffin Gum. He made it safely to first on an error. With nothing to lose, he raced to second on the next pitch. With the Fairbanks infield not paying attention, he nonchalantly headed for third on the next one. The surprised Fairbanks catcher threw the ball into left field and the Chugiak-Eagle River right-fielder strolled home. The disastrous four-run second inning started off with a fluke grounder down the third-base line. Drew Turbin was all set to corral the ball and make his customary strong throw to first when the ball hit the bag and bounded over the third-sacker’s head into left field.

The loss ran the ’Nooks’ record to five wins and 15 not-wins—many of those actually going down as almosts.

With a day off tomorrow to try to rest after an all-night drive south, the team will go to Mulcahy to meet the Mat-Su Miners in a Showcase game at 1 p.m. That series puts all six teams on the field to give baseball scouts from around the country an opportunity to see them in action.

They will rise early Saturday morning to take part in the Bear Paw Parade and other activities in downtown Eagle River, then return to Anchorage to meet the Anchorage Bucs in another Showcase game at 4 p.m.

Next week starts off with the Alaska Baseball League Home Run Derby on Sunday, also at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium.

The final regular season games are at home and will feature a grand finale with Fan Appreciation Night on Monday, a doubleheader with the Goldpan- ners, a day off, a Thursday game sponsored by the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department, the MLBN Strike Zone brought to Chugiak by Matanuska Tele- phone Association, and Military Appreciation Night being arranged by Rep. Dan Saddler on Saturday.

Returning this season will be a post-season ABL tournament featuring five teams, with a couple of those games slated to be played at Loretta French Park, the home of the Chinooks.