Chinooks win eighth in a row in nail-biter

In their third straight appearance this week at Mulcahy stadium, this time going up against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, the Chinooks eked out a 1-0 win to make it eight victories in a row.

The Pilot starter, Matt Dennis, looked as though he might coast to a win to break the Chinooks’ winning streak of seven in a row. It was three up, three down for the first four frames. The fifth started with catcher Andrew Mogg grounding out to short. Then first-baseman Michael Staudinger came up and put Dennis’ third pitch out of the infield. That was followed by a Cadon Owens sin- gle, in turn followed by a walk to Braxton Wilks, the starting left-fielder. With the scoreboard still showing just one out, shortstop Hunter Hanks banged a liner to right which was hauled in for the second out. Third-sacker Patrick Cromwell walked, bringing up centerfielder Cameron Baranek. Baranek was sent back after a comebacker to Dennis who walked halfway to first, then tossed it over for the third out, stranding all three runners.

Fish fans who were hoping for a big inning were disappointed. Little did they know that it mattered not. For four more innings they sat on the edge of their seats, wondering if the one run lead would hold. Second-baseman Will Bass reached on an error in the sixth, Baranek walked in the eighth and Staudinger made it to first on a throwing error by the Pilots third baseman to sum up the entire Fish offense for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, on the home team’s side of the ledger after the lone visitors’ run had been recorded, five Pilots walked and one reached on an error. They just didn’t do it in order. Four men came up in the bottom of the fifth. That number came to the plate in the sixth; the first two just didn’t stay on base long, being erased by a Bass-to-Hanks-to-Staudinger double play. Four more reached in the seventh, three of them filling all the bases with only one out and causing a col- lective inhalation and breath-holding on the part of the Chinooks loyal. They were able to exhale when Wilks—who was brought in to pitch from his left field position to start the inning—got the Pilots’ third baseman to pop up on an infield fly, freezing the runners. He nonchalantly struck out the pinch hitter brought in to face him for the third out.

Wilks closed out the game in a miserly manner. The sixth batter in the order attempted to bunt his way on, but Cromwell raced in from third to field the ball and throw to first. One pitch, one out. The next batter teed off on the first pitch he saw, sending it to right field where Owens was waiting patiently. Two pitch- es, two out. It took three pitches longer to get the third batter, who lined to third where Cromwell tucked it away for the final out of the game.

WHEW! Their sigh almost drowned out the two horns blown by Chugiak fans to celebrate each good move on the part of their heroes.

Tomorrow night the Chinooks host the Pilots and Thursday the Miners at 7.