Pitching excels as Chinooks come up winners over Pilots, 2-1

Was it the batting practice after their home opener, hot weather that prompted dis- carded undershirts or a special sermon in the morning that got the Fish fired up tonight? Whatever the motivation, it definitely showed as the Chugiak-Eagle River team marched onto the field at Mulcahy Stadium. They were to get seven hits, capitalized on a Glacier Pilots error, played sparkling de- fense—and pitched a combined seven and two-third innings of no-hit ball. Oh, and their two runs stood up.

Despite that, it was a nail-biter until the last out just shy of two-and-a-half hours after the first pitch.

The Pilots’ pitching was not shabby as their four hurlers compiled six one-two-three frames.

The only scoring was limited to two in- nings—two by the Chinooks in the third and one in the bottom of the ninth for the Pilots.

In the third, two outs had been recorded by Justin Dellenger, the Flyboys’ 6’3” righty, a junior from Texas State, when Cameron Barenek stepped to the plate. He singled sharply, then moved around on a single by Matthew Furuto and scored on a error by the Pilots’ catcher. Furuto then crossed the plate when Will Bass slapped the third straight single out of the infield.

Starting Chinooks pitcher Lucas Hamelink, a 6’3” right-hander from Hillsdale College, went four hitless innings before be- ing relieved by Union University’s Ted Christie, a 6’4” righty. His first opponent got aboard, stole second and was sacrificed to third only to be stranded there after Baranek made two sterling catches in center. Hamelink settled in and sat the next six bat- ter down in short order.

The Pilots’ Adalberto Carillo spoiled the no-hitter after two were out in the bottom of

eighth, slapping one just out of the reach of third-baseman Patrick Cromwell. Other than the effect of ruining the no-hitter, Carillo’s knock was to no avail as Cromwell threw the next batter out at first to end the inning.

Christie got the next batter to pop up to Michael Staudinger at first. The following Pilot batter drew a walk, then scored on a double by a Pilot pinch hitter. At that point Chinooks head coach Jordan Vierra called in sidearm slinger Travis Stone, a 5’11” right- hander from Stephen F. Austin University, to shut down the Anchorage team. He did so without taxing his arm to end the threat.

Baranek made a couple of outstanding plays—in one case going deep into the gap to pull in a fly that appeared to be destined to end up a triple in the scorebook. Braxton Wilks was also credited with a star on one that caused him to stretch his six-foot frame.

The team will be off tomorrow, then head north to the state’s second-largest city where they will face the team that pioneered the Alaska Baseball League under legendary manager “Red” Boucher—the Alaska Goldpanners. After the long bus ride, the two teams meet at Growden Memorial Field on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Fish then hop in the vans for the return trip home and a 7 p.m. Friday home game to en- tertain the Anchorage Bucs.

After losing the first two league games to the Mat-Su Miners, the Chinooks now stand at 1-2 in the ABL.

Fans interested in the individual player standings can find them on the Alaska Base- ball League official Web site, www.AlaskaBaseballLeague.org.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Chinooks’ sports information director Garett Mansfield for last night’s report. Lee Jordan was with his family, which led to a record attendance. 

Story by Lee Jordan

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