6-1 win over Bucs makes it six straight

The Chinooks made it six straight wins tonight—a record since the Athletes in Action team moved to Chugiak-Eagle River in 2012—when they topped the Anchorage Bucs at Mulcahy Stadium by a score of 6-1 the run being unearned. They now trail the Mat-Su Miners by one game in the National Division.

The two division leaders will have a chance to solidify their positions as they have five meetings during an 11-game stretch that started tonight and continues until July 1. Interspersed will be a return visit to the Miners on Monday and three games with the Glacier Pilots, who are third in the division standings. How these five games between the top two teams turn out will likely determine which ends up in post-season top-of the-world tournament contention. But it’s far too early to start counting chickens.

The Bucs’ 6’7” Taylor Jones was on the mound today to face the visiting Chinooks. He also was in the lineup to hit for himself—as cleanup batter. He gave up a double to Matthew Furuto, batting second for the Fish, but the desig- nated hitter was the only one to reach base. Two Chinooks walked in the sec- ond and Jones threw a three up, three down third.

Chinooks fans found themselves a bit concerned in the bottom of the third when Brodie Leftridge, Bucs left-fielder, doubled, stole second, then came in on the only Chinooks error of the game.

Concern turned to cautious optimism, though, in the top of the fourth. Will Bass walked, Jacob Brobst singled, then Tyler Boxwell doubled, driving in Bass. Brobst rounded third, but Head Coach Jordan Vierra wisely threw up the stop sign out of respect for the opposing outfielder’s arm. Hunter Hanks then singled, bringing Brobst home. With no out and Hanks on third, Patrick Crom- well dropped a bunt in a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze, not only scoring Hanks but beating out the throw to turn the sacrifice into a single.

At that point, the Bucs manager and trainer came out to confer with Jones and the starter was pulled due to an injury. He was relieved by Jim Voyles, an even taller right-hander at 6’8”. Two other Fish reached base, but Voyles fin- ished the inning without further damage to his team.

Meanwhile, back on the visitors’ turns in the field, Page continued to pitch well, tapped for a single to lead off the fifth and watching a two-out double be nullified by a come-backer he tossed to Michael Staudinger at first.

Sidearm artist Travis Stone came in in the bottom of the seventh, walked one, struck out one and got the third out on a fly to right. Luke Eigsti, a 2015 high school graduate who will enter the University of Alabama Birmingham in the fall, closed it out in the bottom of the ninth on a scant handful of pitches used to get three ground-outs.

It was by far the most aggressive offensive effort of the season as Vierra called for hit and runs, the suicide squeeze, and steals to pressure the Bucs.

Story by Lee Jordan

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