‘Nooks go north for second ABL victory, 9-5 over Panners

Sunny skies at Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks were welcoming for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks tonight as they overcame a big four-run inning by the host Fairbanks Goldpanners. It was not until the top of the fourth that things began to look brighter for the visitors, though.

Cameron Baranek led off in the first, getting to second when the left-fielder misjudged a ball hit his way. The speedy Baranek moved to third when Michael Staudinger singled, then scored on a double by catcher Andrew Mogg.

Things went downhill in the bottom half of the first, however. Starting pitcher Grant Page got ‘Panner third-sacker Andrew Carillo to ground to Shortstop Hunter Hanks, who threw to Staudinger at first to get the out. Trouble came by the bucketful when the host team’s Spencer Neilson, Nate Verlin and Renae Martinez all got on, scoring on catcher Brian Lees’ hit. Lees was gunned down on his way to home. A fourth run was scored by Scootter Bynum before Page was able to get the number eight batter to hit to Hunter for the third out.

The Fish added another run in the second when Hanks got on via a fielder’s choice, then was able to score on a hit by Baranek.

Page held the Goldpanners scoreless in the second but plunked Martinez with a pitch that went a little too far inside leading off in the bottom of the third. The left-fielder’s pain went away, however, when an errant pitch went all the way to the backstop and Martinez was able to advance to third. He then scored on a ground-out by the catcher Lees. Unfortunately for Fairbanks fans, that was the last chance they had to cheer in celebration.

The Chinooks’ Caleb Potter led off the fourth with a single, followed by David Morton with another and still another by Baranek. With the bases loaded, Matt Furuto took a pitch that caught him on the arm to force in Potter. Morton and Baranek then came in on a Staudinger double.

Staudinger, who was to reach base five times in the game, led off with a sin- gle in the seventh, and Cadon Owens, who also singled, were able to add two more runs in that inning. Will Bass and Staudinger added the final two runs in the top of the eighth.

On the defensive side, Potter made an outstanding catch, going to the warn- ing track and hitting the ground before raising his glove with the ball firmly clutched inside.

Page, who gave up five runs, four of them earned, was relieved by CJ Lewington with one out in the bottom of the fourth. He threw one pitch that ended with a double play, then struck out the next six Fairbanks batters. Braxton Wilks, who so far this season has played in the outfield, took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and closed out the game.

The Fish have two more games in Fairbanks, then return to Chugiak Friday to host the Anchorage Bucs at 7 p.m. It is also Meet the Chinooks night.

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