Five-run 1st Inning not enough for Chinooks to stop losing skid

Box Score ANCHORAGE – The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks put up five runs in the opening frame of action against the Glacier Pilots at Mulcahy Field on Friday night, but the home team would come back to win in walk-off fashion.

It was the second contest between the two squads over the course of three days.  The Chinooks were coming off of their first off day of the season while the Pilots suffered a tough loss to the Mat-su Miners the night before.  It was a back-and-forth affair between the two squads back on Wednesday, and their latest matchup followed the same script.  However, this time around the Chinooks had their skipper, Jon Groth, back at the helm who returned to Alaska following minor surgery.

Chinooks’ center fielder Steven Pollox led off the ballgame with his second home run on the season that landed beyond the left field wall.  Jackson Cramer of West Virginia would tack on three more runs for the visitors with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double to the alley in left-center field.  Cramer would eventually score on a groundout by Josh Altmann (Olivet Nazarene Univ.) that would make it a 5-run first for the Fish.

The Pilots eventually struck back with 6 runs of their over a span of four innings.  Two rans came across in the bottom of the 1st inning.  With two outs in the 3rd, the Pilots’ Shawn Wood would lace a triple to dead center field that brought home two runners, and Collin Theroux would double Wood home to tie the game at 5.

The Pilots would take their first lead of the game in next inning that started with a single from Justin Protacio, and then forcing Chinooks’ starter Dan Przeniczny from the ballgame.  Shane Armstrong of Hillsdale College would come to the mound and had the go ahead run pass while he was on the hill.  Since Przeniczny was responsible for the runner Protacio, the earned run was charged to the pitcher from Xavier.

His offense would get him off the hook for a losing decision when the ‘Nooks struck for a run in the 5th and 6th innings to take a 7-6 lead.  On the other side of the card, Armstrong would toss three scoreless innings before Nikko Saenz would strike again against the Chinooks with his second home run in as many games versus Chugiak-Eagle River.  This time it was a solo shot to tie things up for the third time in the contest after 7 innings.

Lance Phillips would throw a scoreless 8th for the Chinooks, and Zach Freeman took the ball for the Fish in the 9th.  With one out, Saenz would start the offense for the Pilots again with a single, Nate Nolan then doubled putting runners at second and third, forcing Freeman to intentionally walk Wood to put the double play into effect.

For the second straight game, the Pilots called upon a pinch hitter to become the hero off of Freeman.  This time it was Ray Guerrini who lifted an 0-2 pitch into deep left field, deep enough to score Saenz from third base and award the Pilots a walk-off win.

Chandler Blanchard picked up the winning decision and Zach Freeman would take the loss moving his record to 1-2.  All three of his decisions have come in games against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.  The Chinooks have now lost 4 straight ballgames, two in a row to the Pilots, and now have a 3-8 record overall.

The same two teams will tangle at Mulcahy Field on Saturday night in the Summer Solstice Showdown.  First pitch is tabbed for 10 pm AKDT.