Chinooks win over Glacier Pilots, 3-2

The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks’ bats came alive tonight at Mulcahy Sta- dium as they compiled eleven hits to top the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, 3-2. It was a celebration for some of the Fish who had not been hitting to their abilities as of late. There was also some very good defense behind the two pitchers. Conner Menez started and went for six strong innings only to leave with no de- cision. He was relieved by Shane Armstrong who came in with the score tied two-all in the bottom of the seventh and got the win. Armstrong’s strong arm kept the Pilots on the ground with three one-two-three innings. Those innings, however, were not without drama. But more on that later.

The Fish got on the scoreboard first with a lone run in the top of the second. With one out, catcher Tyler Boxwell singled, was moved to second on Dave Morton’s walk, moved to third on Jacob Brobst’s single and was driven home on a single by Will Bass.

The visitors scored again in the top of the third. Centerfielder Cadon Owens walked, swiped second and was brought home on a single by Boxwell.

In the sixth, Menez’ final inning, leadoff batter Luke Hamblin drew a walk, followed by another to Kevin Viers. With Pinchhitter Jonny Locher at bat and Hamlin on third, a desperation call by the third base coach sent Viers racing to second in what turned out to be a double steal. Boxwell’s throw to shortstop Hunter Hanks was a trifle high and both Hamblin and Viers scored. Locher was walked, but Boxwell threw a strike to second to catch him in an attempted thievery.

Menez gave up only one hit in his first four innings and two others in the fifth. The two runs in the sixth were charged to him. Those runs were to no avail, however, after Armstrong took over to keep the Pilots grounded while the Chinooks scored in the top of the ninth.

As suggested earlier, there was some drama before the final out was made and the victory sealed for the visiting team.

Armstrong struck out the first three batters he faced. He gave up a single with two out in the bottom of the eighth, but that runner also was caught steal- ing and the side retired. In the bottom of the ninth and the Pilots at home, Viers grounded out. Locher hit one deep to right center but it was hauled in. Leftfield- er Joe Wainhouse, the last hope for the home team, blasted a three-two offering deep to left. A strong contingency of Fish fans in attendance held its collective breath while the spheroid sailed high and deep, deep, deep. Morton, however, was at the wall, his glove outstretched, and snared it victoriously.

The Chinooks head for Kenai tomorrow morning to begin a three-game se- ries with the Peninsula Oilers. They return home to host the Pilots on July 7 and the Fairbanks Goldpanners the next evening. Contrary to what we stated in our last report, July 9 is not an off day as indicated in our schedule. We will get the correct information to you in the coming days.

Hear the games on www.cerchinooks.com, by clicking Nooks Nation.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

Chinooks get day off after 5-1 loss

The same two teams that came oh so close last night were at Loretta French Sports Complex tonight, but there was no last inning excitement this time. The Mat-Su Miners’ bats were just as active and their pitching was superior. The visiting team scored two in the top of the second, another in the fourth, one in the sixth and another in the eighth.

Although the Chinooks loaded the bases twice, in both instances all three runners were left there without scoring.

For the home team, there was one hopeful moment. Second baseman Will Bass led off with a triple in the bottom of the sixth inning. His blow went to the fence and he left the plate with every intention of making it to third. He scored when number two batter Patrick Cromwell grounded out to second. A pop-up to third and a strikeout ended the inning and the Fish scoring.

Chinooks starter Grant Page pitched the first six innings, relieved by CJ Lewington in the top of the seventh. Ted Christie, who took the mound as fans sang “Happy Birthday” to the now 21-year-old. He walked on then sat down the visitors.

Miner right-hander James Harrington started and went until the bottom of the seventh. He threw three consecutive one-two-three innings, all on defensive plays behind him. It was the fourth frame before any Fish got aboard, and that on an error when the first baseman dropped a throw just as the runner got there. Harrington was charged with the lone Chugiak-Eagle River run after walking three and striking out but two. Trent Thompson relieved the starter and pitched three innings, tagged for five hits but not allowing anyone to score.

