Newell’s Walk Off Grand Slam Sinks Fish, Miners Win 5-3


PALMER – The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks fell 5-3 on Wednesday evening at Hermon Brothers Field, falling to the Mat-Su Miners 5-3. The Fish dropped their fourth consecutive ballgame, while the Miners have still lost just one league contest on their home field this season.

Chugiak-Eagle River got the scoring started in the top of the fourth when Steven Karkenny (The Master’s) drew a walk with two outs. West Virginia’s Jackson Cramer then strolled to the plate and one-hopped the wall in right center field to score Karkenny from first. The lead held until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Cameron Newell drew a bases-loaded walk to get the Miners on the scoreboard. It would be the first of two at-bats for Newell with the bases loaded, and he gave the home crowd reason to cheer both times.

Chinook starter Thomas Altimont (Abilene Christian) matched Mat-Su’s Ryan Hendrix almost pitch for pitch, as the two combined for 13 innings, one run, five hits, and 13 strikeouts. Of those, six strikeouts, three hits, and six innings belonged to Altimont, but neither starter picked up a decision despite strong outings from each.

Zach Freeman (New Mexico State) was the first man out of the Chinook bullpen, recording two outs and allowing a run before Lance Phillips entered the game. The Arkansas sidewinder overcame a walk and recorded the next four outs to keep things interesting heading into the final frame. For the Miners, Ryan Oglesby provided relief of Hendrix but gave up two runs and retired just one hitter.

Steve Pollex (Westmont) drew a walk to open the eighth, and Karkenny was hit by a pitch while trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Cramer again delivered a clutch base hit, plating Pollex to regain the Chinook lead. Mark Lindsay (San Francisco State) followed with a single of his own to give the Fish a 3-1 lead that looked like it would be enough to pull out the victory, but the bottom of the ninth provided a great deal of suspense.

Mat-Su’s Brandon Smith lined a one-out single before third baseman Terrence Connelly and shortstop Paul Panaccione drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Newell again stepped into the batter’s box, worked ahead in the count, and smashed a home run over the right field wall to end the game and give his team the win. The long shot gave Newell his second grand slam against the Fish in as many games and kept him near the top of the ABL leaderboard.

Tell Taylor (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) was hit with his first loss of the summer after being the Chinook pitcher on the mound for the entire ninth inning, while Isaiah Terrazas’ was the Miner arm to benefit from Newell’s grand slam. With the loss, Chugiak-Eagle River’s current losing skid was extended to four, and Mat-Su picked up a game on the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the ABL’s National League standings.

The same two teams will square off again on Thursday from Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. First pitch is slated for 7:00 pm.