Strong play came from Miner shortstop Tyler Wolfe, with an outstanding play in the eighth robbing Michael Furuto of a hit. The Chinook designated hit- ter hit the ball sharply to the shortstop hole. Playing deep, Wolfe snapped up the ball, whirled 360 degrees and fired a strike to the first baseman for the out. Wolfe also started the only double play of the game, ending the bottom of the fifth and leaving two Fish stranded.

Tonight’s was the last of an eleven-game stretch for the Chinooks. Tomor- row they are off, allowing several of the players a chance to spend some time with visiting family. They travel to Mulcahy Stadium on Friday to play the An- chorage Glacier Pilots, then board the vans for a three-game series with the Na- tional Division leading Peninsula Oilers. From there they come back home for a pair of games at home, hosting the Pilots on Tuesday and the Fairbanks Goldpanners on Wednesday. They have another day off on Thursday before a home-away-home series with the Miners. The July schedule has six off days as compared to only two in June, a fact that bodes well for the Chinooks as they should be much better rested in the second month of the season.

Oh, so close as Miners eke out 5-4 win

“It ain’t over til it’s over,” Yogi Berra so famously said. Tonight’s game wasn’t over until the seventh pitch to Chinook designated hitter Holt Davis. When it was called a strike, he and fans sitting in the bleachers behind home plate were wishing that a borderline strike call a couple of pitches earlier had gone the other way.

With that in mind, let’s recap the game to that point.

After the first visiting batter, centerfielder Brick Paskiewiscz, was struck out by Chinook hurler Braxton Wilks, Miner rightfielder Chris Hall doubled. A throwing error on a grounder hit by leftfielder Vance Vizcaino brought Hall home and left the batter on second. The score stood at one until the top of the third when Hill singled and was brought home by designated hitter Matt Diorio.

The Chinooks came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth when centerfielder David Morton doubled, then Michael Staudinger singled. Both scored on another two-bagger by Tyler Boxwell.

The tie game held until the top of the seventh. Chinooks reliever Nathan Karkenny, who came in with two out and two on in the top of the fifth, got the third out on a fly to right on one pitch to end the inning. His luck soured in the next inning after the Miner catcher flew out to center only to see Paskiewiscz triple. Hill, the next hitter, flew out to right. Vizcaino followed him with another triple, scoring Paskiewiscz. Diorio then singled to bring in Vizcaino.

One more run by the Valley team came in the top of the ninth.
Now for the excitement that would have made Berra proud.
The home team came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with head coach Jordan Vierra sending in two pinch-hitters. They faced the Miner centerfielder who doubles as their closer. Cadon Owens drew a walk from the lanky right-hander whose dark locks hang almost to his shoulder. Mogg flew out to Vizcaino deep in left, the blow raising hopes of the faithful on the third-base side. Patrick Cromwell, the Nooks’ third-baseman, walked to put a second Fish on. Then came a strikeout, but Morton walked to keep the inning alive. With two out, Dave Furuto singled to load the bases. Hopes built to a fever pitch as Michael Staudinger, the Chinooks cleanup hitter, stepped to the plate. He had two strikes when Paskiewiscz threw one a bit too far inside, hitting Staudinger and forcing Owens home to make it one run from a tie game once more.

That brought Davis to the plate with the bases still loaded and one run need- ed With the count three and one, the next pitch seemed both low and inside, causing Davis to grin until the umpire loudly declared it a strike. Davis’ grin turned to a look of disbelief. He turned back to the batter’s box and stood in. Paskiewkscz’s next offering also was called a strike and third out.

It was finally over. Davis was crestfallen. Chinooks fans were disappointed. Miner fans were happy. Everyone agreed it was a good and exciting game.

The same two teams meet tomorrow night at 7. Next comes a much-needed day off.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

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